Chocolate Meringue Cake

Cake Batter:
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

Meringue Layer:
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup granulated white sugar

Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup finely grated semi-sweet chocolate

Garnish:
Fresh Strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter and line the bottoms of two – 8 x 1-1/2 inches (20 x 3.75 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).

3. In a large bowl, sift cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, or hand mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla extract.

4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Batter will seem thin but spread all over pan with a spatula. Set aside while you make the meringue layer.

5. Using a clean bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Evenly divide the meringue and place on top of the cake batter in the two pans, gently smoothing the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The meringue layers will have turned a light brown and will be crisp to the touch but soft inside. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, gently remove from pans.

6. For the whipped cream: In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Fold in the coconut and chocolate. To Assemble Cake: Place one of the cake layers, meringue side down, on a serving platter. Spread with the whipping cream. Gently place the second cake layer, cake side down so the meringue layer is facing up, onto the first layer. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Can garnish with fresh strawberries. If not eating immediately, place in the refrigerator until serving time. However, make sure to bring the cake to room temperature before serving.

Yields: 10 servings

Adapted from Joy of Baking

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