I made this cake for Lobster's birthday and ohhhh my - this could be the "end all, be all" of all birthday cakes. This, eaten together with the popcorn ice cream I'll be posting about soon could be THE most quintissential dessert ever....EVERRRR!! I knew this was a hit when I took my first bite and a smile instantly gleamed across my face. I looked over at Lobster: he took his first bite, his eyes widened and his expression said it all. He said it's the best thing he ever ate - and he doesn't even really like sweets - well, until he met lil' ol' me...HAPPY BIRFDAY!!! :D I think these two desserts alone may have changed my life and hips forever!
If you are a chocolate lover, then this is the cake for you! The combination of textures and flavors of the cake, along with the sweet and salty ice cream is pure decadence!!! It is phenomenal!! (How many exclamation points can one use to voice their utter excitement?!) The cake is a mixture of a brownie and flourless chocolate cake - chewy on the outside and a bit molten-esque in the middle, topped with a crunchy meringue topping filled with even more chocolate and roasted salted almonds. The ice cream was the perfect pairing since the nuttyness of the popcorn echoed the smokiness of the roasted almonds to form one harmonious blend of luscious flavors. This is a very rich dessert that warranted lots of mmms, nums and yums with each and every morsel!
Allow me to walk you through the progression of photos...
Close up of the fudgey goodness. Can you see the melty yummy center calling your name?!
The perfect combo = food coma ^_^
If you have a special ocassion coming up, you should definitely make this. It's totally fancy shmancy and truly restaurant quality. Go all out and serve it with popcorn ice cream and your friends will swoon with utter glee - but don't be surprised if you suddenly have an influx of new best friends. Bon appetit!
BTW, I liked the cake best fresh out of the oven. After it had been refrigerated, the texture changed completely and it became very fudgey, dense and SUPER rich. If you want to change it back to its original state, just microwave a piece for 10-15 seconds and VOILA...utter bliss!
Chocolate and Almond Meringue Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake (scale recipe 2/3 for a 7" mini cake - this converter might help - just multiply everything by .667).
Recipe from Martha Stewart
For the cake:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
6 large whole eggs, separated at room temp*
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the meringue:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (1 cup)
1 cup roasted salted almonds (about 4 ounces), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large egg whites at room temp*
3/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-3-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth at medium speed, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the bottom and sides of your bowl if necessary. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt. Beat until combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and wash your mixing bowl thoroughly. (This part of the recipe can be made ahead of time and left at room temperature for a few hours - I left mine out for about 3 1/2 hours)
In a clean mixer bowl fitted the whisk attachment, beat the 6 egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites and pour batter into prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes.
While cake base is baking, prepare the meringue. Combine the chopped chocolate, nuts and cornstarch in a small bowl, and set aside. Place remaining 4 egg whites in a clean mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until frothy. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Fold in almond mixture with as little strokes as possible.
After 25 minutes, remove cake from oven. Using a large offset spatula, quickly spread meringue mixture on top of cake using as little strokes as possible not to deflate the meringue, and return to oven. Bake until meringue is lightly browned and crisp, 25 to 35 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, about 30 minutes, before slicing and serving. The meringue will deflate as it sits - don't worry it's supposed to do that :)
*I left my eggs out at room temperature for about 9 hours