Recipe

Hazelnut meringue layer cake

Without doubt this layer cake is a festive showstopper. Recipe by Fiona Hugues. Photo by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

  • 1 hr preparation
  • Serves 12
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Ingredients

  • 8 free-range egg whites (4 in one bowl, 4 in another)
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cup roasted and crushed hazelnuts
  • 500 millilitre fresh cream
  • 1 cup nutella
  • fresh berries, to decorate (i used redcurrants, raspberries and raspberry leaves and flowers)
Ganache
  • 250 millilitre cream
  • 250 gram dark chocolate, broken up

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 120°C fanbake. Line three baking trays with baking paper and draw a 20cm-diameter circle in the centre of each.
  • 2
    Using an electric mixer, beat 4 egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.
  • 3
    With the motor running, add 1 cup of sugar, a spoonful at a time. When you have added all the sugar, continue to whisk on high speed for 5-7 minutes until mixture is smooth and shiny.
  • 4
    Gently fold in 1 cup of crushed nuts, being careful not to knock out too much air. Spoon one-third of the meringue onto a marked circle and spread it out with the back of a spoon to make an even disc. Repeat to make three discs.
  • 5
    Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the meringues feel crisp and lift easily off the baking trays. Turn off oven, open door slightly and leave in the oven to cool.
  • 6
    Repeat the whole process to make a total of six meringue discs. These can be stored in an airtight container for up to a fortnight.
For the ganache
  • 7
    Heat cream until almost boiling point.
  • 8
    Remove from heat, add broken-up chocolate and allow to stand for 1-2 minutes.
  • 9
    Stir to combine and keep stirring until mixture is smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool slightly.
To assemble
  • 10
    Not long before serving, whip the 500ml cream and then stir in the Nutella until well combined.
  • 11
    Place a meringue disc on a cake stand, adding a little ganache to its base to stop it slipping.
  • 12
    Spread a large spoonful of nutella cream on top and add another meringue disc. Repeat layering until you have used up all the cream, finishing with the sixth meringue disc.
  • 13
    Insert two bamboo skewers, in a drilling motion, down through all the layers; this will prevent the layers slipping. Cut off the skewers level with the top of the cake.
  • 14
    Pour ganache over the cake and arrange berries on the top. The cake can be kept in a cool place for up to 1 hour before serving or refrigerate until ready to serve. It is best eaten on the day it is assembled.

Notes

I make half the meringue, cook it, then make the other half. That way there’s no meringue sitting around, deflating, while the other half cooks