- 2 9" spring-form pans
- Standing mixer
- Medium mixing bowl
- Sauce pan
- Cooling rack
- Parchment paper (9" rounds)
- PAM for baking
For the Meringue cake
- 12 large egg whites
- 2½ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 lb hazelnuts
For the Buttercream
- 1 lb unsalted butter, softened
- 12 large egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 Tabsps cognac
For the Meringue Cake
- I toasted all the hazelnuts in the oven at 350 degrees F for roughly 20 minutes. They were then removed them from the oven and allowed to steam in a towel for another 15 minutes. The skins were rubbed off as much as possible using the same towel. Yes you will have some skin stick but who cares! Hazelnuts were coarsely chopped reserving a few for decoration.
- Two 9″ round pans were greased with PAM, lined with the parchment paper rounds and greased again. I would try butter next time as the PAM actually ended up burning. It didn’t hurt the cake too much but it made me uncomfortable to know that the edges of my cake were darker than ideal.
- In the standing mixer, I whipped the egg whites until foamy and slowly added the half cup of sugar while continuing to whip. Then came the vanilla and the eggs were whipped to very stiff and glossy peaks.
- While the eggs were whipping, I mixed together the remaining 2 cups of sugar, flour, and 1.5 cups chopped hazelnuts in a medium bowl.
- Once the egg whites were ready, they were gently but thoroughly fold into the dry mixture.
- The batter was divided evenly between the two pans and baked at 350°F for 2 ½ hours, checking periodically to see that it’s not browning too much. Seriously, I really mean it. 2 ½ hours is the requirement. You shall bake for 2 ½ hours. 2 ½ hours is the length of your baking. In the meantime you can make the buttercream and clean up the mess you just made.
- When done, cakes were removed from the pans and cooled fully on cooling racks, overnight, under a towel is best.
For the Buttercream
- This recipe needs to cool for a while so I highly recommend doing it on the same day as the cake baking and refrigerating overnight.
- Milk and sugar were added to a sauce pan and heated until the milk is scalded but not boiling as it may burn the milk.
- While the milk was heating, in a separate bowl, I whisked the yolks until quite stiff and light yellow.
- Half of the milk was poured into the yolks slowly while continuing to whisk the eggs. Then the egg yolk mixture was added back into the remaining milk and place back on the heat.
- The eggs and milk were cooked, stirring constantly, until the custard thickened.
- The custard was removed from the heat, strained to remove any potential lumps, and allowed to fully cool to room temperature. Ok now you can go to bed. This was the important part, now it’s cooling. It will wait for you to wake up tomorrow.
- I confess, I didn't go to bed. It was winter and I took my bowl of custard and lovingly embedded it in the snow outside. By the time my kitchen was clean, the custard was cool enough and butter was added a little at a time and mixed in my standing mixer until fully incorporated, then the vanilla and cognac were added. The cocoa is left for later, do not add it in at this point. We'll come back to it during assembly.
- I placed a small dollop of buttercream on a cake board and place the first meringue cake right side up over the dollop. The buttercream helps the cake stay put on the board.
- A generous layer of the buttercream was spread over the first cake layer and the second cake layer was placed upside down over the cream. Be sure your buttercream reaches all the way to the edges of your cake. When the second layer was placed I added a little more cream along the seam and smoothed it to the sides of the cake.
- I kept the cake in the fridge while I prepare the chocolate buttercream. A small portion of the buttercream was reserved for decoration. To the rest, I added the cocoa (see I didn't forget it) and whipped until smooth, dark, and even.
- Once the cream was ready, the cake was retrieved from the fridge and coated the whole cake in the cocoa buttercream. Decorate as desired. I used the remaining hazelnuts to coat the sides and a few whole nuts as the base for flowers and other decoration.