Layers of kirsch-laced Chantilly cream and delicious homemade jam are encased in sponge covered with a rich chocolate ganache, making this a decadent marriage of chocolate cake and Black Forest gâteau. Gold-leaf decorated cherries make it feel extra-special.
Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3.
Make the sponges. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium pan. Mix the coffee powder with 125ml water and add it to the pan. Place over a low heat and cover with a lid. Leave for about 2–3 minutes, until the butter and chocolate have melted into the coffee mixture. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.
Mix the flours, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and sugars in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk.
Add the butter and chocolate mixture to the flour mixture along with the beaten eggs and buttermilk and use a wooden spoon to mix to a smooth batter. Divide the mixture equally between the 3 prepared tins and bake for 30–35 minutes, until firm to the touch or until a skewer inserted into centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the sponges are baking, prepare the ganache. Place the chocolate, cream and butter in a bowl and place over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, refrigerate, stirring occasionally to keep the ganache smooth, until thick and glossy, then remove from the fridge so that it doesn’t set too hard. Set aside.
To make the jam, place the defrosted cherries in a medium pan and mash with a potato masher. Add the jam sugar and lemon juice and place over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and allow to bubble for 4 minutes, until it reaches 105°C/221°F on the sugar thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Once it starts to thicken, remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and place in the fridge to cool.
To make the chocolate bark, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then spread over the strip of baking paper. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, until leathery, then, taking a short end, roll up the paper with the chocolate inside and place in the fridge to set.
For the crème Chantilly, using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the cream, icing sugar and kirsch in a bowl, until it forms soft peaks. Place one third of the mixture in the piping bag fitted with the large star nozzle and set aside.
To assemble the cake, place the first cake on a cake board or plate. Spread with a layer of the cherry jam, followed by half the crème Chantilly remaining in the bowl. Place a second cake on top and repeat, then finally place the last cake upside down on top to give a flat finish.
Spread the ganache around the sides of the cake and over the top in an even layer. Remove the chocolate bark from the fridge, unroll the paper and break up the chocolate into pieces as necessary. Pile these in the centre of the cake. Pipe 8 swirls of cream from the piping bag around the top edge of the cake and top each swirl with a whole cherry decorated with a little gold leaf. Store the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.