Dolce Mangia
Sweet Eats
Chocolate Meringue Cake
5 large eggs, separated
1 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
1 c buttermilk
2 t vanilla extract
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 c Dutch-process cocoa
1 t baking soda
1 c sweetened coconut
2/3 c finely chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Filling (below)
Ganache (below)
Meringues (below)
 
Beat egg whites at high speed till stiff peaks form. Set aside.
 
Beat the butter at medium speed till creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat well. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating till blended after each addition.
 
Combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda and add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed till blended after each addition. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9" round cake pans.
 
Bake at 350 degrees for 19-20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to a wire rack and cool completely.
 
Spread cream cheese filling between the layers. Spread ganache on top and sides of the cake, reserving 1/2 c of the ganache. Mound the meringues on top of the cake. Drizzle the meringues with the reserved ganache. To serve the cake, remove the meringues with small tongs and serve a few meringues as a garnish with each serving. Store the cake in the refrigerator and the meringues at room temperature in an airtight container.
 
Cream Cheese Filling:
 
2 (3 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
2 3/4 c sifted confectioners' sugar
 
Beath the first four ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer till smooth. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating till light and fluffy. Makes: 2 1/2 c.
 
Ganache:
 
3/4 c whipping cream
6 (4 oz) packages semi-sweet chocolate baking bars (Ghirardelli)
 
Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, stirring till the chocolate is melted. Cool to spreading consistency, stirring often. Makes: 2 1/2 c.
 
Meringues:
 
2 egg whites
1 1/2 t white vinegar
1/8 t salt
1/2 c sugar
1 (4 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (Ghirardelli), finely chopped
 
Beat egg whites, vinegar and salt on high speed in an electric mixer till foamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating till still peaks form and the sugar dissolves. Fold in the chocolate. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 250 degrees for 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes: 3 dozen.
 
Make-ahead:
 
Bake the cake layers ahead and freeze for up to one month. Make the meringues a day ahead and store in air-tight containers. Prepare cream cheese filling a day ahead and store in the refrigerator. Thaw cake layers at room temperature before assembling the cake.

Time: 2 hours   Serves: 12

This cake may seem like a lot of work, but it has presentation and tastes delicious. This recipe came from Christmas with Southern Living 2004.

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