Nomtastic! Chocolate/Nutella/Blackberry Meringue Cake

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Yes, this is as good and as decadent as it sounds. I couldn't decide what tasty bite to make the other day so I decided to throw some of my favorite dessert components into a harmonious amalgam of sweet sweet goodness. And it wasn't actually that difficult. First off,  I used a chocolate cake mix. Foodies may demonize them, but honestly, if you doctor them up, they taste pretty damn good and can't be beat for moistness. It's hard to get a from-scratch cake to to consistently work out as well as a trusty, faithful cake mix. Use whatever recipe you like, just make (3)9 inch layers.
I use the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor, http://www.cakemixdoctor.com/. I learned how to bake with her cookbooks, and they have always worked out great for me. They give me the time to focus my energy on whipping up mad scientist concoctions (like topping the cake with browned chocolate meringue) instead of slaving over the cake foundation.
So, get your cake batter of choice prepared and then evenly distribute the batter between the 3 pans.
Bake them, let them cool, and then you need to make the chocolate meringue for topping.

Chocolate Meringue

1/4 cup  powdered egg whites
3/4 cup  warm water
1/4 teaspoon  cream of tartar
1 cup  sugar
2 Teaspoons cocoa powder
Do yourself a favor, and save some time and hassle by using meringue powder. No egg cracking, no worrying over getting the teeniest bit of egg yolk into the egg whites, consequently deflating them dead in their tracks. Just beat the powdered whites and water in a stand mixer until combined, add the cream of tartar, and mix until foamy. Then slowly, a bit at a time, add the sugar and cocoa powder (use a variety with low fat content, like Hershey's Special Dark, just to be on the safe side.) Beat until glossy, stiff peaks form.

 I actually should have beaten my meringue just a tad more, you want to be able to get nice decorative peaks on the cake, nooks and crannies for the oven to get all golden brown and carmelized. You can tell the peaks on my cake were a bit wimpy and melted a bit before they could solidify.  But Whatever. What matters is how it tastes, in Liber Vix land.
So all you have to do now is assemble. Top one layer with a thin (or thick!) coating of Nutella.
Top with the second layer, and add some blackberry jam (or jam of your choosing. I just like a little sweet/tart to cut through all the rich chocolate). The top with the final layer, and cover with the meringue, spreading evenly as possible on the sides and adding little flips and peaks on the top. Then bake for 5-7 minutes at 450 degrees F.  Keep an eye on it, because it can go from browned to burned rather quickly. And then....
Let cool, or...don't. I didn't.

 




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Please leave me comments if anything strikes your fancy or if you have any helpful suggestions. Remember, I'm no expert and am just sharing my truth. Hopefully you will find something useful to take with you!

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