Traditional Black Forest gâteau
Queen Victoria was known to be fond of cherries and this – now rather retro – cake is a real crowd-pleaser for all generations.
Equipment: You will need a 22cm/8½in spring-form cake tin.
For the sponge
For the filling
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and grease and line a 22cm/8½in spring-form cake tin with baking paper.
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a freestanding mixer and whisk over a high speed for 3 minutes until pale, fluffy and doubled in volume. Sift in the cocoa powder and fold in, keeping as much air in as possible.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl.
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture a third at a time. Carefully pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
For the filling, whisk the cream, vanilla and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Drain the cherries, reserving the kirsch, then fold them into the cream.
For the decoration, put the fresh cherries and jam into a saucepan and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes until glossy. Add the cornflour mixture, cook for a further minute and then set aside to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, using sharp bread knife, cut the sponge into three equal slices. Set one slice on a cake stand or serving board and then spoon over 3 tablespoons of the reserved kirsch.
Spread half of the jam over the top and then top with half of the cream. Lay a second sponge on top, press down gently, then repeat the layering process, finishing with a final layer of sponge. Run a palette knife around the edge of the cake to smooth out any cream; this should coat the outside of the cake with a thin layer of cream which will help the chocolate pencils to stick to the cake.
Decorate the outside of the cake with a tightly packed line of chocolate pencils, then spoon the glazed cherries into the centre. Chill for at least an hour before serving.