Black Forest Brownie Stacks

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The classic flavour combo of dark chocolate, brandy soaked cherries and cream come together for these luscious Black Forest brownie stacks. Super simple to make and with a secret ingredient of low fat mayonnaise, they’re naughty but nice!

Crumbs and Corkscrews - Black Forest Brownie Stack

There are times I can be completely and utterly dense. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had that “Errr…” moment when the blindly obvious really doesn’t make sense or come to mind.

I remember sitting in one of my GCSE exams, many years ago, thinking how on earth you spelt “the”. Yes, how to spell “the”, blindly obvious, simple and oh so basic, but I remember sitting there for what seemed like 5 minutes trying to work it out.

Please tell me I’m not the only one, please!

The same thing happened when I started seeing “BFG” on dessert menus.

Now for anyone who didn’t avidly read Roald Dahl as a child, and an adult, this probably hasn’t happened to you. Whilst for 99.9% of the population would say “Oh yes, Black Forest gateaux” for me it was “Yippee, someone’s created a Road Dahl BFG themed dessert. Cool!” Oh dear… 

It really did take placing a BFG in front of me to realise that we were talking about Black Forest gateaux; the cake dessert of vivid childhood memories.

There is a little special place in my heart of Saturday morning shopping in Coventry City centre, with my Mum and visiting Druckers for a cake stop.

Going through the little bakery counter and heading upstairs to the dimly light café with wicker based chairs and little pots of sugar. Coffee and a juice would always be accompanied by a slice of black forest gateaux with the end covered in chocolate sprinkles and a squirt of cream topped with a cherry. 

Isn’t it amazing the little details you remember from your childhood?

Crumbs and Corkscrews - Black Forest Brownie Stack

Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page

So, when we got home from our Christmas holiday and I got stuck back into baking, I had a quick trawl through what was left in the cupboards and fridge. I had had a plan to make marshmallows with brandy soaked cherries but it never happened.

However, I had made a start and set the cherries soaking and popped them in the fridge for safe keeping. Lots of things came to mind to use them with, and I had toyed with clafoutis, but I hadn’t enough cherries.

With the health kick being back in full swing after Christmas indulgence, something full of butter and sugar really wasn’t on the cards either. Then I remembered a conversation I’d had at a Weight Watchers meeting and the lady had told me she’d been using low-fat mayonnaise as a fat substitute in her baking… Get in!

Crumbs and Corkscrews - Black Forest Brownie Stack

I’ve made brownies many, many times before and I have a tried and trusted recipe that I’ve honed over the years, but it is on the buttery side and I thought it would be nice to create something a little healthier.

After all, a decent brownie is quite rich and you don’t really need a massive piece to get the taste and the chocolate hit you’re looking for. So I had a scour of the wonderful world of the internet for baking with mayonnaise.

My biggest concern about switching the butter for mayonnaise was the taste. I was a little worried that it would taint the chocolate flavour, so I employed a little magic that I use with my chocolate cake; add a shot of fresh coffee.

The coffee enriches the chocolate flavour and helps to get rid of any tang of mayonnaise. I also substituted some of the caster sugar I would normally use, with some dark muscovado sugar, again to enrich the flavour and give the brownies the nice dark brown colour of the black forest gateaux I remember.

Crumbs and Corkscrews - Black Forest Brownie Stack

Looking for more recipe inspiration?

Then why not check out these other awesome brownie and blondie ideas.

Crumbs and Corkscrews - Black Forest Brownie Stack

Black Forest Brownie Stacks

Serves : 10 servings
Dark chocolate, brandy soaked cherries and low fat mayonnaise combine for these luscious lower fat Black Forest brownie stacks.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 85 g 70% Cocoa Chocolate
  • 85 g Plain flour
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 50 g Dark muscovado sugar
  • 100 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • ½ Instant coffee granules
  • 2 tbsp Buttermilk or 2 tbsp milk soured with 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 Eggs medium
  • 100 g Low fat mayonnaise
  • 100 g Dried cherries soaked in 2 tbsp Brandy or Kirsch
  • 50 ml Double cream whipped
  • Black cherry compote or jam
  • Fresh cherries


