The final recipe I developed as part of my gluten-free period involves cherries. There are two things that come to mind when I think of cherries, the Bakewell tart and Black Forest Gateau. Given my dairy-free and gluten-free sponges involve almonds I did originally think of leaning more towards the Bakewell tart but then I do love chocolate. I also love making avocado icing as it always surprises people when they taste it. It was because of this that I decided to try and come up with my own recipe for the Black Forest Gateau. This cake lends itself well to tinned cherries as you don't need to peel or stone them which takes a lot of faff out of the preparation. It also means you don't have to wait for them to be in season in order to make it. The only thing I would suggest is that you do make sure your avocado is ripe when it comes to making the icing. It doesn't matter if it's over-ripe, just make sure it isn't under. You don't want a lumpy icing!
Hands-on Time 30 minutes (plus cooling)
Baking Time 35 minutes
Oil for greasing (flavourless e.g. sunflower or vegetable)
2 Tins of pitted Black cherries in light syrup, large (approx. 425g undrained, each)
115g plus 1 tbsp and 1 tsp Caster sugar
3 Eggs, medium
1 tsp Almond extract
100g Ground almonds
40g plus 4 tbsp Cocoa powder
Fine salt, couple of pinches
1 tsp Lemon juice (concentrate is fine)
1 tsp Cornflour
1 Avocado (ripe)
Up to 100g Icing sugar
20cm Fixed or push bottom cake tin
Mini chopper or blender
2 Mixing bowls
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Cut a piece of baking parchment into a circle for the base of the cake tin.
Grease the tin with oil and line with the parchment.
Drain the cherries over a bowl so you can keep the syrup. Tip the drained cherries onto kitchen paper and pat dry.
Add 100g of cherries to the saucepan and set aside. Add 100g to a mini chopper or blender, and add the remaining cherries to the second bowl.
Pulse the cherries in the mini chopper/blender.
Separate the eggs between the two mixing bowls.
Add the blended cherries and 65g of caster sugar to the egg yolks. Beat with an electric whisk on a high speed for at least a minute.
Clean and dry the beaters.
Whisk the egg whites until you have a foam. Keep whisking and gradually add the 50g of caster sugar until you have stiff peaks.
Add the almond extract, ground almonds, 40g of cocoa, and a pinch of salt to the beaten egg yolks and combine using a spatula.
Add a scoop of the egg whites to the mix and beat to loosen it up. Add half of the egg whites and fold into the mixture. Add the remaining eggs whites, folding again until there are no specks.
Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar to the cherries in the bowl and coat using a spoon.
Tip the powdered cherries into the cake tin.
Give the cake mixture a stir and pour over the the powdered cherries. Smooth using a spatula. Give the tin one tap on the worktop before placing on a middle shelf in the oven and leaving to bake for 35 minutes.
Whilst the cake is baking get on with the speedy cherry jam.
Add 4 tablespoons of the light cherry syrup, lemon juice, and cornflour to the cherries in the saucepan.
Place the pan over a medium-high heat and stir continuously using a spatula. As the cherries soften try pressing them against the side of the pan using the spatula to break them up a little. Once the jam has thickened you can remove the pan from the heat.
Set the jam aside for later.
Remove the tin from the oven and leave the cake to sit for 15 minutes.
When the time is up carefully turn the cake out onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment and turn cherry-side up. You may need to run a palette knife around the edge of the cake to loosen the sides. Leave the cake to completely cool.
Halve, remove the stone, and scoop the flesh of the avocado into a clean mixing bowl, ensuring you weigh it (make a note of this).
Beat the avocado for a minute until creamy using a clean electric whisk.
Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa, a pinch of salt, and half of the avocado’s weight in icing sugar (you don’t have to be exact to the nearest gram). Carefully beat until you have a smooth chocolate fudgy icing.
Spread the icing on top of the cake and crown using the cherry jam.