Why hello there. I know it’s been a while, but I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve just gotten back into the swing of things post-holiday and have a bake to share which I’m excited about because it’s a gluten-free variation of the classic Black Forest Gateau, one of my favourite cakes.
This is actually the second time I’ve made it for my cousin who maintains a gluten-free diet, but this time was for her birthday and as an added touch, I included a chocolate meringue base to give this cake an added crunch and sweetness to it to balance the sour cherry filling.
By now, you probably noticed that the recipes I go by are pretty classic as my dad has a traditional view on many things, food being one of them.The cupcake trend? Waste of time. Red velvet? Just a bunch of food colouring.
With the increased amount of people having to go gluten free, or dairy free, you can probably guess my dad’s take on it is. In fact, for the many years my dad’s been baking he’s never made any adjustments to follow the trends or to suit those with dietary restrictions. His take on allergies is that if someone eats it often enough their bodies will get used to it.
But I hate to think that there are people out there who can’t try my dad’s bakes because of their allergies. I mean, I’m also quite wary of gluten-free versions of bakes, you can only do so much and I usually find that there’s a weird texture associated with it, but I think this gluten-free take does a pretty good job of doing the classic justice. The secret…ground almonds.
BLACK FOREST GATEAU – GLUTEN FREE
Part 1: Chocolate meringue
This can be prepared a couple days ahead of time, and warmed up in the oven to take any moisture out the day of assembling your cake.
86mL egg whites
66g caster sugar
56g caster sugar
41g ground almond
10g cocoa powder
15g corn starch
10g coarsely chopped pecans
- Set the oven at 120⁰C/250⁰F.
- Trace a 10” tin on parchment paper with pencil. Flip parchment paper over, pencil mark down, and place on a flat baking tray.
- Place egg whites and first portion of caster sugar into a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whip until hard peaks are formed.
- In a separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients until well incorporated – no lumps!.
- Slowly fold in dry mixture into egg white mixture in thirds. Careful to not over mix, otherwise the egg whites will lose their stiffness.
- Spoon mixture into a piping bag with circular, medium sized nozzle.
- Pipe the outline that you previously traced.
- Spoon mixture into the middle of the circle. Using a palette knife, spread the mixture evenly within the outline, ensure that the top is as even as possible. You will want it to be no more than ¾ inch thick. To reduce any air bubbles, use the tip of the palate knife to tap various areas of within the circle, and use your palate knife to smooth it back out.
- For any remaining mixture, spoon onto any space you can find within the baking sheet, making small dollops.
- Place the tray in the middle of the oven, bake for 2 hours. Make sure you turn the tray 1 hour into baking – I typically swap the levels around and give the trays a turn for a more even baking.
- To check if the meringues are ready, lightly touch the middle of the meringue, it needs to feel dry and solid.
- Set aside and cool.
Part 2: Chocolate sponge
This can be made up to 3 days in advance – wrap in saran wrap and store in the fridge.
1 Egg yolk
30g Cocoa powder
72g Gluten-free flour
48g Ground almond
¼ tsp Baking soda
10g Melted butter, cooled.
½ cap Vanilla flavouring
- Set oven at 175⁰C/350⁰F
- Grease a 9” tin, then lightly coat with GF flour. Shake any excess out.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk and sugar with a hand mixer until the mixture doubles in volume, and forms a thick mixture. The more air that is beat into the eggs will help make the sponge rise.
- Sift the GF flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking soda together.
- Slowly fold the flour into the egg mixture until just incorporated. Careful of over mixing here as it could deflate the eggs.
- Take the melted butter and slowly pour it in, while folding, add half a cap of vanilla flavouring and keep folding until incorporated in.
- Pour mixture into your greased tin and place within centre of oven to bake for 40-50 minutes.
- You may need to turn the tin 20-30 minutes in depending how even the baking is. To check if the sponge is ready, use a sharp knife, or toothpick, and stick it in the middle of the sponge. If it comes out clean it’s ready.
- Set aside and cool.
Part 3: Cherry filling
For the cherry filling, homemade is always best (I’ve used frozen, but canned is also possible).
900g Sour cherries, frozen
¼ cup Sugar
½ lemon Zest, and juice
½ orange Zest, and juice
2 tbsp Corn flour
2 caps Kirsch
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sour cherries, sugar and lemon zest and juice. Squeeze in the orange and drop it in the saucepan. Add about ¼ cup of water (if the sour cherry juice hasn’t melted yet) and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Mix corn flour with a touch of water to dissolve and slowly pour into the boiling cherry mixture, stirring as you pour.
- Allow cherry filling to thicken until it almost reaches a consistency similar to thick gravy (it will thicken up once cooled).
- Set aside to cool, then mix in 2 caps of kirsch.
Part 3: Assembly
3 tbsp Sugar
¼ cup Hot boiled water
2 cap Kirsch
850mL Whipping cream (or 600mL whipping cream and 250mL fresh double cream)
75g Dark chocolate
- Dissolve the sugar with boiling water in a small bowl or cup, set aside and once cool, mix in the caps of kirsch and set aside.
- Take the chocolate sponge and horizontally slice off 0.5cm of the top to remove the top coating. Slice remainder of the sponge cake horizontally into 3 equal, level layers. These should be about 1.5cm thick. Set aside.
- Using an electric/hand mixer, whip the whipping cream until softly whipped.
- Take the bottom layer of sponge and lightly brush the sugar-kirsch syrup on to moisten the surface.
- Spread an even layer of fresh cream on top, about 0.5cm thick. Take a handful of the cherry topping and gently squeeze to remove excess liquid. Spread the cherries evenly on the surface.
- Spread a layer of fresh cream on top of the cherries until they are just covered.
- Place the next layer of sponge on top and repeat steps 4-6 until you have 2 cream layers sandwiched between the sponges.
- Use the remainder of the whipped cream to cover the top and sides of the cake – also known as masking.
- Place the cake in the fridge to rest. Meanwhile, break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie) until fully melted.
- To make the chocolate panels, prepare strips of parchment paper about an inch higher than what you want the height of the panels.
- Using a pastry brush, paint on the strips of parchment paper horizontally, leaving an inch at the top. Try and make the top as neat as possible!
- Place on a tray in the fridge for a few minutes to harden slightly, making it easier for you to cut into panels (don’t wait too long otherwise the chocolate will just snap!).
- Return the tray to the fridge for a few more minutes to harden further before handling.
- Carefully stick each panel on the side of the cake until you have it covered fully. Create more chocolate panels if necessary.