This recipe was featured on the December 2009 cover of Bon Appetit magazine. Looked both beautiful and festive and I love cakes with layers of meringue so this one was calling my name for our holiday dessert.
Special thanks to Abby DodgeEspresso Chocolate cake featured here previously…small world!
What’s great about this recipe is that with slight modifications it doesn’t have to be limited to a holiday treat. Simply substitute the peppermint flavor for one you love. I’m thinking Frangelico with toasted hazelnuts sprinkled on the top would be nice!
Meringues are baked first for one of the cake layers.
The cake layer is next; baked as one layer, it is then cut in sections.
Everything is brought together in layers with frosting to get the finished product. I didn’t do the mints on top; preferring to just decorate with an icing tip and some raspberries.
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Meringue Layers:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup superfine sugar (I put regular sugar into Cuisinart for a minute)
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps
- 24 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1¾ cups heavy cream
- 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch table salt
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Lightly butter bottom and sides of 13x9x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- Lightly dust sides with flour.
- Sift ½ cup flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
- Using electric mixer, beat eggs and egg yolks in another medium bowl until pale and foamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until mixture is thick and ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes.
- Sift flour mixture over egg mixture and gently fold in with rubber spatula just until incorporated.
- Transfer batter to baking pan; spread evenly to edges.
- Bake until top springs back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cake 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cake to loosen.
- Invert cake onto parchment-lined work surface; gently peel off parchment. Cool completely.
- Using serrated knife, cut cake in half lengthwise, each half should be 12x4-inch rectangle; trim if necessary.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 175°F. Using dark pen or pencil, trace two 12x4-inch rectangles on sheet of parchment paper; turn parchment over (rectangles will show through) and place on large rimmed baking sheet. Trace one 12x4-inch rectangle on second sheet of parchment paper; turn parchment over and place on second rimmed baking sheet.
- Sift powdered sugar, superfine sugar, and salt into medium bowl.
- Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with wire whisk; beat on medium-low speed until frothy.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form.
- Increase speed to high; gradually add sugar mixture and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in vanilla and peppermint extracts.
- Divide meringue equally among prepared rectangles on parchment (about 1⅓ cups for each); spread meringue evenly within traced lines.
- Bake meringues until dry and crisp but not browned, about 3 hours. Turn off oven and let meringues cool completely in oven.Carefully remove meringue rectangles from parchment.
- Simmer cream, butter, and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth.
- Whisk in vanilla and salt. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, 1 hour to 1½ hours.
- Heat the water and sugar until it starts to boil and the sugar is dissolved. Cool
- Add 1 Tbsp of Frangelico to sugar water to make Frangelico Glaze.
- Transfer ½ cup buttercream to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip; reserve for piping rosettes.
- Brush off any crumbs from meringue layers and cake layers. Place several small dabs of buttercream down center of 15-inch-long rectangular serving platter.
- Place 1 meringue layer, top side up, atop buttercream on platter, anchoring to platter.
- Using small offset spatula, spread ⅔ cup buttercream over meringue.
- Top with 1 cake layer, top side down, pressing gently to adhere. Brush cake layer with ⅓ cup peppermint syrup (cake layer will be very moist). Spread ⅔ cup buttercream over
- Top with second meringue layer, top side up. Spread ⅔ cup buttercream over.
- Cover with second cake layer, top side down. Brush with ⅓ cup peppermint syrup (cake layer will be very moist). Spread with ⅔ cup buttercream.
- Top with third meringue layer, top side up. Spread thin layer of buttercream over top and sides of cake.
- Fill pastry bag fitted with medium star tip with remaining ganache.Pipe small rosettes around bottom and top of cake.
- Finish cake with fruit or sprinkled nuts
- Chill cake at least 6 hours.
Cake can be made ahead. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day; freeze if making longer than one day in advance.
The ganache can be made up to four hours ahead and left standing at room temperature. If desired, can be made days prior to using; refrigerate and then come to room temperature before using.
Entire cake can be made 2 days ahead. Cover loosely; chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1½ hours before serving.
Garnish if desired with fresh raspberries and/or fresh mint leaves