Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau, Bread Ahead: The Expert Home Baker: A Masterclass in Classic Baking by Matthew Jones. Photography by Matt Russell.

Bread Ahead: The Expert Home Baker: A Masterclass in Classic Baking by Matthew JonesThis stunning cookbook aims to transform you, no matter your experience, into an expert home baker.

Featuring over 90 fool-proof, classic baking recipes, with both sweet and savoury staples and plenty of seasonal favourites, discover the joy of baking like a professional but from the comfort of your own home kitchen.

From simple classics, such as Victoria Sponge, a Rustic Country Loaf or American Chocolate Chip Cookies, to the more challenging Millefeuille, Babka Loaf or Savory Croissants, you will even find recipes for all the jams and marmalades you need to complement your creations. Perfect your Christmas Pudding, Mince Pies and other festive favourites with the sumptuous Christmas chapter, or recreate Bread Ahead‘s most beloved sweet treat with a chapter dedicated to their infamous filled Donuts.

Whatever your skill level, Bread Ahead: The Expert Home Baker will be your go-to baking bible, with all the information you need to know when it comes to good, classic baking.

Bread Ahead: The Expert Home Baker: A Masterclass in Classic Baking is available at and  

Black Forest Gateau

This is a bit cheesy and very kitsch–but, my 211 goodness, it is disgracefully delicious. A retro classic that deserves a place in the hall of fame, it’s quite hard to find a version of this dessert made really well, but it is actually extremely simple. It’s advisable to make the cherry compote the day before. We’ve put the kirsch as an optional ingredient but classically you would always use it. Visually, it’s a showstopper.

vegetable or sunflower oil, for greasing

6 eggs
175 g (6 oz/¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
120 g (4 oz/1 cup) self-raising (self-rising) flour
60 g (2 oz/½ cup) cocoa powder

To decorate

1 x recipe quantity Cherry Compote (see page 274), adding 50 ml (3 tablespoons) kirsch, to taste

For the whipped cream

250 g (11⁄4 cups) double (heavy) cream
60 g (2 oz/1⁄4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (400°F/gas 6). Grease and line two 23 x 33-cm (9 x 13-in) Swiss roll tins (pans).

In a large mixing bowl (or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), use an electric whisk to whisk the eggs and sugar together until light, frothy and thickened (about 12 minutes on high speed). The mixture should have increased in volume by about four times.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold into the egg mixture, being careful not to knock out the air.

Pour the batter into your prepared tins and spread it gently into the corners.

Bake for 15 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

If you haven’t made it already, prepare the cherry compote according to the method on page 274, adding a little kirsch to taste.

Whip the cream and caster sugar together until thickened. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate until needed.

Cut the cooled sponges in half down the middle, so you have four equal-sized rectangles.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the compote over the first layer of sponge (we find it best to do this when the compote is still a little runny), then spread a quarter of the whipped cream over the top. Repeat with the next two sponge layers, placing the final layer of sponge on top. For the top layer, pipe rosettes of whipped cream around the edge and fill the middle with the remaining cherry compote.


It is important to bake the sponge batter immediately after mixing, as it will start to lose volume.


Cherry Compote

This can easily be made with frozen cherries and 275 treated in the same way you would a jam. We like to keep this as a traditional compote and very chunky, but if you’re using it in a cake or pudding you can lightly blitz it to make a purée. In the winter, we like to add some cloves and a cinnamon stick for a lovely spiced version of this compote.

500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2½ cups) fresh (or frozen) cherries, pitted
400 g (14 oz/1¾ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
50 g (3 tablespoons) lemon juice 1 vanilla pod
5 g (1½ teaspoons) pectin powder (or ½ apple, see note below)

Place a plate in the refrigerator or freezer to get cold.

Put all of the compote ingredients into a heavy-based saucepan set over a medium heat and stir together. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

To test whether your compote has reached setting point, take
1 teaspoon of the compote and place it on the cold plate. Allow to cool, then run your finger through it. If this leaves a clear run and the compote doesn’t run back in on itself, the setting point has been reached.

Alternatively, once the compote is boiling, you can use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature. It will be ready when it reaches 105°C (221°F).

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the vanilla pod and pour into warmed, sterilised jars (see page 13). Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

To make the compote without pectin

Grate 1⁄2 apple with the skin on. Add the grated apple to the saucepan along with the fruit, sugar and lemon juice, and follow the instructions as above.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.

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