Although I love the beauty of a multi-layered classic Black Forest Cake, this loaf cake has quickly become one of my favourites due to it’s effortless recipe and simplicity. The rich and decadent chocolate loaf is laced with extra chocolate chips, topped with a dollop of tangy cherry jam and depending on what you fancy, either a heap of buttercream or whipped cream swirls. And, it wouldn’t be a Black Forest Cake without a cherry or two on top that have been soaked in Kirsch liqueur if you want a bit of a kick. Take a look at my coeliac-friendly recipe below for a loaf cake that is bound to delight!
This recipe is my go-to chocolate loaf cake recipe. I’ve been making this cake for years and it never fails. If you follow the recipe instructions carefully, the end result will be a beautifully fluffy chocolate loaf with the most perfect crumb!
Black Forest Cake or Gateaux is a German classic, thought to have originated in the Black Forest itself (surprise, surprise!), a vast forested mountainous region in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Known in Germany as the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, this cherry cake has become a popular flavour combination in many parts of the world. It typically consists of several layers of rich chocolate sponge, sandwiched together with a tart cherry jam and whipped cream, hence why it’s often known in German as a type of Sahnetorte which translates as ‘cream cake’. Traditional Black Forest Cakes are topped with or contain fresh cherries which have been soaked in the famous cherry liqueur, Kirsch.
What equipment do I need for this cake?
- 2 lb loaf tin
- Stand-mixer or hand-held electric whisk
- Baking paper to line the baking tin
What ingredients do I need?
Brown sugar – Light brown or brown sugar adds the structure and sweetness to this cake. I like to use a standard light brown sugar which pairs perfectly with the cocoa powder in chocolate cakes
Eggs – Eggs are needed to add structure to the cake and to help it to rise in the baking process. Remember that room temperature ingredients are essential in this recipe which helps to incorporate them into the mixture better
Unsalted butter – Unsalted butter will add a beautiful buttery taste to the loaf and it is best to use unsalted. If you find yourself with salted butter, just leave out adding the pinch of salt to the mixture. Unsalted butter at room temperature is best for the cake mixture and the buttercream so that it can be whipped up more easily. You’ll have a hard time if the butter is still hard.
Gluten-free flour – A gluten-free flour blend which contains a variety of flours is perfect for gluten-free baking. This ensures the cupcakes contain all of the necessary components needed to create the perfect crumb which a gluten-containing flour would naturally contain. For this cake I like to use a self-raising flour such as Dove’s Farm Free S.R. Flour which is my go-to flour for baking!
Ground almonds – If you’re allergic to nuts, the ground almonds can be omitted from this recipe
Dark chocolate chips – There’s nothing better than biting into a piece of cake to find extra chocolate, hence why this loaf is laced with additional chocolate
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten-free recipes and there are no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cakes together and stopping them from crumbling into dry pieces later on
Baking powder – Baking powder acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cake
Vanilla extract – A few drops of vanilla extract pairs perfectly with chocolate flavours
Icing sugar – Icing sugar is the main ingredient of the buttercream, adding sweetness and structure
Cherry jam – Cherry jam adds the fruity notes to this cake and shouldn’t go amiss in a Black Forest Loaf. Spread a generous amount on top!
Fresh cherries – A heap of freshly chopped or whole cherries on top make this cake a real stunner. An alternative to fresh cherries would be a dollop of liqueur-soaked cherries if you want to stick to the classic recipe and have a bit of a kick
Double-cream – You can have buttercream or a whipped cream on top of your loaf, depending on what you’d prefer
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensure that they can all be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot, you don’t want to cook them!) water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature more quickly.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested as a rough guide. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cake is baked through and ready to come out.
I use grams for weighing almost all of the ingredients in my recipes as it is what I am most used to when cooking and baking on a daily basis. I use measuring cups for simple ingredients such as spices or smaller amounts as it can be much easier to measure. I would recommend sticking to what the recipe suggests as there is no guarantee that converting into cup measurements or vice-versa will have the same outcome.
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- Strawberry & Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes
- Mini Strawberry Pies
- Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread
- Lemon Curd Linzer Cookies
Black Forest Loaf Cake
For the loaf cake
- 200 g unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 200 g brown sugar
- 150 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 50 g Dutch-pressed cocoa powder
- 4 medium free-range eggs room temperature
- 100 g dark chocolate chips
- 2 heaped tbsp ground almonds
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp salt
Option 1: For a buttercream topping
- 125 g unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 250 g icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Option 2: For a whipped cream topping
- 200 ml heavy double cream whipped
For the Topping
- 4-5 tbsp cherry jam
- fresh cherries
- chocolate flakes to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 160° C Fan and line the bottom of a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper. Grease thoroughly with a greasing brush.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer until completely combined.200 g unsalted butter, 200 g brown sugar
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.4 medium free-range eggs
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, Xanthan Gum, salt and baking powder and mix in until just combined and no pockets of flour remain.150 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, 50 g Dutch-pressed cocoa powder, 2 heaped tbsp ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp salt
- Fold in the chocolate chips before transferring the mixture to the baking tin and levelling off with a spatula.100 g dark chocolate chips
- Use a cocktail stick to create a line in the centre of the mixture to allow for the rise and then place the baking tin in the oven on the middle shelf.
- Bake for around 45 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean. If the loaf begins to brown too much, cover with tinfoil with the shiny side up.
- Once baked through, allow the loaf to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and setting aside on a cooling rack to reach room temperature.
Option 1: For the buttercream topping
- Cream the butter in a mixer on the highest setting for around 5 minutes until paler in colour and fluffier in texture.125 g unsalted butter
- Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and whisk again until completely combined. This may take another 5 minutes to ensure that the buttercream is light and airy.250 g icing sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract
Option 2: For the whipped cream
- Whisk the double cream on the mixer's highest setting until stiff peaks have formed.200 ml heavy double cream
For the topping
- Spread a generous amount of cherry jam onto the cooled loaf.4-5 tbsp cherry jam
- Spread your chosen cream on top of the cherry jam and even out with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
- Decorate with fresh cherries and chocolate flakes.fresh cherries, chocolate flakes