I recently came across an amazing baking blog. Mostly cakes to be specific. You can find the link below and if you have any interest in cakes I highly suggest you go now…I’ll wait….see you in a few days! http://sweetapolita.com/ There are so many amazing cakes to try and recreate and I don’t even like cake that much! But this one here was too much. I couldn’t wait. Especially when some friends invited us to dinner and asked me to bring the dessert. Me, bring a dessert? I think I can manage that.
As usual I did make some changes so I will write the recipe as I did it and if you want the original, go to the link above. One thing I was forced to change was the use of marscapone cheese. I couldn’t find it in my local store and really didn’t want to drive all over the place searching for it. I can substitute of course. I used cream cheese mixed with some sour cream and heavy cream. (I’ll write it in the ingredients, never fear.)
So Christmas… it was quiet, drama free and filled with stuff I like. We didn’t go down to LA to be with my family for once. I thought I would be more sad but it turned out well. We spent Christmas Eve eating with some friends, turkey, stuffing etc and a to die for Upside Down Pineapple cake that I’m gonna have to remember to get the recipe for. But the actual day was spent watching Marlon Brando “On the Waterfront”, a Chinese Movie that was great, I’ll think of the name in a minute. I made a fantastic chicken/vegetable with dumplings soup that I’m worried I’ll never be able to recreate. I have to start writing the impromptu things down. Oh yes, the Chinese movie was called “The Stool Pigeon” and I give it two thumbs up. Totally story driven, set in modern Hong Kong and just what you want in a movie…unless you can’t stand violence cause all Chinese movies seem to have some violence these days. The Koreans are the Kings of violence though. Great bloody movies with interesting stories! But you might ask, how can I like violence when I love dessert so much? As if the two can’t go together? It’s some strange thing in my DNA that enjoys the sweet with the brutal.
So this cake isn’t even really a classic cake. There is no flour so if you have friends with gluten allergies this is perfect! It’s layers of merengue, cream and chocolate. Oh by the way, I halved the original recipe, next time I will do the full thing.
On to the merengue:
6 egg whites (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar aka casters’ sugar
a pinch of salt
You must beat the egg whites with the salt until the eggs get foamy, add the sugar slowly and beat until the mixture is glossy and stiff. This is a hard stage to judge, at least for me it was. I was very paranoid because I know it needs to be stiff peaks (but how stiff!?!) and I also know you can over beat and end up on the other side, somehow….I don’t know what this other side looks like and I don’t want to find out! Here is a picture of where I stopped. I think next time I will dare to go a bit further.
Meanwhile, the oven should be heated to 250 degrees. Place parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets and make 6 inch circles on the parchment. You don’t want the the pencil marks to actually touch the merengue so turn the paper over. Scoop out the merengue onto the sheets and spread inside the circles, it should be about 1 inch or more thick. I made three circles out of it. Her recipe said to cook for 2 1/2 hours?!?!! I did not do it. I cooked for 1 hours 20 minutes and then left them in the oven with the temp off and the door open to let them cool on their own.
Now you can make the creamy filling/topping. I used 1/2 package of cream cheese mixed with 2 Tb sour cream and 1/8 cup of heavy cream. Mix together well and you will have a good substitute for marscapone, or use real marscapone…it’s all up to you. In a separate bowl I creamed 1/2 cup (plus a dash or two more) of heavy cream with 1 1/2 Tb sugar and about 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste (which I recently purchased and like alot, its more liquid than paste and has vanilla seeds in it) Beat together until the cream is thick, fold in the cheese mixture.
Now we can work on the chocolate ganache. I feel so elegant when I say ganache. I always put an accent on it. A snobby accent. Say it… Ganache. If you say it too many times it sounds strange though. Put 9 ounces of chocolate in a bowl. I used a combination of chips and a big chunk I bought. If you use a big chunk, make sure you shave it into small meltable size chunks. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup heavy cream just to a boil. If you watch the top of the cream you will see funny things happen and you’ll be able to tell when it’s about to boil. Don’t let it completely come to a boil or it will boil over the top of the pan quickly. Danger. Danger of being burnt by hot cream. Not what you want to happen during a desert making experience. Pour the cream immediately into the bowl with chocolate and whisk until combined. If you have time wait for it to cool, if you don’t have much time, put it in the fridge to cool. You want it to be a bit thick and stay on the cream where you put it.
Now it’s time to construct your layers. I put some ganache on the plate so the merengue wouldn’t slide around as I had to take it in the car to my friends house. Layer merengue, cream and chocolate. I also put it in the fridge during dinner to make sure it set as my merengue layers looked a little lopsided.
This dessert is so amazing that it needs it’s own name. A name that embodies the crunchy, creamy, chocolatey, melt in your mouthness that is this dessert. Maybe “Born under a Bad Sign” or “Bad Moon Rising”? For some reason I feel like a blues song fits this dessert. Or! I’ve got it! Brutally Sweet!!! I am open to suggestions….
Now I have a German Chocolate cake to make for a birthday and then……diet!