This dessert was created by the mother of staff writer Valerie Strauss, whom Valerie calls a grand baker and chef in addition to being a former food columnist for the Miami Herald.
Use high-quality chocolate and butter for best results. The original was made in two 8-inch cake pans, but you can also double the recipe and use three 10-inch pans. It's up to you. The cake freezes well and is delicious right out of the freezer.
Servings: 8 - 10
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 6 to 9 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (leave whole)
- 12 ounces heavy cream, beaten to form stiff peaks and chilled
- Chocolate shavings only (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In the large bowl of a standing mixer on high speed, combine the butter with 3/4 cup of the sugar and beat until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the egg yolks, melted chocolate and vanilla extract, mixing well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients, then the hot water, mixing well. Using a flexible spatula, spread the mixture evenly in the pans. It will seem like the layers are too thin; they aren't. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl on high speed with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to create a meringue batter. Divide the meringue into two even parts and carefully spread over the tops of the cake batter in both pans. Then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the meringue in both pans.
Bake about 35 minutes. The meringue will be brown and slightly puffy. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. When the cake layers have cooled, place one layer with meringue side up on a serving plate. Cover with nearly half of the whipped cream. Place the remaining layer, meringue side down, on top of the whipped cream. Be careful to avoid splitting the top layer (if it does, put it together and proceed, because nobody will know when it is covered with whipped cream). Top with most of the remaining whipped cream, leaving enough cream to pipe rosettes around the top edge. Decorate with a few extra chocolate chips or with chocolate shavings, if desired.
Adapted from Libby Strauss, former food columnist for the Miami Herald and mother of Post staff writer Valerie Strauss.
Tested by Valerie Strauss.
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