Neil’s gateau splits the opinion of Great Irish Bake Off judges

Neil’s gateau splits the opinion of Great Irish Bake Off judges

Last week was international week on the Great Irish Bake Off and while’s Neil Reid advanced to the next stage, his Black Forest Gateau divided opinion amongst the judges.

Below are his thoughts on the week’s events.

Neil's Black Forrest Gateau

Neil’s Black Forrest Gateau

After a solid third for my Swiss Roll and good feedback for my Chocolate Selection box it was on to International Week. Our task was to bake a cake from a country of our choice. Having spent a good bit of time in Germany and it being my birthday cake of choice it was a no-brainer for me to go with a Black Forrest Gateaux.

I’ve said it before that this is Bake Off so a traditional Black Forrest wasn’t going to cut it. I designed what I thought would be a great modern twist on this 70’s classic. A rich heavy chocolate sponge, white chocolate and Kirsch mouse and a dark chocolate and Kirsch Ganache would give the flavours and contrasting textures I wanted. This was all fine in practice, as my and Irish Times colleagues will attest to, as it disappeared quite quickly.

I tried to push the boat out on the show but wasted a little time cleaning when I should have been working on that chocolate collar so it was a touch messy in the end. Over all I was happy with what I presented albeit not perfect. That sponge was not dry Ms Higgins… it was exactly as it was supposed to be J. The correct way to get the wooden effect on the chocolate is to use a special wood graining tool which I now own (little bit late now eh?).

It’s tough seeing your cake pulled apart by the judges but there was very little of it left once the rest of us got to it. Between my Black Forrest and my attempt at a Pineapple Upside Down cake it was enough to get me through to week 6 and one step away from a Semi Final place.

It was sad to see another big personality go from the tent this week. I’m sure we’ll bump into Sandra again at her market stall in Sylvesters in Malahide. And to Cathy our overdue (IMHO) Star Baker well done

Here’s my Black Forrest recipe

Black Forest Gateaux


340 grams Unsalted Butter

340 grams Castor Sugar

50 grams Cocoa Powder

285 Self Raising Flour

3 tsp Baking Powder

6 Eggs

4 tbsp whole Milk

2 450gr Tins of Dark pitted Cherries in syrup

White Chocolate and Kirsch Mousse:

10g leaf gelatine

300gr white chocolate

500gr cream

3 egg yokes (40gr)

60gr kirsch liquer

10gr castor sugar

125ml whole milk

Kirsch Ganache:

50 gr Unsalted Butter

500gr Dark chocolate (60-70% is fine)

450gr cream

110gr Kirsch

3 gr salt

50 gr liquid glucose

Chocolate Bark:

200gr dark chocolate

100gr milk chocolate

MISC: 1 Vanilla Pods, 250ml cream


Kirsch Mousse:

Soak Gelatine in cold water

Melt white chocolate in bain marie

Whip cream with kirsch to soft peaks

Whisk yokes and sugar together…. now concentrate…. take a breath

Heat milk in saucepan to 60deg

Slowly pour (While whisking) into the yoke mix

Return to pan and heat to 70deg – DO NOT LEAVE ALONE

Pour the mixture into the chocolate and combine

Fold in the cream and pour into 2 8 inch round tins as evenly as possible.


Mix all ingredients together in mixer bar milk… add at the end

Oven: 180Deg

Grease and Line 4, 8inch round cake tins

Bake for 20-25 mins

Once completely cooled cut and level cakes for assembly

Kirsch Ganche:

Put butter and chocolate to melt in bain maire

Heat cream glucose and kirsch to 85Deg.

Add the heated cream mix to the melted chocolate and leave to cool for 30-45 mins

Chocolate bark:

Pour melted white chocolate onto acetate and scrape into bark

Let set for 15 mins

Pour melted dark chocolate over it and spread with palette knife


  1. Start with Sponge Layer – brush Kirsch over it.
  2. Place White Chocolate mousse onto it
  3. Place 2nd Sponge Layer on next and brush Kirsch onto it
  4. Place set Ganache onto next layer
  5. Place 3rd Sponge layer on next and brush Kirsch onto it
  6. Pipe Cream on top layer (Make sure cream is well whipped to hold shape)
  7. Place dark cherries on top and place used vanilla pods into each to look like stems
  8. Place Chocolate collar around cake and leave to set – Carefully remove acetate.
  9. Eat
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  1. Pingback: Neil’s gateau splits the opinion of Great Irish Bake Off judges | Rosalie Rodney

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