About this recipe:This is a rich and wonderful chocolate cake that has layers of chestnut sponge, crushed meringue and chocolate mousse. You can make a beautiful decoration on top using the remaining meringue. Perfect for that special occasion when you want to impress your guests! It's also gluten-free.
Makes: 1 20cm cake
For the meringue
4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 or 2 drops red food colouring
For the cake
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
200g chestnut puree (homemade or tinned)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch baking soda
For the filling
475ml whipping cream
180g dark chocolate
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To make the meringue for decorating: Preheat oven to 100 C / Gas mark ¼. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a bowl whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt until very stiff. At the end add the food colouring and mix to blend. Place on the baking tray and flatten. Bake for 80 minutes until the meringue is firm and dry. Allow to cool, then remove from baking tray and peel off the baking paper. Finely crush the meringue, place in a container and set aside.
To bake the sponge: Increase oven temperature to 200 C / Gas 6. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy.
In a saucepan heat the chestnut puree with the butter until the butter has melted. Gradually stir the chestnut mixture into the egg yolks along with the vanilla. Stir in the cornflour and baking soda until well combined.
Beat egg whites until stiff then carefully fold them into the cake mixture. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Cool the cake on a wire rack. Carefully cut the cake horizontally into two equally thick pieces.
To make the filling: In a saucepan heat he chocolate and cream just until the chocolate has melted but do not boil. Allow to cool then chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
To assemble the cake: Place half of the chocolate cream on the base of the two cake halves.
Sprinkle the chocolate cream with half of the crushed meringue.
Gently press the meringue into the chocolate cream.
Brush any crushed meringue that fell off the cake back into the container with the remaining meringue.
Place the cake top onto the cake, cut side down. Cover with the remaining chocolate cream.
Create the heart decoration by using one teaspoon of the crushed meringue and a heart shape biscuit cutter. If necessary, crush the meringue crumbs a little more to make a finer crumb for doing this.
Press the cutter firmly into the cake and sprinkle the crumbs evenly. Remove the cutter to reveal the hearts.