Mocha meringue cake

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PREP TIME

60 min

Makes

16 wedges

* PLUS Cooking time: 5 minutes, Refrigeration Time: 180 minutes, Standing Time: 720 minutes, Baking Time: 120 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups egg whites , about 10 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 340 g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , about 12 squares
  • 1 cup 35% cream
  • 1/2 cup butter , at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts , pecans, or walnuts (see tip below)

Instructions

  • Arrange oven racks so one is just below oven centre and one just above. Preheat oven to 275F (140C). Line two large flat baking sheets with parchment paper, ungreased foil or brown paper. Using bottom of an 8-inch (20-cm) cake pan as a guide, lightly trace circles on paper or foil, 2 to a baking sheet, for a total of 4 circles. (Or alternately, meringues can be baked individually on inverted bottoms of cake pans. Turn over four 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans and cover outside bottoms with ungreased foil.) Sift icing sugar with a flour sifter or by pushing through a sieve with back of a large spoon into a bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat room-temperature egg whites with coffee granules, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Continue beating at high speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted, from 2 to 3 minutes. Continuing to beat at high speed, sprinkle in brown sugar. Continue beating until fairly stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. Using a wide spatula, gently fold in icing sugar just until distributed. Some lighter streaks may still be visible.
  • Dividing equally, evenly spread egg white mixture on traced circles or pan bottoms. Slightly swirl with back of a spoon, though it does not have to be smooth. Bake in 275F (140C) oven until firm on outside, about 2 hours. Then turn off heat and leave in oven overnight with door closed.
  • When ready to make truffle filling and assemble cake, coarsely chop chocolate and place in a saucepan. Add whipping cream. Cook, stirring frequently over medium heat until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Then beat butter in a large mixing bowl until very creamy. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla. Continue beating mixture until very soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Then peel cooled meringues from paper or foil. Place one meringue on cake stand or plate. Evenly spread with about a quarter of filling. Then sprinkle with about a quarter of chopped nuts. Repeat with remaining layers, stacking one on top of another. Do not ice sides of cake. Refrigerate, uncovered, until filling has set, about 3 hours. Using a large knife repeatedly rinsed under hot running water, slice into very thin wedges. Once chocolate filling has set, cake can be covered with plastic wrap. Cake will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days. However, meringues will soften with time.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 412,
  • Protein
  • 5.3 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 38.5 g,
  • Fat
  • 28.9 g,
  • Fibre
  • 2.4 g,
  • Sodium
  • 103 mg.

Crispy meringue cakes are best made during the winter months when household humidity is low, as meringue quickly absorbs moisture from humid air and become sticky.

Tip

Try to buy nuts where you can sample them before purchasing. A fresh nut has a light pleasant nutty smell and a full nutty taste without any bitterness. Shelled nuts kept at room temperature quickly become rancid. They’ll keep well, refrigerated, for up to 3 months or frozen for up to 1 year