I'm currently surrounded by birthdays (including my own last month), and baking cakes has never really been my star talent. Nevertheless, here's a stab at a very simple and easy black forest cake for my husband's birthday.
Bake a simple chocolate cake: a cup and a half of self-raising flour, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 300g butter, half a cup of caster sugar, 3 eggs and a spoon of vanilla essence. Bake in a round dish at 180C for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the dish once cooled. Carefully make two through-and-through horizontal cuts to slice the cake into three round slabs.
Get a jar of pitted cherries, about 600-700g. Remove 10-12 cherries for topping later. Take the rest of the cherries and a cup of the cherry juice they're in, and boil together in a saucepan with two fat spoons of sugar and a spoon of cornflour. If you're feeling quirky, add a spoon of spiced dark rum. Boil, then simmer, till the liquid is thick. Cool in the fridge.
Now, take 500g of thickened cream and beat with an electric beater till the cream starts to form peaks. On your cake base board, place the bottom slab of the chocolate cake. Dish out half of the cherry sauce on it. Cover with a layer of cream. Place the middle slab of chocolate cake and layer with the rest of the cherry sauce and another layer of cream. Place the top slab of the cake on top. Cover the cake with cream. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles or dark chocolate chips, or grated chocolate, or all three! Use the rest of the cream to put into a piping bag and make pretty stars, if you like! You're done.