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Black Forest Gâteau

This showstopping vegan bake from The Happy Pear is a dairy-free take on a Black Forest Gâteau, complete with a decadent coconut cream frosting.

From the book


This was always Dave’s favourite cake growing up – chocolate sponge with cherry jam, lots of cream, chocolate shavings and cherries on top! This dairy-free version is just as good as his childhood memories. German law dictates that kirsch must be present in a true Black Forest gâteau for it to have that name, so we have included a small amount for authenticity. This is one to make for special occasions.

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For the cakes:
400g white flour
40g cacao powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
400ml maple syrup
125ml rice milk/other milk of choice
300ml vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the cherry jam/kirsch syrup:
1 x 450g tin of black cherries, stoned
2 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp kirsch/cherry brandy/rum (optional)
4 tbsp maple syrup
For the coconut cream:
2 x 400ml tins of full-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
50g dark chocolate
100g fresh cherries (if none available, use another tin of black cherries for garnish)

Essential kit

You will need: two 23cm springform tins.


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line two 23cm springform tins with baking parchment.

2. In a large bowl, sieve the flour, cacao, baking powder and salt to avoid any lumps, and mix. In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients – the maple syrup, rice milk, vegetable oil and vanilla.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and mix well – it should result in a wet brownie batter that is super tasty!

4. Divide the cake batter between the two prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes. Test to see if the cake bases are cooked by inserting a knife or fork into the middle – it should come out clean, but if there is cake batter sticking to it, it needs more time in the oven. Repeat until the knife/fork comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

5. While the cakes are in the oven, start the cherry jam and coconut cream.

6. Drain the tinned cherries, ensuring you keep all the syrup. In a blender, blend half the drained cherries from the can with 120ml of the cherry syrup from the tin, 2 tablespoons of cornflour, 2 tablespoons of kirsch/cherry brandy/rum and 4 tablespoons of maple syrup to make a cherry jam. Blend till smooth, then pour into a saucepan, bring to the boil and let it reduce for 10 minutes, until it becomes jam like. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool and thicken.

7. Now make the cream. Open both tins of coconut milk and scoop off the coconut cream from the top, leaving the water behind. Put the cream into a mixing bowl and whisk together with the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Set aside until you are ready to assemble your gâteau.

8. Mix 4 tablespoons of the cherry syrup from the tin with the remaining 2 tablespoons of kirsch in a jug. Lightly pierce the two cake bases with a skewer, then pour the cherry/kirsch liquid evenly over the top of both cakes. Leave them to cool fully.

9. Once fully cooled, spread the cherry jam on top of one of the cakes. Next, layer on the rest of the tinned cherries and lastly spread over half the coconut cream.

10. Carefully place the second cake on top and cover with the remaining coconut cream. With a microplane grater or fine grater, grate some chocolate on top. Decorate with cherries and enjoy this wonderful cake!

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From the book: The Happy Pear: Recipes for Happiness

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