Do you have a competitive streak? Most of us will have a tendency towards a form of competition, whether it be in academic or social terms. Mine is generally dormant – usually I’m quite good at thinking positively and non-competitively towards my actions and those of others. However, there is an exception to this, and for me that exception is baking.
When it comes to the culinary arts, I have a real ‘can-do’ attitude. Paul Hollywood tells us how difficult macaroons are to make, I obsess over them for the next few months until I can make them right. Puff pastry is seem as too difficult to make for amateurs – I’ll prove them wrong! As the for the dreaded croquembouche, I’ve got you in my sights… Therefore when World Baking Day announced their bake brave challenge, with 100 cakes of different levels of difficulty, I imediately clicked on no. 100 – the hardest.
Yes, my competitive spirit kicked in big time, but then reality struck. Whilst a choux pastry tower would be impressive, it was not going to be a suitable choice. Not because I couldn’t do it, but rather because we couldn’t eat it. So reluctantly I scaled down my ambition and settled on option 91 – the chocolate brownie raspberry torte. My sense of pride only slightly dented, I made this cake, constructed it and promptly had to hide the leftovers – what more needs to be said!
Chocolate Brownie Meringue Torte
- 200g good-quality dark chocolate
- 200g margarine
- 250g icing sugar
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 110g plain flour
- 4 medium free-range egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 300ml whipping cream
- 100g icing sugar
- 300g fresh raspberries
To finish (optional):
- 200g fresh raspberries
- 100g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Roughly chop the chocolate, set 20g aside for later, and put the remaining 180g into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of steaming water and leave to melt gently, stirring frequently. (Do use a bain-marie, rather than try and melt it in a saucepan like I did – first lot of chocolate had a nice burnt taste to it…)
Meanwhile, beat the soft margarine with the icing sugar until very light, creamy and fluffy before adding the eggs, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour and the cooled, melted chocolate. When thoroughly combined, stir in the reserved chopped chocolate. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and spread it out evenly. Bake for 8 minutes – the mixture will not be cooked but will have started to form a crust.
While the mixture is baking, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the sugar in four batches, to make a smooth and glossy, thick meringue. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts (I have also used almonds which also work well)
Remove the cake tins from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Divide the meringue equally between the two brownie-filled tins, and gently spread it over the still soft mixture to cover evenly. Bake for another 35-40 minutes until the meringue is golden and the brownie cooked! If the meringue looks like it is burning, cover with foil.
To make the filling, whisk the cream until soft peaks form, then add the icing sugar and 200g of the raspberries. Whisk briefly, to make a thick, pink cream. Fold in the remaining 100g of raspberries.
Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of each tin to loosen the cakes. Turn out the flat-topped meringue cake on to a serving plate, meringue-side down. Spread with the raspberry cream and top with the second cake. Decorate with the remaining raspberries and hazelnuts if wished.