How to make black forest gateau has been a question asked way too many times in my house.
Jay loves black forest cake! There is a little bakery that makes vegan cake near me that is sold by the slice, looks FAN-TAS-TIC but… is ridiculously expensive! You can literally purchase a whole non-vegan black forest cake in the supermarket for the same price they sell one slice, very large albeit, of vegan black forest cake.
This is the dessert of choice for Jay, so much so we had it for our wedding! It was presented beautifully and was exactly how we wanted it: dark chocolate inside with nice pieces of cherries in the layers and covered with a snow-white cream icing. We wanted to cut one slice and see this incredible contrast of color… the white cream, the dark sponge, and the red cherries! Too beautiful to be true! And this black forest gateau recipe achieves just that!
Black Forest Gateau: The Three stages
I broke down the recipe into the three components and when thinking about the cake base I decided it was time to retrieve an old recipe I used to prepare and was very appreciated: my vegan chocolate cake! This is – no doubt – the most chocolatey sponge you will try!
There is one person in my life who absolutely won’t eat food that is marketed only to vegans and that is my brother… he is a very picky eater (just like Jay, but they like the opposite foods… which makes it a nightmare when cooking a meal and the both of them are present!) and grew up eating chicken and potatoes. Now his horizons have widened somehow, but he still relies on all non-green foods… don’t try and even show him a spinach leaf!
Anyway, I am sure after reading this he won’t trust me anymore, but hey – I’m his older (and only) sister, so he has little choice…
He loved this sponge!
I am telling you this vegan sponge cake is the best chocolate cake you will have not today, not this week… this whole year!
After selecting the sponge I moved to the cherry jam; since I wanted to keep it simple, affordable, and tasty, I prepared an instant jam. This uses tinned dark cherries and a bit of sugar, meaning you won’t need to buy a whole jar of premade cherry jam to then leave it there, and you know most of it is made of actual cherries!
The third part was a bit of a tougher choice: will I choose the richness of buttercream or the lightness of whipped cream? Given the fact that I wanted to enjoy a slice of this vegan black forest gateau without feeling guilty for the number of calories ingested, I decided to opt for the whipped cream.
As this would ‘squish’ under the weight of the sponge if I decided to put it in the middle, I opted to cover the cake with it. I instead added some chocolate chips in the middle, to give it a bit of a surprise crunch!
You will love this cake because…
This recipe is very easy to prepare and has a surprisingly short list of ingredients; it can be decorated in multiple ways and I decided on this occasion to use some blackberries.
I felt the cake was sweet enough and a lightly acidic fruit would elevate this gateau to a whole new level, without removing the attention from the beauty of the cake!
You will love this recipe! It is extremely versatile and each of the three components can be used for other recipes. I have used this procedure to bake Jay’s vegan birthday cake… in cupcake format! I normally prepare something for him to share with his colleagues in the office and cupcakes feel much more personal than a big cake… plus there’s no need to carry knives or plates, only napkins!
The big boxes to carry the cupcakes are made of very strong cardboard; this can be wiped down and collapsed flat… one of the main reasons I prepare cupcakes! I bought mine from Amazon!
With this recipe being quick, easy, and vegan, there is no reason not to try it!
The recipe is divided into stages to create the components and once ready, this (why not use it as a vegan birthday cake?) can keep in the fridge for about 3 days! It is tasty, yet it doesn’t have the calories of your regular high street cakes… you won’t need to wait for Veganuary to get baking!
For the vegan sponge cake
- 150 g All-Purpose Flour Plain Flour
- 150 g Caster Sugar
- 30 g Cocoa Powder
- 4 g Bicarbonate of Soda
- 2 g Salt
- 60 ml Sunflower Oil or a flavorless oil, like vegetable oil
- 10 ml Maple Syrup
- 5 ml Cider Vinegar
- 180 ml water
For the Cherry Jam Filling
- 200 g of Tinned Pitted Black Cherries
- 2 tbsp Water use some from the tinned black cherries
- 30 g Caster Sugar
For the Whipped Crem Topping
- 100 ml Vegan Whipping Cream
- 30 g Icing Sugar
- 50 ml Hazelnut Milk or any other non-dairy alternative
- 50 g Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips
- 100 g Tinned Pitted Black Cherries
- 100 g Blackberries
- 5 g Icing Sugar
- 5 g Dark Cocoa Powder
- Start with preheating the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or Gas 4.
- Start by preparing the sponge: Mix together and sieve all of the dry ingredients for the sponge and put them in a large bowl; add the liquid ingredients and mix well, until a uniform semi-liquid batter is formed. No lumps should be visible and the mix should be smooth.
- Prepare an 18 cm in diameter cake tin (7 inches): lay greaseproof paper at the bottom and lightly grease the sides with vegetable oil. Pour the cake batter in and put it in the oven to bake: opt for a middle shelf and it will be ready evenly in about 30 minutes. To ensure it is cooked make sure a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean and that the sides of the cake have slightly shrunk from the tin.
- Once the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool down before proceeding to the next step.
- Prepare the middle Cherry Jam Filling: thinly slice the cherries and put them in a small pot on a low flame, add the sugar and two tablespoons of the water from the tinned cherries (or regular water if you drained it out); mix this well continuously until it starts thickening and it becomes a light jam. This should take about 5 minutes. Once the desired consistency is reached, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Prepare the Whipped Cream Topping: whip the cream and icing sugar together until they form strong peaks and strong enough to be used to decorate. On a medium/high speed, this should take about 3-5 minutes.
- Start composing: Ensure the vegan sponge cake is flat enough, so if while baking the top created a bit of a mountain, slice it down to make it a bit more even then proceed as follows.
- Cut the cake in two horizontally and, using a kitchen brush, wet both of the central sides of the cake with the hazelnut milk; this will ensure the cake remains moist. After that, evenly spread the black cherry jam on the bottom layer and then sprinkle with the vegan chocolate chips. Close the cake by re-positioning the top layer.
- Decorate: Use a piping bag with a nozzle of choice or a spatula and evenly spread the whipped cream on the cake; to ensure it remains moist for a couple of days, apply a thin layer around it as well. Once this is done, decorate with the cherries and blackberries.
- Just before serving, mix in a bowl the cocoa powder and icing sugar and, using a fine sieve, spread over the cake. Slice in eight and serve.
Starting from the sponge:
- Should you not have apple cider vinegar, you can use distilled white vinegar instead, and it will work the same.
- Should you not have maple syrup, you can substitute this with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
The cherry jam:
- Should you prefer – or be lucky enough – to have and use fresh cherries, then you can use these instead. Make sure to use the softest cherries in the bunch.
For the cake composition:
- Ensure the dark chocolate chips you choose to use are vegan, as many brands use some form of dairy. Vegan options are now widely available and taste delicious.
- If you do not use or like hazelnut milk, then you can use another dairy-free alternative such as almond, oat, or soya milk. Almond milk works particularly well with cherries, however, I selected hazelnut as it works well with chocolate.
- You can turn this into cupcakes: to put the cherry filling in the cupcake, form a hole on the top by removing a cone-shaped piece of sponge, put a bit of jam, and cover again with the sponge.