June 19, 2013


black forest cake1 I was wanting to make a cake for my friend Elizabeth who has to have a gluten free diet and decided to have a look in one of my favourite baking books, “Gorgeous Cakes” by Annie Bell.  Although it is not specifically a gluten free recipe book, a lot of the recipes are just that.

Anyway, I flipped the pages and the book fell open at a recipe that is not only gluten free but also described as “guilt free”.

black forest cake1a black forest cake1b

This is apparently because it has no butter or cream in it. 

As you can see, mine looks nothing at all like the picture in the book.  This is actually because the “cream” topping in the picture is in fact ricotta cheese and mine turned out to be extremely runny.  It ran off the top of the cake, taking the grated chocolate with it !!  The topping also has honey in it instead of icing sugar, which presumably makes it less indulgent and therefore making one feel less guilty about that second or third slice…...

black forest cake2 black forest cake3

Considering there is no flour or butter in the cake, it rose amazingly well, all the rise coming from the whisking of the eggs to give lift to the ground almonds.

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The original guilt free recipe isn’t exactly for a black forest cake.  At the last minute I decided to add some black cherry jam to the filling and put some cherries on top for decoration.  I think it needed the jam.  Without it the cake would have been quite bland I think.

Also I’m not too sure about the ricotta cheese filling/topping.  It’s actually a mixture of ricotta and honey, whizzed together in the food processor.  I wasn’t sure if more whizzing would make the ricotta mixture thicker or thinner so I stopped whizzing as soon as it was blended.  It tasted nice enough but was very runny – some may think the cake looks better with the topping running down the sides – I always feel a lot better if it looks more like the picture in the book !!

black forest cake6 However, I would definitely make this cake again.  The good rise and the moist chocolateyness made it a lovely cake for a gluten free diet.

Next time I might try making the ricotta topping before the cake and putting it in the fridge to thicken up.  Or maybe I might just sacrifice some of its healthy properties and fill it with double cream or a cream cheese filling !!

Tea_Time_Treatrs_logo As this month’s Tea Time Treats challenge is for “layer cakes”, I think this cake just about qualifies and just about sneaks in - in the nick of time !! The challenge is the work of Kate of What Kate Baked and Karen of Lavender and Lovage and you can see the details here.

randomrecipesAs the cake was also a random selection and a healthy one (well at least until I added the black cherry jam!), it fits in (hopefully) with Dom’s Random Recipe Challenge at Belleau Kitchen this month, which is for “Healthy and Happy”.  You can see the details here.


4 medium eggs, separated

150g caster sugar

3 tblsp cocoa powder

225g ground almonds

1tsp gluten free baking powder

2 x 250g tubs of ricotta cheese

3 tblsp set honey

approx half a jar of black cherry jam

approx 4 tblsp grated dark chocolate

a few fresh cherries to decorate (optional)


Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 4.  Grease and line the base of a deep 20cm springform cake tin.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites stiffly using an electric whisk.  In a larger bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy.

Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three goes until well combined.  Then sift in the cocoa and baking powder.  Add the ground almonds and fold in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.  Bake for 35 minutes until the cake shrinks back from the sides of the tin slightly and passes the skewer test.

Run a knife round the edge of the cake and leave to cool in the tin.

To make the filling, drain the liquid from the ricotta then blitz in a food processor with the honey until well combined.

Remove the cake from the tin and carefully cut into two layers using a bread knife.  Put one half on a cake stand or plate and spread generously with the jam.  Add about half of the cheese topping and put the second layer on top.

Spread the remaining cheese topping over the cake and sprinkle with grated chocolate.  Add a few fresh cherries to decorate.  Chill in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

Cuts into 10-12 slices.  Keep in the fridge but leave out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.


  1. This looks delicious!

  2. it's a glorious cake... made me happy just looking at the picture so I can only imagine how good i'd feel eating it... a brilliant random recipe... healthy but not annoyingly so!... thanks so much for the entry x

  3. I think you are right about the honey. I love honey, but would never use it in this situation -- there's no point. It just tastes medicinal and doesn't set. Having said that, I think it looks better with the icing all over like yours rather than just on the top. I would also use a cream cheese (low fat is fine) for this sort of icing. It looks like a great way of creating a low fat, gluten free blackforest cake though.

  4. Jean, having seen and sampled the cake (several slices!) I can only say Don't change a thing! It tasted as good as it looked and I'm very glad you've posted the recipe. I've added it to my list of "best bakes" and can only say a big "Thank you" for taking the time and trouble to bake it, bring it and share it.

    As for 'medicinal'.. I'd take it regularly and would be more than happy to complete the course.

  5. I quite like the look of yours - with the icing running down the sides, but I know what you mean. It looks lovely, whether it turned out right or not - anything with ground almonds in it is a good thing in my book.

  6. I love Annie Bell's book too, Jean. Haven't had a Black Forest gateau for years - you've given me inspiration to make one!
    Yours looks good - haven't tried using ricotta cheese in icing.

  7. This looks delicious! Who knew something so delicious looking could still class as healthy - definitely one to try out.

  8. wow, wow, wow! Looks divine!

  9. Truly looks lovely. I dont make gf cakes that often, butthis one is one to try out for sure. Also thank you soo much for your comment on my blog.

  10. What a TRULY divine looking cake and it is hard to believe it is gluten free too! I have added this to the TTT round up now, and thanks so much for entering! Karen