The recipe below makes one large, traditional gateau. If you would rather make individual gateaux try baking the cake mix in 2 Swiss roll tins – when cool you can use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds and sandwich them together as below. Freeze the left over sponge bits and use them to make a black forest trifle at a later date. Alternatively you can use a sharp knife to cut out squares.
Be creative when decorating individual gateaux.
For the sponge
Butter for greasing
9 free-range eggs
9 oz / 255g caster sugar
7 ½ oz / 200g self-raising flour
1 ½ oz / 40g cocoa powder
For the filling
1 x 15 oz / 425g tins black cherries
A generous splash of Cherry brandy or brandy
2 tbsp arrowroot
1 ¼ pint / 750ml double cream, whipped
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
Grease and line a deep 10” / 26cm/ spring form cake tin.
Put the eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy and a trail forms when the whisk is removed.
Fold in the sieved flour and the cocoa powder. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, transfer to the oven and bake for about 55 minutes, or until risen and cooked through. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
For the filling, drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Place the cherries into a bowl with the Kirsch. Place the cherry juice from the tin into a pan and bring to the boil. While the juice is heating, mix the arrowroot with a little water in a small bowl to make a paste. When the juice is boiling, mix the arrowroot paste into it, then strain through a sieve into the bowl with the cherries and leave to cool.
Whip the cream until it is soft and holding its shape. Cut the cooled sponge into three layers using a sharp bread knife. Sandwich the three layers together using the whipped cream and the cherries in their thickened syrup mix.
To serve, top with the grated chocolate. You may also want to reserve a little of the cream and a few cherries for decoration.