Meringue Party Cake
Deep, dark, moist chocolate cake filled with billowy meringue frosting, crushed baked meringues, and frosted with more meringue frosting and topped with dark chocolate glaze and colourful baked meringues.
For the Baked Meringues:
  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 3/4 cup 150 g superfine sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered food colour petal dust in turquoise and pink (or other desired shades)
  • Edible glitter in white optional
For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
  • 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups 450 g sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups 160 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons 150 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs room temperature
For the Swiss Meringue Frosting:
  • 10 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups 500 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine salt
For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 5 ounces 150 g best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • 3/4 cup 90 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkles for decorating
For the Baked Meringues (French meringue):
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (90°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Wipe a stainless stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice to eliminate any grease. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl and whisk on low speed for 30 seconds, and increase the speed to medium. Beat until the egg whites have soft peaks, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar 1 spoonful at a time. One all of sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Divide the meringue into thirds and tint one third turquoise and another pink. Pipe one baking tray of medium-sized meringues and one tray of smaller meringues using different decorating tips of your choice (I used large plain round for smooth meringues, large open star for the textured pink meringues, and a small open star for the small textured white meringues). Sprinkle the white meringues with some white edible glitter, if desired.
  3. Baked both trays at the same time until crisp but not browned or discolored, about 1 hour for the smaller meringues, and 1 1/2 hours for the larger ones. You should be able to gently pull the meringue away from the parchment with no sticking. Store in plastic zip top bags at room temperature for up to 1 week. I made two batches of these meringues to experiment different shapes and sizes, and the leftovers make perfect little treats or gifts.
For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray four 8-inch round cake pans (or however many you have--you will just have to wash and re-use for the remaining layers) with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the four cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 420 grams.
  5. Bake two layers at a time until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 20 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
For the Swiss Meringue Frosting:
  1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches about 140°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until meringue starts to thicken, about 1 minute, and then increase to high speed. Beat until thick, glossy, and cool (or neutral in temperature). Add vanilla and salt and beat to combine. Best used right away.
For the Chocolate Glaze:
  1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. (You can also melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.) Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in refrigerator, and warm in microwave when ready to use.
Assemble the Meringue Dream Cake:
  1. Put a nonslip square on a turntable (if using), followed by a large piece of wax paper, topped with another nonslip square smaller than your cake. Place a thin 8-inch round cake board or larger cake plate on the turntable and place the first chocolate cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of meringue frosting on top and sprinkle with a generous layer of crushed baked meringues (save the prettiest ones for the top of the cake). Repeat until you come to the final cake layer, which you will place face down. Cover the cake in a "coat" of meringue frosting and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of meringue frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
  3. When the chocolate glaze in no longer warm, pour on top of the cake and gently spread with a small offset palette knife, pushing some over the sides. Gently place a variety of the baked meringues on top of the cake, as well as some crushed meringue and sprinkles, if desired.
  4. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, but best enjoyed day 1 (due to the meringue frosting).