For the Brownies

  • Preheat oven to 180C or 160C (fan) and line a brownie tray or 8 inch square cake tin, with baking parchment.
  • Add the chocolate to a large heatproof bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until all the chocolate has melted. Alternatively melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift the plain flour, cocoa powder and bicarb of soda.
  • Add the muscovado and caster sugars to the melted chocolate and stir through.
  • Add the vanilla extract, coffee granules, buttermilk or soured milk to the melted chocolate and whisk together.
  • In a small bowl gently whisk the egg, then mix in the mayonnaise.
  • Add the egg and mayonnaise mixture to the melted chocolate mixture, and stir until well combined and is silky in texture.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture onto the plain flour mixture and fold in until well combined.
  • Fold in soaked cherries.
  • Pour brownie mixture into lined baking tin and spread evenly with a palette knife.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a crumb. This should be moist but not sticky.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting. Once cooled the brownies can be sliced if not being assembled.

Assembling the Stacks

  • Using a 6cm diameter, round pastry cutter, cut out 12 brownie rounds.
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm french nozzle with the whipped double cream. The cream should be whipped so that it is stiff enough to be piped. Add a little vanilla extract and caster sugar to the cream when whipping to sweeten.
  • Pipe a ring of small stars around the top of half the brownie rounds.
  • Fill the centre of the piped ring with a teaspoon of black cherry compote or jam.
  • Place another brownie round on top of the piped cream and gently press down.
  • Pipe a second ring of cream stars around the top and fill with another teaspoon of compote or jam.
  • Pipe a large cream star on top of the compote and top with a fresh cherry.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar.


Don’t be put off by the additional of the mayonnaise instead of butter, you really can’t tell the difference, and it brings out the flavours of the chocolate and cherries.
These brownies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or can be frozen for 1 month. When assembled, keep the stacks refrigerated and eat within 1 day.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 234kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 101mgFiber: 3gSugar: 24g


The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.

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Hi I’m Lou

… Dessert obsessed baker, busy 9-to-5er, and the recipe developer and photographer behind Crumbs and Corkscrews. Based in the UK, I live in the beautiful Cotswolds. I’m so glad to have you here with me and I can’t wait for you to start trying some of my recipes.

18 thoughts on “Black Forest Brownie Stacks”

  1. Cute and yummy! Thanks so much for joining in with #recipeoftheweek. I’ve Pinned and Tweeted this post and there’s a fresh linky live now for this week. Hope you can join in! x

  2. Haha, to think BFG desserts isn’t denseness, it’s pure creativity! You’re onto something there. And the brownie stacks are cute as a button!

    • Knew you’d think the same way Bryt 🙂 Have you created anything BFG related yet? I’m going to have to re-read now and think of something to create x

  3. I totally would have thought of Roald Dahl, too! But this looks so gorgeous–and I’m totally intrigued by the mayo. I bet it makes it super delicious 🙂

    • Hehe! Glad I’m not the only one 🙂 I was really unsure about the mayo, but it certainly works; definitely will be trying mayo instead of butter in other recipes.

  4. So sophisticated and elegant, a real grown up treat.

    • Thank you Julie. They’re definitely a grown up treat but without too much of the naughtiness. I’ve convinced myself that as they’re lower fat I can have more than one 😉

  5. I have just discovered your blog – what a treat! #recipeoftheweek xx

    • Thank you Lucy 🙂 x

  6. Love the food styling, so pretty-wow!

  7. They look absolutely lovely. I feel like they would really bring out the taste of the cherry. And you’ve convinced me they’re healthy too! Dropping in from #recipeoftheweek.

    • Thank you 🙂 The flavours certainly compliment the cherry and the bonus is that they’re healthy(er) than regular brownies. The mayonnaise really works!

  8. they look delish!

    • Thank you, they certainly were delicious 🙂

  9. Oh how decadent do these look.

    • Thank you 🙂 I love that they look decadent but that they’re secretly low fat!

  10. I love that you tagged BFG on this post–I just had a reunion with Roald Dahl two weeks ago for my children’s literature exam reading list (yes, that exists! Believe in it, human beans), so this has been a total nostalgia-reviving post for me. Loving the brownie stacks, too; I believe Dahl would totally approve.

    • Oh My!! I love children’s literature, and would definitely quite happily sit an exam in it. I love Dahl and love reading my favourite children’s books, even now :).

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