Breaking my own Copyright: Mother’s Day at Lismaine Cottage

This a a shameless re-post of a blog I wrote for Lismaine Cottage, my parents bed and breakfast establishment, on Mothering Sunday. The reason I want to share it is not just that it gives me something easy to post, but the cake was so damn good. This cake was certainly not a lie. Enjoy!

It’s Mother’s Day, and what better way to celebrate the ones who raised us than to give back in the universal language of love. Food, of course! And at Lismaine Cottage, to celebrate our mum, we had eggs Benedict with freshly made wheaten bread, poached local eggs from our neighbour Ethel, smoked salmon and mock-Hollandaise sauce. But brunch wouldn’t be complete without something sweet. On mum’s request, a Black Forest gateau – the decadent chocolate and cherry cake supreme.


Eggs sort-of-Benedict at Lismaine Cottage


We’ll have the recipe for wheaten bread in another post. The whole brunch is simply assembled by taking a slice of buttered wheaten bread, topping it with a slice of smoked salmon, followed by a poached egg, and topping with the sauce. Hollandaise would be ideal, but it’s a faff and takes forever to cook, but a mock alternative is easy to make and provides a decent substitute. The mock-Hollandaise recipe comes from kitchn, and comprises of 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, roughly a tablespoon of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter combined together, with a pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper. To top it all off, it was finished with slices of beetroot, fresh from the Lismaine Cottage garden.

As good as the eggs were, the cake was the main event. Towering above ordinary sandwich cakes, this Black Forest gateau consists of three layers, sandwiched with whipped cream and cherry jam, and topped with chocolate ganache. Not one for the diet conscious, but it’s Mother’s Day, so enjoy yourself!


The Black Forest Gateau! A firm favourite at Lismaine Cottage


Black Forest Gateau

Recipe adapted from BBC goodfood

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 175g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g bar dark chocolate
  • 100g bar milk chocolate
  • 300g plain flour
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200g buttermilk or yoghurt (we used buttermilk)

To assemble:

  • 425g can pitted cherries (or a tin of black cherry fruit filling)
  • 100g Morello cherry jam
  • 400ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


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    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of 3 x 20cm cake tins (you can go a few cm either way, as long as they’re roughly the same size.) Boil the kettle. Put the butter and 140 g chocolate broken into chunks (50/50 split of dark and milk) in a small pan and gently heat, stirring, until completely melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
    2. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, and mix with the sugar and pinch of salt. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk or yogurt together. Pour the melted chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, add 100ml boiling water and whizz briefly with an electric whisk or stand mixer with whisk attachment until the cake batter is lump free.
    3. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25 mins. To test they’re done, push in a skewer and check that it comes out clean. The cake pulling away from the edges of the tin is another good indicator that it’s done.
    4. Mix together the drained cherries/cherry filling and jam. Tip 100ml of the cream into a small pan and heat until just below simmering point. Chop the remaining chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl, pour over the hot cream and stir until melted. Set aside until cool.
    5. When the cakes are cool whisk the remaining cream and the icing sugar together until softly whipped. Assemble the cakes a layer at a time, placing the bottom layer on a plate and topping with half the cream, then half the cherry mixture. Repeat with the second layer, then place the third on top, and pour over the ganache.

If you want an extra cherry kick, add a few tablespoons of Kirsch to the cherry jam mixture, and sprinkle some of the liqueur over the cakes before assembly. All we had was Chambord, but it did the trick. The original recipe gave for less chocolate in the cake batter, and by misreading the recipe, I found out that it worked even better with over twice the chocolate. The more chocolate, the merrier in my book. Try out the recipe and let us know what you think. Leave a comment below if you’ve made something special for Mother’s Day. Thanks for reading, from all of us here at Lismaine Cottage.

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