passover week 2023 - chocolate and hazelnut meringue cake

Here's the showstopper dessert for this year's Passover week, straight from the queen herself, Martha Stewart. As the cake recipe was already flourless, I just needed to make a few tweaks to the meringue topping to make it Passover friendly.

I will say a few things. Buy skinned hazelnuts and save yourself the bother of removing the skins. It's what I did and I was eternally grateful. I followed the recipe to the letter and ended up overwhipping the egg whites that lighten the cake batter, resulting in a grainy texture so I've changed the instructions a little to avoid that happening. Whilst it didn't affect the finished cake, it made it much harder incorporating the egg whites into the batter. No such trouble with the meringue topping however.

You can not cut a clean slice with this cake, no matter how careful you are, so accept this and move on. I took the cake over to a friend's house and she used a cheese knife when she served the cake and the cheese knife certainly did a better job than the regular knife I used at home.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. If you'd like to make a larger cake, just double all the ingredients and bake in a 23cm tin. The bake time should stay the same. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue Cake – makes a 17cm cake
1/2 cup hazelnuts (60g)
75g unsalted butter
75g light brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
160g dark chocolate, melted and cooled,
2 tps vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

60g roughly chopped dark chocolate
1½ tsp potato starch
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
½ cup (110g) caster sugar

To serve
150 ml (⅔ cup) cream, whisked to soft peaks

Preheat oven to 190°C, conventional. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm springform pan with baking paper. Set aside.

Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking tray. Toast until fragrant and skins start to crack, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; rub vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to take off skins. Let cool; roughly chop. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, and the vanilla; beat until combined. Set aside.

In a clean mixer bowl, combine 3 egg whites and salt; using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining beaten egg whites just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. I like to rotate the tin halfway through the bake.

Combine hazelnuts, chopped chocolate and potato starch in a small bowl, and set aside. Place remaining 2 egg whites and pinch salt in a clean mixer bowl; using a clean whisk attachment, beat on high speed until frothy. With mixer running, slowly add the sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Fold in hazelnut mixture.

Remove the cake from oven. Dot the meringue evenly over the cake and swirl the meringue on one cake to make a decorative top layer. Return to oven and bake until meringue is lightly browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let stand 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and release sides of pan. Let cool completely before serving.

The cake, despite the over beaten egg whites in the batter, was a triumph and the recipe sounds more fiddly to make than it really is. I've made a flourless chocolate cake before using olive oil and I'm positive you could do the same with this cake to make it dairy free. As the cake is plenty rich enough already, I chose not to serve the cake with cream.

See you all again tomorrow with another bake for Passover week 2023.

Bye for now,



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