Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake Top

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake 2

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

So it was my boyfriend's sister's birthday recently and I decided to bake her a cake :) The cake itself is my favourite recipe for a brownie-like cake, which is super moist and chocolatey, which amazing crunch from chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. I used it in another of my showstopper bakes - here -, but I'll post the recipe below anyway :)
I filled the cake with a homemade cherry compote, and frosted the cake with a cherry Swiss meringue buttercream. To decorate I made french meringues :D
Elaborate but worth the effort.

Makes one 20cm cake


For the cake:
  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 200g (1 & 1/3 cups) dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids)
  • 300g (1 & 1/2 cups) granulated sugar (or brown sugar for an extra caramel note)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 100g (2/3 cup) dark chocolate chips
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g (1 & 2/3 cups) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts, and 1 tbsp for decoration
  • 30g (4 tbsp) cocoa powder
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g (1 & 2/3 cups) brown sugar
  • 400g (1 & 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1-2cm cubes (ROOM TEMPERATURE)
For the French meringue:

  • 75g (3/4 cup) icing sugar
  • 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites

For the cherry compote:

  • 300g (2 & 1/3 cups) frozen pitted black cherries, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

To finish:


To make the cake layers:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/ 355F/ gas mark 4 . Grease two 20cm springform or loose bottomed round cake tins, then tip in about 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. Tap the tin to evenly distribute the cocoa.

2. In a saucepan melt together the 200g dark chocolate (broken into chunks), unsalted butter (chopped into chunks), sugar and water. Once all of the butter and chocolate have melted set aside to cool for a few minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl pour in the chocolate/butter melted mixture. Add the chocolate chips, eggs, flour, chopped nuts and cocoa powder, and beat until smooth.

4. Pour into the prepared cake tins (get them as even as possible), and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top of the cake feels springy and the top feels crisp. If you shake the tin, there should be a small amount of wobble in the very centre of the cake - this will make the layers moist and delicious.

5. Leave the cakes in their tins to cool for 10 minutes, then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Level the top of the cakes using a serrated knife (eat the cut offs if you want a chef's perk!).

To make the cherry compote:

1. Pour the cherries (with any juice that emerged when defrosting), sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan and heat until simmering.

2. Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly and the juice has reduced down to a half of it's original volume. Leave to cool.

3. Blend in a food processor and set aside.

To make the buttercream:

1. Thoroughly clean a glass or ceramic bowl, as well as the whisk beaters you will use for the buttercream. The best way to do this is to lightly dampen kitchen towel with lemon/lime juice and wipe this over the inside of your bowl/beaters.

1. Place a few tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, and get a heatable mixing bowl (i.e. not a plastic one!) that can fit on the saucepan without touching the water. Into this bowl add the egg whites and brown sugar.

2. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and place the mixing bowl on top. Use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites/brown sugar, until the mixture reaches 71c/ 160F. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat, and tip the egg white/sugar mixture into another large mixing bowl (this will help the meringue to cool a bit faster). 

4. Use an electric whisk to beat the meringue until it is glossy and a stiff peak of meringue forms when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (i.e. a peak falls where the tip stays upright and doesn't fall to either side).

5. Whilst whisking, add the butter chunk by chunk. Don't be tempted to add more than a chunk at a time, as the mixture may curdle. Keep beating, until all of the butter has been added and the buttercream is smooth.

6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the cherry compote (make sure it's at room temperature), and gently fold in - if you want a ripple effect whisk very briefly. Set aside.

To make the French meringue:

1. Thoroughly clean a glass or ceramic bowl, as well as the whisk beaters you will use for the buttercream. The best way to do this is to lightly dampen kitchen towel with lemon/lime juice and wipe this over the inside of your bowl/beaters.

2. Preheat the oven to 120c (100c fan)/ 250F/ gas mark 1/2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Mix the icing sugar and caster sugar together briefly.

4. Whisk the egg whites until they are very foamy (like shaving foam), and stand to a peak when the beaters are lifted from the mixture. I find a hand-held electric whisk is the best equipment for this.

