Black Forest Hearts



I wanted to create a dessert for Mother’s day which was simple to make, but it also had to have a “Wow factor” and I think these heart shaped cakes would make any Mum smile.

The cake itself is not overly sweet and I used a fruit juice sweetened black cherry jam. Also, the Italian meringue butter cream brings just enough sweetness to contrast the richness of the chocolate cake.

Update: This recipe now includes ounce and cup measurements. To make the conversions easier I have increased the butter by 3 grams, the sugar by 4 grams, the sorghum flour by 1 gram, the white rice flour, dutch cocoa and the butter in the butter cream by 2 grams, the milk by 5ml and I have reduced the almond meal/flour by 2 grams. All cup measurements are firmly packed.


83g (2.9 ounces or ⅓ cup plus 1 teaspoon) gluten and dairy free butter
84g (3.0 ounces or ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon) golden/raw caster sugar, you can also use white caster sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
45ml (3 tablespoons) dairy free milk of choice
36g (1.3 ounces or ¼ cup) sorghum flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ½ cup) white rice flour
28g (1.0 ounces or ¼ cup) almond meal/flour
16g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) tapioca flour
14g (0.5 ounces or 2 tablespoons) Dutch cocoa
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) xanthan gum
1/8 teaspoon (0.625ml) salt
Italian Meringue Butter Cream
60g (2.1 ounces or ⅓ cup minus 1½ teaspoons) golden/raw caster sugar, you can also you white caster sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
1 large egg white, at room temperature
42g (1.5 ounces or 3 tablespoons) gluten and dairy free butter
6 slightly heaped tablespoons of gluten free black cherry jam
Finely grated gluten & dairy free dark chocolate (min 70%)
3 red glacé cherries cut in half

Preheat the oven to 160C and grease a 6 love heart mold.

Sift together all the dry ingredients.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium high until combined, then turn up the speed to high and beat until pale, creamy and fluffy, which takes about 4-5 minutes.


Turn the speed down and add the egg and mix until well combined. Now pour in the vanilla and mix it through and then turn up the speed to high, continuing to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.


On a low speed, gradually add the sifted flour alternately with the milk, to make quite a thick batter.


Spoon the batter into the heart shape molds, filling them to around ¾, and smooth over the surface. I also tap the bottom on the work surface a few times to release any air bubbles from the thick batter. Then place the silicone mold onto a tray before putting it into the oven.


Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note:There are a few steps to making the Italian meringue butter cream. However, it’s definitely worth the extra bit if effort, as it just works so well with this cake.

When making Italian meringue butter cream, you usually make your sugar syrup first. However, as this recipe uses only a small amount, I whip the egg white first before I start making the syrup. You need to whip the eggwhite until soft peaks form and then set aside. You can do this using a stand mixer, but I used my hand held mixer this time as I hadn’t washed out the bowl of my stand mixer! It was slightly more awkward using it, but it got the job done. So if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can get away with using a hand held one. But I think next time I just won’t be so lazy and wash out the bowl!


Tip: It is important to test the sugar syrup to ensure it is the correct consistency before mixing it with your eggwhite. The easiest way to do this is by using a candy thermometer, where the temperature will need to be between 112 C (235 F) – 118 C (245 F). 

However, if you do not have one, you can still check by dropping a small amount of syrup into a bowl of very cold water. Place your hand into the cold water and, using your fingers, gather the cooled syrup together to form a soft ball. The syrup has reached this ‘soft ball stage’ when it easily forms a soft, flexible ball in the cold water, but then flattens after a few moments when removed from it. This short 39 second clip will give you a clear picture of what it will look like. When it is at this stage it is ready to be used. 

To make the sugar syrup, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat. Just keep stirring constantly until it reaches the boil and then stop. If you have a candy thermometer the temperature needs to be between 112 C (235 F) – 118 C (245 F). Because of the small amount being made, this will not take too long at all. If you’re using the cold water testing method, test the sugar syrup at approximately 15-20 seconds into the cooking time to determine if it has reached the soft ball stage.

Once the sugar syrup is ready, pour it into the whipped eggwhite in a slow steady stream with the mixer on medium speed. Then increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has cooled to room temperature.


Now add the butter, a teaspoon or so at a time, while continuing to mix on medium high speed. Once all the butter is combined, increase the speed to high and beat until smooth.


Using a serrated knife, slice through the middle of the cake horizontally, to cut in it half. This way you will have two equal sized hearts to sandwich together.

Spread the jam, right to the edge, on one of your love hearts and then spread approximately 2½ teaspoons of Italian meringue butter cream on the other half, stopping just short of the edge. Then, carefully sandwich the 2 halves together. Now spread approximately 2½ teaspoons of butter cream on the top, again stopping just before the edge of the cake.


You can then sprinkle some grated chocolate on top of the cream. I grate mine first on some baking paper/parchment and use a teaspoon to carefully sprinkle it over the butter cream, as it’s less messy than trying to grate over the cake itself. Now finish it off by placing half a glace cherry in the middle and you’re done.

Place the cakes in the refrigerator for a short time to allow the butter cream to firm up before enjoying.

Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse

Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.

Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8

3 responses to “Black Forest Hearts

  1. Pingback: Black Forest Cakes | All Gluten-Free Desserts...All the Time·

  2. Pingback: Apple Cinnamon Gâteau | The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse·

  3. Pingback: 40 Gluten-Free Black Forest Cake Recipes & Other Chocolate Cherry Dessert Delights! | gfe--gluten free easily·

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