The few days leading up to Christmas are always a baking marathon for me. By the time Christmas finally gets here I'm just about sugared out. It's that time when you start thinking about eating more dessert and feel slightly nauseous. Do I keep eating desserts anyways? Yes. But I think twice before grabbing that last cookie, and it takes a lot of sweets to get me to that point. 

I wanted something easy to prepare for Christmas dessert with my family. I go to my grandparents house for lunch on Christmas so that leaves about four hours of cooking before the other side of the family comes over for Christmas dinner. Basically I need to prepare Christmas dessert early so I can leave those four hours for cooking for the 15 people arriving at 7pm. This meringue was just the trick. It's beautiful and easy, and it's supposed to be made ahead of time. It needs to be assembled the day/night before, but it's nothing too tricky. The original recipe says it serves 8-10, but I've changed that to 10-12, and as I said, I served 15 with a bit left over.

My only complaint is that it's nearly impossible to cut a pretty slice of meringue cake. Maybe I was just doing it wrong, but the second I started cutting it I immediately decided I would need to make meringue parfaits because the slices were going to look like a mess. By the second or third slice it got slightly better, but I'm just warning you about that in advance. If the cake isn't cutting well, make them into meringue parfaits. In the words of Donkey from Shrek, "Parfaits gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!"...True words, Donkey.  


Chocolate Meringue Cake
Recipe from Heat Oven to 350

  • 6 large egg whites (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw two 8-inch rounds on one sheet of the parchment and one 8-inch round on the other.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar at high speed until stiff and shiny. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and cocoa powder. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate down the side of the bowl and gently fold until the meringue is lightly marbled.
  3. Spread the meringue in the drawn circles. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hours and 20 minutes, until crisp; rotatating the pans halfway through baking. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to let the meringues cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of the standing mixer, beat the cream with the powdered sugar until firm. Remove the meringues from the parchment paper. Spread the whipped cream on the layers and stack them. Refrigerate or freeze the cake overnight. Cut into wedges (this is done easiest with a serrated knife when the cake is frozen or very cold) and serve cold, but not frozen. Garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 1 hour 20 min Serves: 10-12


Spencer said... @ January 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Looks so good! I wouldn't know whether to frame it or eat it though. It seems like a work of art!

Sarah said... @ January 2, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Thanks, Spencer! Even better is that it actually tastes good as well. I find the best way to show off those "artwork" desserts is to make sure you have a good audience to appreciate it!

Susan Choco said... @ March 26, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Wow, this looks amazing, and I'm always luking for gluten-free desserts. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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