It’s always a blizzard of deliciousness when a new treat hits our counters, but the Brooklyn Whiteout Cake might’ve just broken all known records for the coolest cake to date!
It has rich layers of chocolate sponge and thick, intense chocolate custard which is then covered in a sprinkling of velvety chocolate cake crumbs. When Brooklyn Blackout is in town, it’s lights out for other chocolate cakes.
But we didn’t want to stop there. So, we’ve stolen the sweet meringue topping which you might know best from our Lemon Meringue Pie and left the chocolate custard between the chocolate sponge layers, but swapped the custard and crumb covering for clouds of luscious meringue.
We then used a dinky cook’s blowtorch on the swirls of meringue to add a golden caramel edge to this decadent triple-layer cake. And, honestly, we are whiteout of ideas for how we could make this recipe better!
American baking is big on meringue toppings and they discovered that not only does a lightly whipped meringue topping look incredibly inviting, but it also keeps the sponge airtight and deliciously moist.
Our home bakers might be more familiar with meringue as a cream and fresh fruit affair, perhaps a strawberry and cream Eton Mess with crumbled meringue, but it works great as a cupcake and cake frosting too. This requires a slightly different method to turn crisp and chewy meringue into something soft, marshmallowy and spreadable.
There are actually several different ways of making meringue and our new Brooklyn Whiteout Cake uses the Italian meringue method to make a glossy meringue topping to completely cover the chocolate sponge layers.
Italian meringue frosting takes a little more effort to pull off than your standard buttercream frostings but it is completely worth it. It is made by making a sugar syrup, heating it up to soft-ball stage and then beating it into egg whites until it forms a glossy meringue.
It’s the most stable meringue out of all the methods and is perfect for cake, cupcake and pie toppings.
More about meringue…
Meringue is a mixture of whipped eggs and sugar and can be made into all manner of marvellous desserts, some of our favourites from our cookbooks being Baked Alaska (Home Sweet Home) and our S’moreanne Cupcakes (Cake Days).
There are three kinds of meringue:
- French meringue – made by whipping egg whites into soft peaks, adding fine white caster sugar gradually and then whipping it into firm peaks. This makes the crisp, chewy meringues such as those used in pavlova and Eton Mess. This is the easiest meringue to make.
- Swiss meringue – this is made over a bain-marie water bath and heating the sugar and egg whites together in a bowl over the simmering water to provide gentle heat. Once the egg white and sugar mixture is warm, it is then whipped up into meringue. This is quite an easy meringue to make and doesn’t require too much attention as the heat is gentle. Swiss meringue is very soft and marshmallowy, which makes it great as a soft dessert topping.
- Italian meringue – sugar is heated first up to soft-ball stage where it is clear and liquid and this hot syrup is then carefully added to egg whites and beaten until it forms firm peaks. Possibly the trickiest meringue to make as you need to be careful not to overcook the sugar, but the result is that it gives the most stable meringue. Slightly firmer and glossier than the Swiss meringue.
Top tips for making meringue:
- Thermometers are your friends. Use a sugar thermometer if heating your sugar and use an oven thermometer if baking your meringues. Oven temperatures vary and you wouldn’t want to ruin your delicate meringue with an oven that is too cool or too fierce.
- Make sure your bowl is completely clean of any grease before making meringue. Rubbing a cut lemon around the bowl and then wiping the bowl down with clean kitchen paper can remove any grease. This helps the meringues to reach their fluffiest potential. Metal and glass bowls work best.
- Don’t let any egg yolk sneak into your meringue mix. The fat from the yolks will prevent the egg whites from whipping up.
- French meringue mixture can be piped into various shapes such as baskets and other decorative designs. Once baked low and slow in an oven, it goes crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. If baked for long enough at a low enough temperature, it will go completely crisp.
- Always use an electric whisk, as making your meringues light and fluffy requires you to beat lots of air into the mixture. But don’t over-whip! This is possible and if you over-whip your meringue it will go grainy and you want them super-smooth.
- To check your sugar syrup is at soft-ball stage drop a small amount into very cold water. Remove the sugar ball from the water and it should form a soft ball, which will flatten when pressed between your fingertips.
The Brooklyn Whiteout Cake is available in-store by the slice or online to order as a 6", 8", 9" or 10" cake here.