Gluten-Free Black Forest Cake
This gluten-free version of the classic Black Forest cake was created by our head chef Daniel. It has a light, moist texture, which complements the chocolate and cherry flavours nicely.
- 9 large eggs, seperated
- 275g soft light brown sugar
- 120g cocoa powder
- cherry juice or cherry liqueur, for soaking the sponge
- For the black cherry compote:
- 1x 410g tin pitted black cherries (in juice)
- 2 tsps cornflour
- 2 tbsp cold water
- For the Italian buttercream
- 300g granulated sugar
- 5 tbsp water
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 400g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
- dark chocolate shavings, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C /160°C (fan) /350°F /gas mark 4. Grease three 20cm sandwich tins and line with parchment paper.
Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the cocoa powder and mix until it is all incorporated.
In a separate bowl and using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Gently fold a quarter of the whisked egg whites into the batter, to loosen it. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold through until just combined. Be careful not to overmix as it will knock out the air from the egg whites.
Divide the batter between the three sandwich tins and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool in their tins. They will shrink slightly and come away from the edges of the tins.
If any of the cakes are domed, trim the tops to ensure a flat surface for stacking. Make several holes in the cooled sponge with a skewer, then brush some of the cherry juice or liqueur over the top of the cakes. Repeat two or three times, until all the juice or liqueur is used up.
Place the cherries and their juice in a pan and bring to the boil.
In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with the cold water, then pour into the pan of boiling cherries, stirring continuously to combine. Turn the heat down to medium and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and reaches a thick compote consistency. Pour into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.
For the Italian buttercream pour the sugar and water into a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil without stirring. Allow to boil for about 3–5 minutes until a thick syrup forms.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites in a clean metal bowl until stiff peaks form. With the mixer on a low or medium speed, slowly pour the syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites until it is all used up. Then add the vanilla extract and continue whisking until cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, continue whisking and add the butter a cube at a time until it is all incorporated. The buttercream should be smooth and thick with a consistency similar to whipped cream.
To assemble take a third of the buttercream and place in a separate bowl. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of the black cherry compote and gently fold it in.
Place the first cake on a cake board or serving plate and spread half of the plain buttercream on top, followed by some black cherry compote. Gently place the second cake on top and spread the cherry-coloured buttercream over the top. Then place the third cake on top and spread the remaining plain buttercream over the top. Pour any remaining black cherry compote on top of the icing and sprinkle dark chocolate shavings around it.