Rachel Khoo’s chocolate black forest gateau bowls

“This recipe combines all the classic ingredients in that great retro gateau”, says Rachel. “For an impressive twist, try these cute homemade chocolate cups for serving the cake, cream and cherries in the daintiest way.”

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting time


90g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
125g sugar
50g melted butter
2 tbsps cocoa powder
400g dark chocolate
2 tbsps vegetable or sunflower oil
6 water bomb balloons
400g punnet of cherries
2 tbsps sugar
300ml whipping cream
1tbsp sugar


For the sponge:
1.    Preheat the oven to 160°c.
2.    Mix together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
3.    Whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy.
4.    Add the liquid ingredients followed by the dry ingredients.
5.    Pour into greased and floured cake tin.
6.    Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  Remove from tin and leave on cake rack to cool.
7.    Blow up the water balloons.
8.    Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, then set the bowl aside. You want the thickness of double cream. Dip your balloon in and place on a plate covered in clingfilm.
9.    Place in the fridge to set.
10.    Meanwhile pit the cherries (save 6 for the garnish).
11.    Place in a pot with 100ml water and 100g sugar. Cover and bring to a boil.
12.    Add the cherries. Boil for 10 minutes.
13.    Place in the fridge to chill.
14.    Repeat once the chocolate has set. (you will probably need to reheat the chocolate in the bain marie or microwave for a couple of seconds). Place in fridge to set.
15.    Repeat the process one more time to have two coats on the balloons.
16.    Once the cake and cherries in juice are cool. Cut the cake into large chunks and divide between the bowls. Top with cherries with some juice.
17.    Whip the cream with the sugar and place in piping bag.
18.    Pipe a swirl of cream on top of each bowl followed by a cherry.

Get ahead:
Use bought chocolate sponge and tinned cherries.

Temper your chocolate. 48°c bring down at 32°c.
Don’t dip your balloon in hot chocolate, it will explode and make a big mess.
Whipping cream is easiest when the cream is really cold. If it is particularly hot in your kitchen, place your bowl in the freezer too before you whip.
Use a small bowl to dip your balloons, it’ll make it easier to dip as the chocolate will have more depth.
You can use a straw to pit cherries.

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London on BBC Lifestyle channel 174 on DStv. Photograph ©BBC

Catch cook and food writer Rachel Khoo from from Tuesday 11 February at 21:00 as she returns to her hometown and uncovers new trends and the colourful diversity of the capital’s cooking and shares beautiful new recipes that reflect it.

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