For my sweet bake I decided to make the Chocolate Brownie Meringue with Raspberry Cream. The cake looked really stunning from the recipe photo and as it turned out, was as good in real life. This cake is a meringue plus base type cake similar to the Vanilla Meringue Cake with Cinnamon Sugared Almonds cake I've baked before. Unlike the other cake which is all baked at once, this cake is baked separately for the two layers. The layers sandwich a simple raspberry cream filling and is served with chopped nuts.
Baking the cake twice is more work but boy oh boy, this cake is amazing. The brownie base is still moist and contrasts with the meringue which has hazelnuts through it. Combined with the simple raspberry cream which helps to cut through the other layers, all the flavours and textures make for a great tasting, and looking, cake. Even the nuts on top add another flavour profile.
As usual, some tips to help you get the best bake:
* I underbaked the brownies a bit and then put the meringue over it for the second bake. This meant the brownies layer turned out really moist.
* As with any meringue, add in the sugar slowly and keep beating until the whites are very stiff.
* As it's such a simple cake, good chocolate really ensures the best outcome.
* Fresh raspberries are usually really expensive but if you can get your hands on some, it's preferred. Else use frozen raspberries.
* Roasting nuts can go terribly wrong if you don't watch it. Nuts burn really quickly so be careful. Getting the skin off hazelnuts is a pain but the flavour really adds significantly to this cake.
Chocolate Brownie Meringue with Raspberry Cream
For the brownie base
200g/7oz good-quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
200g/7oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g/8¾oz icing sugar
3 free-range eggs
110g/4oz plain flour
For the meringue topping
4 free-range egg whites
200g/7oz caster sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
100g/3½oz hazelnuts, roasted, chopped
For the filling
300ml/10½fl oz whipping cream
100g//3½oz icing sugar
handful hazelnuts, chopped
handful pistachios, chopped
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line two 23cm/9in sandwich tins
2) For the brownie base, melt 180g/6¼oz of the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan over simmering water. Chop the remaining chocolate and set aside.
3) Meanwhile, cream the butter and icing sugar together in a separate bowl until light, creamy and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
4) Gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is very smooth. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and fold it into the mixture, then fold in the chopped chocolate.
5) Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared sandwich tins and bake for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
6) Meanwhile for the meringue topping, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk the sugar until smooth and glossy, then fold in the chopped hazelnuts with a metal spoon.
7) Spoon the meringue topping onto the cooked brownie base. Use a palette knife to smooth the meringue mixture in one sandwich tin and use a skewer to make peaks in the meringue mixture in the other tin.
8) Return the sandwich tins to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until the meringue is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Carefully remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool completely on a wire rack.
9) For the filling, whip the cream and icing sugar together in a bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold in the raspberries.
10) To assemble, place the flat meringue brownie, meringue-side down onto a cake stand or large plate, spoon over the raspberry cream and top with the remaining cake, brownie-side down. Sprinkle over the chopped hazelnuts and pistachios.