Coffee, dark chocolate and hazelnut meringue layer cake
half cup flour
half teaspoon baking powder
3.75ml bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
60ml butter, at room temperature
80g dark chocolate, chopped
125ml sour cream
2 large eggs
90ml castor sugar
30ml espresso or strong instant coffee, cooled
280g Hazelnuts, blanched
130g castor sugar
7.5ml cake flour
4 large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
90ml Castor sugar
90ml hot water
45ml espresso or strong instant coffee
100g castor sugar
4 large egg yolks, slightly warmed in bain marie (if you don't have a bain marie, put in bowl and put that bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water)
45ml espresso or strong instant coffee
200g dark chocolate
200ml fresh cream
Prep. Time → 60-90 min
Cook Time → 160-180 min
1. preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line sides of 2x18cm spring form cake tins
sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and set aside
3. Place the butter, chocolate and sour cream in the bowl of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water and stir until smooth.
4. Whisk eggs and sugar together by hand in a large bowl until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk gently. Add coffee and mix. Fold in flour mixture into the chocolate mixture with a spatula. If it becomes lumpy whisk again briefly.
5. Pour the mixture into the baking tins and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 min. Allow cake to cool before turning out.
Place hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake until a nice brown colour, about 10min. Remove and allow to cool
7. Turn oven down to 130 degrees Celsius. Set aside 100g hazelnuts for later use.
8. Place remaining nuts, 60ml of the sugar and flour in a food processor and process until fine
9. Line a baking tray with baking paper - this is just to provide a mold for the meringue
10. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high until stiff peaks are formed, about 4min. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and continue to beat for a minute longer after the sugar has been added
11. Gently fold the nut mixture into the egg whites. Place half the mixture in each cake ring and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake until the meringue is crisp and light brown, about 90min. Remove and allow to cool completely. Gently remove cake rings with a sharp knife and peel baking paper off, set aside.
12. Coffee syrup:
place sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add coffee and set aside.
Place sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat with a candy thermometer if you have one, otherwise use a bowl of water alongside to check the stage.
14. Place egg yolks in a stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat on high until pale and yolks have increased in volume. Eggs should be done when the sugar reaches the softball stage. Watch sugar mixture closely while eggs are beating. Brush sides down with pastry brush to prevent crystallization on sides of pan. Sugar mixture must keep the softball stage of 110 degrees Celsius. Keep beating eggs and pour sugar mixture into egg mixture without it touching sides of bowl. Keep beating till it reaches room temperature.
15. Reduce speed to medium and add butter a little at a time, beating after each addition, about 10min. Continue beating while slowly adding espresso.
Put chocolate into a heatproof bowl, heat cream in saucepan over medium heat until simmering then pour over the chocolate and let stand for 10min. Stir to ensure all the chocolate has melted. Whisk with a hand beater until thick and creamy. Allow to stand for a while until it thickens and becomes the same consistency as the buttercream.
17. Place cake on a serving plate and drizzle with half the syrup. Cover with layer of coffee buttercream and sprinkle with some of the reserved hazelnuts, chopped. Top with a layer of the meringue and more buttercream. Repeat layers, pour the ganache over the top and decorate with a few whole hazelnuts and chocolate decorations as desired.
Author Cassandra Bruce-Brand, found in Food and Home Entertainment December 2011
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