By Tami Klein
Posted in culinary
24 cm diameter cake pan
This an amazing cake, beautiful, festive and noble. It is so delicious, soft and moist that you will want to make for many celebratory occasions. The cake base is rich and chocolatey; in order to achieve a perfect result, use fine dark chocolate, with at least 60% cocoa solids, and sift the ground almonds in a fine sieve so that only the finest particles are used in the cake.
The cake is baked in two stages; First, the chocolate base is half-baked. It is then removed from the oven, the meringue is spread on top of it, free-form, and then the two layers are baked together in the final stage.
Note for people whipping egg whites for the first time: separate the eggs while they are still cold, making sure that not even a drop of yolk is mixed with the whites, because fat in yolk will prevent the whites from whipping properly. Then, beat the whites when they are at room temperature. It is also important to use a clean, dry bowl.
The amount of sugar in the meringue is precisely the amount needed for it to remain stable. Therefore, before you ask, I recommend not reducing the amount of sugar, because that would increase the risk of the meringue falling. You can use white, cane, coconut or demerara sugar.
When removed from the oven, the meringue will be golden, crunchy and airy. I promise (!) this cake will steal the show at any meal.
For the chocolate layer:
250 grams of fine dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids)
250 grams of butter
100 grams (1/2 cup) cane sugar or white
3 eggs (large)
4 egg yolks (the whites will be used for meringue)
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Cognac or port wine
1/4 cup (60 ml) sweet cream
4 tablespoons (30 g) almond flour, sifted
3 tablespoons (25 g) quality cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150 g) cane or white sugar
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (60 g) sliced almonds (toasted in a dry frying pan) until golden
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted (important!)
For sprinkling: 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (not toasted)
- Grease a 24 cm diameter round pan with butter and line the bottom with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170°
- Melt chocolate, butter and sugar over boiling water, mixing to obtain a smooth and shiny mixture. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 3 eggs, 4 egg yolks and salt for 10 minutes, until a fluffy and light mixture is obtained. Reduce the speed of the mixer and gently add the chilled chocolate mixture, mix lightly. Add cognac and sweet cream, mix lightly.
- Sift the almond flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl. Stir the mixture into a batter, stirring just a bit. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the cake is in the oven, toast the almonds and prepare the meringue: Wash the mixing bowl well so that no fat remains, and dry it.
- Beat the egg whites on a medium speed with a pinch of salt, until a soft foam is obtained. Increase the speed and add the sugar in a slow drizzle while whisking until you get a hard and shiny foam. Add vinegar and beat for another 30 seconds. Fold in the toasted almonds and finally the cocoa, in two or three strokes, so that cocoa streaks remain.
- Stack mounds of meringue unevenly on the warm cake (try to keep the meringue slightly away from the sides of the pan). Don’t smooth the top of the meringue, leave the surface looking wild. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of almonds, return to the oven (170°C) and bake for 30 minutes, until the meringue is browned. Cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Before removing the knife pass a between the sides of the pan and the cake. Serve cold or at room temperature. Store up to three days in the refrigerator. If you prepare the cake the evening before serving, store it in a cool, shady place.