Royal recipe: How to make Queen Victoria’s traditional Black Forest Gateau

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A traditional Black Forest gateau is still served to the Royal Family today with very similar ingredients to how Queen Victoria enjoyed the scrumptious dessert. This now rather retro cake is very simple to make, and royal fans can enjoy making the recipe at home which Queen Victoria herself would be proud of. The dessert has been a real crowd-pleaser in royal circles for all generations.

For this gateau, royal fans will need a 22cm spring-form cake tin.

The preparation time can take anywhere between one and two hours, and the cooking time is just half an hour to one hour.

This delicious pudding serves eight whole portions, so your family can enjoy the royal dessert prepared in the most traditional way possible.


For the sponge

Eight free-range eggs, separated
185 grams golden caster sugar
80g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

For the filling

600ml double cream
One vanilla pod, seeds only
60 grams icing sugar
350 grams cherries in kirsch
340 grams jar morello cherry jam – three tbsp reserved for the topping
One tsp cornflour mixed with two tsp water
To decorate
750 grams cherries, stoned
Three tbsp morello cherry jam
50-60 dark chocolate pencils


Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 22cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a mixer and whisk over a high speed for three minutes until fluffy and doubled in volume.

Sift in the cocoa powder and fold it in.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.

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 high heat for two minutes until glossy.

Add the cornflour mixture, cook for a further minute, and then set aside to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, using a sharp bread knife, cut the sponge into three equal slices.

Set one slice on a cake stand and then spoon over three 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, as this should 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.

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