Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day Chocolate Meringue Crunch Cake

I often credit my mother and grandmother for my love of food and baking but seldom do I mention the person who gave me my insatiable sweet tooth (and good genes to tolerate a sweet tooth!) My father is still the only person who can finish a slab of chocolate faster than I can and he has always been my unofficial taster; I judge how good a recipe is by how long the treats sit on the kitchen counter after baking! And as they say, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, this chocolate cake should get you there as quickly as my dad made this cake disappear when I baked it.  Jokes aside though, what I love most about this recipe is that you don’t need to make a frosting as the meringue is baked right on top of the cake. It’s light and crispy and not overly sweet or decadent - a superb way of cutting down the fat content of a cake. And it's also gluten-free! One of my absolute favourites! Happy Father’s Day!

Chocolate meringue crunch cake
(serves 8)

150ml butter
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
 6 eggs, separated
4 egg whites
360g dark chocolate, melted and cooled, plus 120g roughly chopped
1T vanilla extract
pinch salt
1T cornstarch
 1/4t cream of tartar
1 cup castor sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a 22cm spring form cake tin and sprinkle with flour. Cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in melted chocolate and vanilla. Set aside. Whip 6 egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form, stir 1/3 into the chocolate mixture and fold in the rest. Pour batter into tin and bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile mix hazelnuts, chopped chocolate and corn flour. Place remaining 4 egg whites in a bowl with cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually until stiff. Fold in hazelnut mixture. Remove cake from oven, spread meringue on top and return to oven, bake until meringue is lightly browned and crisp about 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving. Decorate with chocolate curls, if desired.

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