Black Forest Gateau

black forest gateau recipe delia smith

Dan loves Black Forest gateau and a good recipe is surprisingly hard to come by. A lot of BFG recipes are more like a heavy chocolate cherry layer cake in form, rather than a light and squishy gateau. The best recipe I have found is Delia Smith’s original BFG, rather than her ‘Return to the Black Forest’ recipe which is a more like a roulade in form, however, the original recipe it is not available online, so I thought I’d share it with you – my husband’s greed can also be your gain!


6 large eggs

142g (5oz) caster sugar

50g (2oz) cocoa powder, sieved

285 ml (1/2 pint) double cream 

1 level tbs. caster sugar 

1 tin or jar of pitted morello cherries (700g) drained and juice reserved

50g (2 oz) plain chocolate 

3 tbs. kirsch or cherry brandy


Preheat oven to 180 centigrade, 356 fahrenheit or gas mark 4.

1) Grease and line two eight-inch sandwich tins or three six-inch sandwich tins if you would like to make a triple layer cake like mine. 

2) Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks with the sugar until pale and quite thick. 

3) Fold in the cocoa powder in two batches.

4) With a clean whisk beat the whites until stiff but not too dry. Stir a large spoonful of the whisked egg whites into the cocoa mixture to loosen it then carefully fold in the rest of the whipped whites in two batches.

5) Divide the mixture between the tins and bake on the centre shelf of your oven for 15- 20 minutes.

6) Check that the cakes are baked by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cakes. The skewer should come out clean and the cakes should be springy. Leave to cool in tins for 10 minutes and then release from the tins on to a cooling rack whilst still slightly warm.


1) Add the the tablespoon of caster sugar to the cream and softly whip it – it should just about hold a soft peak when the whisk is lifted from the surface, but should it still be floppy and voluptuous. 

2) Remove the baking paper from the cooled cakes. Stir together the kirsch or cherry brandy and the reserved cherry juice. Drizzle the cherry/kirsch liquid over the cakes and leave for five minutes so that the cakes soak up the liquid.

3) Layer up the cakes with the softly whipped cream and most of the drained cherries.

4) Spoon some cherries on the top in the centre of the cake and pipe some swirls of cream round the edges. Grate the chocolate over the cream on top to decorate.

Alternative: Increase the amount of cream to 568 mls (1 pint) so that you have enough cream to smooth around the edges of the cake and press chocolate sprinkles on to the sides.




  1. Priya Dey-Ghatak
    November 15, 2019 / 6:34 pm

    Hi there
    Thanks for posting this. I have to say it looks really easy to make! The recipe doesn’t include any flour, so I thought I’d check with you that this is correct?

    Many thanks


    • Bex
      December 5, 2019 / 9:18 am

      So sorry, only just seen your comment! The cake is flour less and rises because of the whipped egg whites. That’s what makes this cake so beautifully light and squidgy. ❤️

  2. Laura
    April 24, 2020 / 9:10 am

    Thank you for sharing the recipe! Can you advice which recipe book this is from? I’m trying to track one down for my partner. His late mother used to use it to cook this cake every birthday and he’d like a copy.

    • Bex
      June 23, 2020 / 1:22 pm

      I’m really sorry, I can’t remember which book it’s in – I was given a handwritten copy of the recipe.

      • Elaine
        December 16, 2020 / 1:29 pm

        This recipe is from Delia Smith’s Book of Cakes. I have had this book for years and do not know you are still able to purchase this. It was first printed in 1977 and I have followed recipes from this book for years.

    • Laura
      July 15, 2020 / 11:26 am

      Hi Laura
      My mum used to have this book when I was growing up. It’s Delia Smith Cakes, or something like that. But it’s one from the 70’s or 80’s so probably not in print anymore!

  3. Mrs Lesley Pollacco
    August 30, 2020 / 2:40 pm

    Just made this – thanks for sharing, we all really enjoyed it and going to make another tomorrow as our daughter is coming for a few days now that parts of the northern lockdown is being relaxed a bit

  4. Erika Young
    January 8, 2021 / 5:41 pm

    Delia’s complete cookery is the book.

  5. Donna McMillan
    February 2, 2021 / 1:22 pm

    I’ve just used your recipe this morning to make this retro cake for my friends 60th Birthday , I wanted to make something that would have been on a restaurant desert trolley in the 1980’s, and this certainly does. Thanks so much

  6. Rick Johnston
    February 9, 2021 / 10:55 am

    Brilliant Laura, I have been looking for this recipe for years!! I will be baking this for my wife for Valentine’s Day, well I’ll tell her it’s for her! Thank you. Rick

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