Chocolate Meringue Cake, Ginger and Vanilla Cream, Fresh Cherries

Spring, Sweet Recipes • 18 Jun 2013

Every year on Father’s Day I prefer to bestow the gift of food on my husband, rather than an insignificant trinket to add to the abyss I fondly call his night stand. I love to cook, he loves to eat and our three-year old loves to assist in the kitchen. Our toddler is my confident, ambitious and very authoritative sous chef, his unbridled joy puffing up in his chest like a taut balloon at my request for help. Intent on cracking eggs with his own chubby fingers, he splashes half the contents of each shelled globe onto the floor, tripping and slipping on the mucus-like mess beneath his naked toes. He flounders while sifting snowy sugar onto the marbled counter top, gingerly missing the bowl’s glass rim by a mere half inch. He whirls the mixer on hyperbolic speed, cream and sugar decorating the walls and dotting his face, his eyes widening like azure saucers as he shrieks in riotous delight. This is what makes our meringue cake worthy of Father’s Day.

Meringue Cake

Lemon-yellow egg whites, frothy and bubbly, are feverishly whipped until they first become billowy, then cottony and finally stiff like snow-caked mountain peaks. Piles of meringue pour forth from my shiny chrome bowl, tinged slightly brown from a mottle of Dutch cocoa and sweetened with sugar. The wobbly mound gracefully retreats from the mixing basin as the puffed-up eggs quiver and tremble. I mold the free-form nebula of egg and sugar into haphazard circles on a baking sheet. Our meringues are ready to bake.

My son and I watch the eggs transform below the oven’s calefaction; the viscous eggs become crackly, fragile shells, encompassing cottony, chewy meringue. We sit by the oven and peer into the inferno, waiting impatiently for the timer to engage with its beep beeps.

He stands at the sideline while I prepare my oven mitts. His desire to crack the meringues, to punch through their crispy jackets and sink his small hands into the marshmallowy interior is cut short as I distract him with a summons. We still have whipped cream to make, the glue that binds our meringue cake, and I need him to take charge. He quickly forgets the meringues.


A superlative cake, three stories tall, swathed with luscious whipped cream and milky mascarpone, sweetly floral vanilla bean and peppery, piquant ginger. Blood red cherries crown the cake, blushing rouge and bursting with tart, sweet liquid. All shiny and lacquered, the fruit glistens and whispers spring, red-stained kisses on an airy, ivory and chocolate tower.

Chocolate Meringue Cake, Ginger and Vanilla Cream, Fresh Cherries

6 large egg whites at room temperature
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

2 cups fresh cherries
2 ounces dark chocolate, shaved with a box grater or microplane

1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees with rack in the center of the oven.

2. Place two sheets of parchment paper on two baking sheets. Using a pencil, draw two 8-inch circles on the first piece of parchment. Draw a third circle on the second piece of parchment. Flip the paper over so the pencil marks are on the bottom of the parchment.

3. Place the egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating until the egg whites are thick and glossy and stiff peaks form.

4. Beat in vanilla and vinegar and remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift in cornstarch and cocoa powder and fold in gently with a rubber spatula.

5. Fill a pastry bag with meringue. Pipe the meringue onto the parchment circles. Smooth out the tops of each meringue with an offset spatula. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven, prop the door adjar and leave the meringues in oven to cool completely, about 1 hour. The meringues should be crisp around the edges and springy in the middle.

6. To make the whipped cream, pour the cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix the cream, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks form. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in mascarpone and ginger with a spatula.

7. To serve, place the first meringue disc on a serving plate. Spread with one third of the cream. Top with the second meringue and more cream. Place the third meringue on top, spread with remaining cream and top with cherries. Sprinkle with grated chocolate and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves about 8.

One Response

  1. Julie

    First, this looks incredibly delicious. Second, you are a truly excellent writer and photographer. Something to be absolutely jumping-up-and-down proud of, Kate!

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