Wednesday 12 January 2011

Chocolate Brownie Meringue Cake

Probably the longest and most complicated cake I made made in a while. To me, it seemed the person writing the recipe couldn’t really make up their mind: do I like brownies…or cake…or, meringue! Or fruit cream? And…nuts, of the hazel or pistachio variety? Hm.

I’ll add them all!

So off I plodded through the recipe, one hazelnut at a time.
Literally – I only had shell in hazelnuts, the recipe needed 50 or so, roasted, skin off. The nutcracker is now my best friend.

30 minutes later and many stubborn hazelnut shells painstakingly removed…nope, no, the nutcracker is definitely my worst enemy.

However, the electric whisk is, in my opinion, the Best Invention Ever. This is because it helps you make meringue, which is the Best Confection Ever. Also the whisk always gets bits of mix stuck to which is…the Best Snack Selection Ever?

Sugar Collection Ever?

Hypertension giver?

I ran out of rhymes.

Here they are coming out of the oven! You may notice that there is a small chunk missing out of the left one. That, was to test if it was cooked. And the only way to test is obviously through tasting!

IMG_0903 edit
So, I don’t think I’ve actually described how I made the cake. First, I made the gooey chocolate brownie cake (can those words ever sound bad?), partially baked it, and spread the meringue on top, and baked it some more (hey, it’s more complicated than it sounds). The meringue was supposed to have hazelnuts in it, but I forgot (and after all that nutcracker malarkey as well. Stupid nutcracker. Stupid hazelnuts).

Then I sandwiched them together with raspberry whipped cream (did you know there are over 200 species of raspberries? Do they mean, like, Tesco’s-species, the Sainsbury’s-species, and for those special harvests, the premium Waitrose-species?).

Also, an ancient French myth about raspberries tells the story story about how raspberries used to be only white in colour, but a nymph named Ida was taking care of her sister who had lost her voice and couldn’t sing . She then picked some raspberries to soothe her throat (they obviously hadn’t heard of Lemsip), but scratched herself on a thorn and started to bleed.  Her blood dripped on the white raspberries, instantly turning them red and they have been red ever since.

Bring on nymph-blood raspberries!


IMG_0930 edit
This cake was actually made for a ‘New Neighbour Party’ that we were holding (we bought the house 14 months ago), and I was afraid that everyone would think that it was more of a display cake and therefore wouldn’t eat it, which explains the sign. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to breathe ‘READ MY BLOG!’ down their necks but I was having trouble telling them to ‘read my sign!’. Essentially that sign is a eleven word summary of this blog post, so I think I’d lost that battle there.

Lesson learned today: If there are over 200 species of raspberries, there must be a hell of a lot of supermarkets out there that I haven't heard of.

Chocolate Brownie Meringue Cake
Recipe from The Great British Bake Off

Cuts into about 16 slices
This took me 6 hours to make. Beat that.

For the brownie base

200g/7oz good-quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
200g/7oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g/8¾oz icing sugar
3 free-range eggs
110g/4oz plain flour
For the meringue topping

4 free-range egg whites
200g/7oz caster sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
100g/3½oz hazelnuts, roasted, chopped
For the filling

300ml/10½fl oz whipping cream
100g//3½oz icing sugar
200g/7oz raspberries
To serve

handful hazelnuts, chopped
handful pistachios, chopped
Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line two 23cm/9in sandwich tins
For the brownie base, melt 180g/6¼oz of the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan over simmering water. Chop the remaining chocolate and set aside.
Meanwhile, cream the butter and icing sugar together in a separate bowl until light, creamy and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
Gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is very smooth. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and fold it into the mixture, then fold in the chopped chocolate.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared sandwich tins and bake for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
Meanwhile for the meringue topping, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk the sugar until smooth and glossy, then fold in the chopped hazelnuts with a metal spoon.
Spoon the meringue topping onto the cooked brownie base. Use a palette knife to smooth the meringue mixture in one sandwich tin and use a skewer to make peaks in the meringue mixture in the other tin.
Return the sandwich tins to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until the meringue is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Carefully remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the filling, whip the cream and icing sugar together in a bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold in the raspberries.
To assemble, place the flat meringue brownie, meringue-side down onto a cake stand or large plate, spoon over the raspberry cream and top with the remaining cake, brownie-side down. Sprinkle over the chopped hazelnuts and pistachios.


Like it? Love it? Hate it? Rate it! I'd love to hear what you think :)