Food, Recipes from the Heart

Ibu’s Black Forest Gateau


Last week, my family and I celebrated my mum’s 59th birthday. Ever since I embarked on a baking journey, my mother has been bugging me to bake her favorite cake – The Black Forest. We used to buy them from neighborhood bakeries, not bothering about the contents of the cake. Learning to cook and bake has made me a more conscious eater – both in terms of what I put in my mouth, and in terms of halal ingredients used. I know some bakers might disagree with me, but I am still reluctant to use vanilla extract, or anything that contains alcohol.

So upon learning that most Black Forest recipes use Kirsch, a kind of brandy, I stayed clear of them. My mother has been deprived of her favorite cake because of this although the durian cake I made last year was quite a hit with the family.

Finally, this year, I mustered the courage to make her favorite cake. I was intimidated because I thought it would be very difficult. Little did I know I just needed a good recipe, and patience to make the cake.

I got the chocolate sponge recipe from Sailu’s Kitchen, and adapted it to make it extra tasty. The whipped cream frosting is my own, and I got the maraschino cherries from Phoon Huat.


Black Forest Gateau

For the cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 and a half cups caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup Valhorna cocoa powder
  • 1 and a half tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 and half tbspn instant coffee powder
  • 2 eggs

For layering:

  • 2 cups whipping cream (I used Red Man)
  • 1 tbspn of vanilla essence
  • 2 tbspn caster sugar
  • 1 jar of maraschino cherries
  • Shaved chocolate
  1. Heat oven to 175 deg centigrade. Grease and flour two round 8-inch pans. (I’d recommend lining the base with greaseproof paper)
  2. Mix the coffee and hot water together and set aside.
  3. Beat melted butter, sugar and vanilla essence till well combined and sugar has dissolved. Beat in eggs slowly until well incorporated.
  4. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder and salt. Add into the batter slowly.
  5. Gradually add in the milk and coffee into the batter until well combined. The batter will be very watery, DO NOT WORRY.
  6. Divide the batter into the two tins. Bake in the oven for 35-40 mins, or until skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cake to cool for at least two hours before layering.
  8. Meanwhile, beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla on a medium speed for about 5-6 minutes. I realised 7-8 minutes may be a bit too long, so do watch out for the cream before it becomes butter.
  9. Chop about 10 cherries into small pieces. When cake has cooled down, cut the cake into layers. You would want to layer the cake, followed by the cream, then cherries.
  10. Finish layering and then frost the cake as desired. Decorate with whole cherries and shaved chocolate. (I used crushed Kit Kat because I forgot to get dark chocolate heh)
  11. Cool in the fridge for about 2 hours before serving.

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