In a rather ineffectual attempt to lose/maintain/not gain too much more weight, I have set myself a target of only making one dessert per week. This is easier said than done when blogging challenges are requiring the need to make cake left, right and centre. It is for this reason I haven’t participated in the Weekly Bake Off for a while. But I have been keeping a close eye on the nominated bakes each week, with the thought that if something particularly scrummy looking came up, then I might just have to throw my hat into the ring.
This week was one of those weeks. The nominated bake was Mary Berry’s Hazelnut Meringue Cake from her book “100 Cakes and Bakes,” a rather calorific but gorgeous looking concoction of hazelnut meringue generously garnished with lashings of whipped cream and raspberries. I figured this would be the perfect recipe with which to road test my new cute-as-a-button 12cm cake tins – in an attempt to make a serving that would satisfy me and the OH without leaving lots of leftovers.
Mistakenly I assumed that if I was only making half the quantity of Mary’s recipe, the meringues would take less time to cook. On my first attempt I took the meringues out of the oven after 20 minutes only for them to collapse in a gooey mess when I removed them from the tins. Starting over, I removed the next batch after 30 minutes and they were still very fragile but just the right balance of a crispy outside and a lovely chewy marshmallow-like centre.
As it is winter here in Johannesburg, I couldn’t find raspberries so substituted some rather delicious plump black cherries instead. And as cherry and chocolate are a partnership made in heaven, I finished my dessert with a dusting of grated chocolate. This is a scrumptious dessert and one that was worth breaking the rules for. Even the OH, who is not the biggest fan of meringue having been scarred by shop-bought powdery ones as a child, declared it yummy. To me, the ground hazelnuts in the meringue reminded me of Nutella which I just love so I think next time I would enhance the Nutella-iness by making a chocolate cream filling. I am sure it is lovely with raspberries but the cherries tasted amazing too – I am certain any berry would work or indeed bananas which would match perfectly with the chewy, almost toffee-like, meringue.
If you would like to try Mary’s hazelnut meringue cake, then you can find a similar recipe here.