5. Whilst whisking, add the sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time, waiting for 5-10 seconds between each addition. Keep whisking until the mixture is white, glossy and stands to a firm peak when the beaters are lifted from the mixture.

6. Divide the mixture into two. Dip a toothpick/skewer into concentrated purple/pink food colouring, and use this to colour one of the two mixtures. Whisk until evenly distributed.

7.  Fit a piping bag with a 1M piping nozzle (a large open star one). Fill one side of the bag with the white meringue, and the other side with the purple and cut the end off the tip of the bag. Holding the bag vertically over a tray, pipe directly downwards then bring the bag quickly upwards to form a peak. This makes meringue kisses. I also played with making other shapes, like letters, hearts, and numbers :)

8.  Bake the meringues in the oven for around 1 hour, or until a meringue can be lifted from the paper and sounds hollow when lightly tapped on the base. Leave in the oven to cool. Carefully lift the meringues off of the paper - they are very fragile as seen by some of my bigger meringues having cracks (they definitely look homemade though!).

To assemble the cake:

1. Place a spoonful of the buttercream onto the surface of a cake tin/presentation dish. Place the first cake layer onto this buttercream - this prevents the cake from slipping.

2. Spoon a quarter of the buttercream into a piping bag, and cut the end off the bag 1cm from the end.

3. Pipe around the edge of the cake layer. Fill the middle with any reserved cherry conserve, and evenly spread (don't blend with the outer ring of buttercream.

4. Top with the buttercream left in the piping bag, piping concentric circles over the jam. Lightly smooth over, and top with the other layer of cake.

5. Press the cake down lightly. Place a large spoonful of buttercream onto the top of the cake, and use a palette knife to smooth the buttercream over the top and then sides of the cake. This doesn't need to be neat or thick - it acts as a "crumb coat" so that no crumbs will show through when you spread your final layer of buttercream on.

6. Once the cake is covered in the thin "crumb layer" of buttercream, place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, until the buttercream is no longer sticky to the touch.

7. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate finely and melt in a microwave using full power bursts of 20-30 seconds, stirring well between  each addition. Once melted, pour into a piping bag and cut 2mm off the tip.

8. Pipe your desired shapes onto a sheet of greaseproof paper or cling-film. Chill for 15-20 minutes, until set.

9. Once the crumb coat has set, take the cake out of the fridge, and cover the tops and sides of the cake with the remainder of the buttercream. The smoothest way to do this is to use a long palette knife or a metal dough scraper. Once the buttercream is on the top and sides of the cake, dip the knife/scraper in hot water and wipe clean. Then, whilst still warm, run the knife along the side of the cake (holding it vertically). Repeat with the top of the cake (this time holding the knife horizontally).

10. I had some buttercream left so filled a piping bag (fitted with the 1M nozzle used earlier), and piped "kisses" around the top of the cake (in the same way the French meringue was piped).

11. Top the cake with the French meringue, tuxedo strawberries, reserved chopped walnuts and chocolate decorations.

12. Enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

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  1. What an amazing cake! I'd love it and your boyfriend's sister is very lucky I'm sure she loved it!

  2. Wow, that really is a showstopper! Lots of steps but explain them very clearly. I'm going to go rummage in my pantry now as you've made me want cake! #familyfunlinky

  3. How pretty is that cake! and I bet it tasted amazing - such a good combination the chocolate & cherry!

  4. Wowsers that looks a serious cake with serious flavours.Fabulous.

  5. this looks amazing - so pretty and such a lot of work. I bet you were very popular . I love cherry and chocolate too
    thank you for linking up to #BakeoftheWeek x

  6. Wow! What a stunning cake, a true showstopper! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

  7. Wow, how lucky is your boy friend's sister to recieve such a show stopper of a cake! #CookBlogShare
    Angela x

  8. Goodness me that is an impressive cake. It takes some doing by the sound of it but totally worth it no doubt! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun x