Does anyone remember last year’s World Baking Day, where you had to bake something and photograph it somewhere crazy? I only found out about it the day before I baked the cake, so this year I was better prepared.
This year, there were 100 recipes on the World Baking Day website with #100 being the most complicated recipe and #1 being the simplest.
I – and 230 or so other people, according to the website – decided to try my hand at recipe #91, Miranda’s Chocolate Brownie Meringue Cake (I’ve posted the recipe here too). Berries and nuts in the same recipe!? How could I not try it!
For the brownie base:
200g good-quality dark chocolate
250g icing sugar
3 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature, beaten
110g plain flour
For the meringue topping:
4 medium free-range egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
200g caster sugar
100g chopped roasted hazelnuts
For the filling:
300ml whipping cream, well chilled
100g icing sugar
300g fresh raspberries
200g fresh raspberries
100g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
100g shelled unsalted pistachios
Prepare 2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins, greased and the bases lined with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
Roughly chop the chocolate, set 20g aside for later, and put the remaining 180g into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of steaming water and leave to melt gently, stirring frequently. Don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water. When melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool until needed.
Meanwhile, beat the soft margarine with the icing sugar until very light, creamy and fluffy; you can do this with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk or mixer.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in the flour.
When the mixture is very smooth, gradually beat in the cooled, melted chocolate.
When thoroughly combined, stir in the reserved chopped chocolate.
Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and spread it out evenly.
Bake for 8 minutes – the mixture will not be cooked but will have started to form a crust.
While the mixture is baking, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a bowl until stiff peaks form.
Whisk in the sugar in four batches, to make a smooth and glossy, thick meringue.
Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
Remove the cake tins from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
Divide the meringue equally between the two brownie-filled tins, and gently spread it over the still soft mixture to cover evenly.
Smooth and flatten the surface of the meringue in one of the tins and ‘peak’ the meringue in the other using a skewer or the tip of a knife – this will be the top of the cake.
Return the tins to the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, until the meringue is firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool before unmoulding.
To make the filling, whisk the cream until soft peaks form, then add the icing sugar and 200g of the raspberries.
Whisk briefly, to make a thick, pink cream. Fold in the remaining 100g of raspberries.
Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of each tin to loosen the cakes.
Turn out the flat-topped meringue cake on to a serving plate, meringue-side down.
Spread with the raspberry cream.
Top with the second cake, with the peaked meringue side uppermost.
Decorate with raspberries, hazelnuts and pistachios.
And this was my final result! I would definitely like to do it again. I made a few mistakes and it wasn’t perfect – but it tasted pretty damn good!
Note – whipped cream can be stabilized by adding a solution of plain, unflavored gelatin to the mixture.
To make this stabilizing agent, dissolving a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in 2 tablespoons of hot tap water and stir until dissolved.
Let the gelatin mixture cool while preparing the whipped cream. The cooled gelatin mixture can be added after the sugar and vanilla.
Once blended, cover the bowl with clear wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Whipped cream prepared in this way will keep for up to three or four days in the refrigerator.