If, like me, you’ve been avidly watching the Great British Bake Off, you will have seen Week 1’s show stopper the Black Forest Gateau. As soon as I saw the bakers fantastic creations I decided that I needed to have a go too! I’ve never made a gluten free gateaux before but I had made a Victoria Sponge using a gateaux style sponge so I thought I’d give it a go. The idea to add a middle layer of a flourless torte-style cake was to please my sister-in-law who didn’t get to try my Chocolate & Pear Cake, and I thought it would be a lovely surprise to turn up to the in-laws for Sunday dinner with a dessert with a difference.

Okay, so this Black Forest Gateau may look too much of a challenge but trust me, it’s relatively simple and you’ll be so proud of what you’ve created at the end, it just takes time to make that’s all but plenty of time to chill in between jobs with a cuppa so if your a newbie to gateau’s take your time and have fun.

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Black Forest Gateau
Black Forest Gateau
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins

Don't look at this and think it's mission impossible, give it a go, you'll surprise yourself it's that simple.

Servings: 8 people
Gateaux Sponge x2
  • 30 g /1oz GF plain flour
  • 30 g /1oz cocoa powder
  • 60 g /2oz GF self raising flour
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 60 g /2oz caster sugar
Flourless Torte
  • 85 g /3oz  hazelnuts (toasted & ground)
  • 85 g /3oz caster sugar
  • 85 g /3oz dark chocolate
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 tbsp cherry brandy
  • 900 ml double cream
  • 1 can of black cherries in syrup
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  1. Tip the cherries into a bowl saving the syrup, add the syrup to a small saucepan and heat on the stove reducing the heat to a gentle simmer for about 20mins whilst preparing the first sponges - this will thicken the syrup, remove from heat and cool, the syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
  2. To make the 2 chocolate gateaux sponges you will need to sift the flour/cocoa 3x, the easiest way to do this is to sift the flour onto a baking sheet, tray or strip of baking paper, hold the sieve up high in order to aerate the flour as much as possible - the more air, the lighter the sponge.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks.
  4. Gradually add the sugar whilst continuing to whisk until mixture is thick and glossy.
  5. Add the 4 beaten egg yolks and whisk briefly to combine.
  6. Using a metal spoon fold in the flour mix careful not to knock out too much air.
  7. Add to two prepared 20cm round cake tins
  8. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas4 for 20mins - sponge is ready when it feels bouncy to the touch.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack after 5mins.
  10. To make the middle torte layer melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over hot water, add the brandy and leave to cool.
  11. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale in colour, fold cooled chocolate and hazelnuts into egg mixture.
  12. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl and fold into the chocolate mix.
  13. Add to a prepared 20cm round cake tin.
  14. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas4 for 40mins - this sponge will not rise as much as the other two and is ready when firm to the touch.
  15. Transfer to cooling rack after 5mins.
  16. To make the chocolate decorations melt 2/3 of the dark chocolate and using a piping bag and small writing nozzle pipe any shape of your choice onto a piece of baking paper and put in the fridge to set. The remaining chocolate can be grated to sprinkle onto the finished gateaux.
  17. In a large bowl (sorry! lots of washing up necessary unless you have an endless supply of bowls!) whisk the 900ml of cream until it's just turning thick, do not be tempted to over whisk or else you won't be able to work with it.
  18. Drizzle each sponge layer with the cooled cherry syrup and spread a generous layer of cream over one of the chocolate sponges and the torte sponge.
  19. Add most of the black cherries to each layer spreading out evenly so you can get a cherry with each yummy bite.
  20. Build the gateaux ON the plate/dish you plan to display it on, transferring later could spell disaster!
  21. Using a piping bag use the majority of the remaining cream to pipe around the sides of the built gateaux working from bottom to top until it is completely covered.
  22. Using a pallette knife or spatula smooth the cream as shown in the picture, with any left over cream pipe a decoration on the top and add any left over cherries.
  23. Taking care either sprinkle or brush the grated chocolate onto the gateaux (I used a saucer and a brush to flick the sprinkles onto the cake!)
  24. Remove your fabulous chocolate shapes from the fridge and carefully peel off the baking paper and decorate your gateaux.
Stand back and marvel at your creation!

    Black Forest Gateau; gluten free and an absolute showstopper...but not impossible to make - trust me!


    If you like this Black Forest Gateau, you’ll love these pudding ideas;

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