I have had what I like to call a cake crush, on this double chocolate meringue cake by Donna Hay for quite awhile. How could I not? Let’s set aside the obvious allure of chocolate in two forms. The cake sucked me in because of that absolutely gorgeous, cocoa-based, crackly top. Part crunchy, part marshmallow cake topping? Yeah, I want that. I made Donna’s cake and it’s great; I made it into cupcakes too! But ultimately, I wanted to take the idea and go in a different direction.
Chocolate Swirled Meringue Cookies (or Mini Pavlovas)
Around Christmas, I always find myself making meringue cookies which I like to swirl with either melted dark chocolate or a chocolate hazelnut spread. I brought them to one of my daughter’s teachers for Christmas once and she told me her mom made them (sans swirl) and called them sleeping cookies; fitting because they spend the night in the oven!
If I’m making them for guests or for us to have at home, I make them in cupcake form because they dome nicely and the inside has large gaps to stuff in berries and whipped cream. See below!
Flourless Chocolate Cake for a Flourless Topping
So for this cake, here’s what I did: I went for a flourless chocolate base, it was lighter, more flavorful and a dead simple recipe. Plus, it’s gluten-free which makes sense with a meringue, a dessert that is already food-restriction inclusive. And instead of cocoa, I melt some chocolate and swirl it into the top. If you follow me on insta, you’ve seen that his is what I do with my mini-pavlovas (pics up top) and since you’re only need to do a gentle, barely-stir for these, there’s less risk of deflating the meringue anddd it adds more chocolate! Huzzah!
Twice Baked Chocolate Meringue Cake
So here you have it; a flourless chocolate cake which uses dutch process cocoa for a rich chocolate taste. On top of it sits a meringue which is also chocolatey and delicious, but it’s FLOOFINESS (is this a word?) is not compromised. It’s crispy on top, and marshmallow-chewy in the center (take a good look at that slice!). You’ll make a giant silky white meringue, streak it with melted chocolate and dollop it on top. It looks gorgeous like this but when you bake it, it expands and cracks and gets this gorgeous rustic look. This is definitely going to be the cake I bring to events for the awe factor, I hope it will be yours too!
Notes on making Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake
This is a twice baked cake; so you’ll make the cake part and while it is baking, you’ll make the meringue. When the cake is semi-baked, you’ll remove it and while it is still warm, you’ll dollop the meringue on top and return it to the oven.
Keep watch of your meringue while it whips. The egg whites will start out foamy and liquidy and gradually get thicker. Add the sugar in a steady stream and then let it keep whipping. It should take about 10 minutes but don’t be so confident to walk away from it. Lift the mixer and check the consistency by turning the whisk upside down – does it hold its shape? It’s done. If it flops, keep whipping.
I baked my cake in this standard aluminum pie pan. I think this cake would also do fine in a 8” cake pan. If you use a pie pan that is glass or ceramic baking temperatures can vary, because of the way different materials conduct heat. Since this cake bakes twice at two different temperatures, I’d definitely advocate for aluminum.
The cake recipe here is adapted from KAF’s flourless chocolate cake. Essentially, I make two thirds of the cake but with a bit more cocoa. For the meringue, I keep Hay’s sugar/egg white ratio but I omit the cocoa which I traded for melted chocolate.
Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake
Flourless Chocolate Meringue cake
Fudgy flourless chocolate cake with a pavlova topping.
Preheat oven to 325. Butter and line an 8 or 9" round pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, melt together butter and chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. When the wafers are almost all melted, remove from heat and stir until mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla.
Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the cocoa and mix.
Pour batter into prepared pie pan and bake for 18 minutes.
When you have about 10 minutes left on the baking time for the cake, begin whipping the egg whites in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. When whites are frothy, add the sugar in a slow and steady stream.
Turn mixer to high, add the salt and vanilla. Let it whisk until thick and glossy and you have stiff peaks, toward the end add the vinegar and cornstarch.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between every 30 seconds. While the chocolate is still melty but cool, pour it into one side of the meringue, with a spatula, fold it in in 3-4 big folds, leaving big streaks of chocolate.
Remove the cake from the oven and raise oven temperature to 350 F.
Gently dollop the meringue onto the cake. If you need to spread it a bit, do so very cautiously so as not to overmix the chocolate. Return cake to oven and bake for another 20 minutes.