A friendly giant from the Schwarzwald

A friendly giant from the Schwarzwald

People I know with December birthdays tend to get a little uppity about their limelight being stolen by a certain other, late in the month, celebration that seems to encroach on their fun. Sam is no exception to this rule, stating that no C-word related shenanigans can take place until after the 13th… which is fair enough. I’d totally have a tantrum if the attention wasn’t firmly on me!

So I thought I should make an effort to bake him a cake – something we realised I’d never done for him before. When it comes to cakes, he’s all about chocolate, the more the better. But for his ultimate dessert, we have to have a throw-back to the 80s. We’re talking the quintessential powerhouse dinner party menu of the time: prawn cocktail, steak and finished with a large slab of Black Forest Gateau.


But as it’s Christmas and I rarely stick with run-of-the-mill, I thought I’d try my hand at a roulade version of a BFG (see…the title always makes sense eventually!)

I looked around the internet for suggestions, taking inspiration from a recipe by Delia Smith, but instead of curls of dark chocolate on top, I opted for a chocolate ganache that allowed the obligatory forking to achieve the look of bark.

In hindsight, I should have thought about this more in advance – it required half the cream I had for the filling, so ended up with the inside not being packed as well as I would have liked.


The cherries I felt we’re a little bland too, despite being fairly feisty and making multiple attempts at escape! This may have been the fault of the make I bought, but if I made it again, I’d be inclined to include a layer of cherry jam.

However, the birthday boy thought it was a hit and I was surprised by how easy it was…especially the rolling part. It would work well as a dessert for any celebration, including the C-Word!

So if you’re a fan of BFGs or chocolate cake in general, give it a try. Yule be a fool not to!! #christmascrackerjokesrock πŸ˜‰


For the sponge:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 15ml hot water

For the filling:

  • 300g black cherries in syrup
  • 200ml double (heavy) cream
  • Cherry jam (optional)

For the ganache topping:

  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g dark chocolate (broken into pieces)


For the sponge, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7 (220C) and line a cm deep baking tray (at least 20cm x 30cm).

Put the eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk until fluffy. The whisk should leave an impression in the mixture. Sieve the flour and cocoa together then fold into the eggs and sugar carefully, using a metal spoon and ensuring no lumps. Finally, stir in the water.


Pour into your baking tray and smooth out. Bake for 7-9 mins until risen and springy. Whilst baking, prepare a sheet of greaseproof paper to turn it out onto and sprinkle with a little sugar.


Immediately turn the sponge onto the paper once out of the oven and trim the paper’s edges. Lay another sheet of greaseproof on top and loosely roll the cake and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, drain the cherries and whip 200ml of your cream until stiff peaks appear. Set to one side.


To make the ganache (do not make this until the cake has cooled as it will set), break the dark chocolate into a pan and add the 100ml of cream. Heat gently (no need to boil) and stir until all chocolate has melted.

Carefully unroll your cooled base and spread first with jam (if using), then an even layer of whipped cream. Place the cherries as randomly or as uniformly as you like across the surface then carefully re-roll, squishing in any runaway fruit!


Pour over the prepared ganache and smooth over the surface. Allow to set for 5 minutes then with a fork, make it look as artistic as your inner-carpenter will allow.

Keeps in the fridge for a week – if it lasts that long! Enjoy. πŸ™‚

Image Credits: All my own.

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36 thoughts on “A friendly giant from the Schwarzwald

    1. Happy birthday!! I knew it was within the next few days sometime. But I’m not sending any cake unless it’s eaten in bed.
      🎀 It’s your birthday, hibernate if you want to…lie (in bed) if you want to, don’t cry (unless you want to!).
      It loosely fits the tune, just! 🍰🍸🍸🍰

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh boy, I want that cake!!! My mom’s birthday was December 26, and we never heard the end of it. So, I had to do three big dinners for many years, Christmas eve, Christmas, and her birthday. It is a good thing I liked to cook!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks AMAZING. I could just eat a slice (or three) of that now. My brother’s birthday is the 23rd. I don’t think he could get any of us to wait that long before “c-word shenanigans” begin πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tara! No, I think waiting that late would be pushing it although I’m sure there’ll be many that will only just be starting then! Happy birthday to your brother for Friday πŸ™‚


    1. I’m sure you’d manage it. Why don’t you make a video following one of my recipes and I’ll make one doing something… professor-ish. I was going to say something with a guitar but then I’d lose. Cakes are easier than guitars.


    1. Thanks Phil, it can be your virtual cake for Friday! πŸ˜‰ Happy birthday in advance – I see your Christmas Eve Eve birthday and raise you. My uncle’s is Christmas Day…


    1. Thank you! Yes, never mind the actual people who have a birthday, it’s most inconvenient for us gift buyers!! πŸ˜‰ We have four family birthdays in December and at least eight friends who have them. Happy belated birthday to them both 🍰🍸

      Liked by 1 person

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