Chocolate Meringue Cake:
3 large (60 grams) egg yolks
1/2 cup (45 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
3 large (90 grams) egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 - 2 tablespoons (15 - 30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 pound (454 grams) fresh berries
Chocolate Meringue Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) and line the bottoms of two - 8 x 1 1/2 inches (20 x 3.75 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
In a large bowl sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Using an electric mixer, or hand mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Set aside while you make the meringue layer.
Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Evenly divide the meringue and place on top of the cake batter in the two pans, gently smoothing the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The meringue layers will have turned a light brown and will be crisp to the touch but soft inside. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, gently remove from pans.
Filling: Shortly before serving whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, toss the berries with a little sugar, if desired.
Assemble: If using strawberries, cut them into bite sized pieces. Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving platter. Spread the whipping cream onto the cake and top with the berries. Gently place the second cake layer, cake side down so the meringue layer is facing up, onto the first layer. Dust with confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar. If not eating immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator until serving time. The assembled cake will hold in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Serves 8 - 10.
After making this Meringue Cake, I just had to make a chocolate version. As you can see from the picture, a Chocolate Meringue Cake has two layers, with each layer combining a chocolate butter cake with a sweet meringue. What makes this cake so unusual is that the chocolate cake and the meringue are baked in the same pan at the same time. The finishing touch is to sandwich the two layers together with softly whipped cream and seasonal berries.
A Chocolate Meringue Cake gets its lovely chocolate color and flavor from Dutch processed cocoa powder. Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. There are a few things I should mention when making this cake. One is that the chocolate cake batter only barely covers the bottoms of the two cake pans. This is because we only want a thin layer of cake. The cake batter is then covered with a sweet meringue which will rise as it bakes with a thin crust which is a little crispy. However, as the cake cools, the meringue will deflate and the crust will soften. Although you can bake the cake a day ahead, do not fill the cake with the whipped cream and berries until shortly before serving.