Chocolate Meringue Cake

One thing I like about Valentine's Day being on a weeknight is that it seems to spread the celebration (i.e. the fancy cooking and chocolate eating) out over the weekend before or afterward. On Valentine's Day itself we might (okay, definitely will) order pizza and take it easy, but this past weekend we got a chance to celebrate a little more. My husband's aunt and uncle's family invited us over for their yearly homemade-heart-shaped-pizza-and-sugar-cookie-decorating-party. I smiled when my husband's aunt confided that it's one tradition she's tried to stop many times because it is so much work, but the kids won't let her. I think my mom has the exact same problem with some of the traditions she's started, too. Mental note: when starting family traditions with the new baby, make sure they are easy. Anyone have some great, easy V-day family traditions they love?

In keeping with the spirit of easiness is this chocolate meringue cake. It's layers of chocolate meringue covered in layer after layer of soft whipped cream, and it's just as good as it sounds. It's made ahead of time and the hands-on part of making the dessert is minimal. The finished cake looks impressive, and you don't have to frost it. Bonus.

If you've never made meringue or a pavlova before, this would be a great place to start. It's really as simple as whipping egg whites with sugar and baking it until it is a beautiful, light, crisp cloud of sugar and air. You don't even have to stress about the meringue cracking or collapsing since the whipped cream will cover any imperfections. In fact, one of my meringues came out so perfect the last time I made this I was a little disappointed that no one would be able to see it. Yes, sometimes I'm vain about my food.

After layering the meringues with whipped cream and refrigerating overnight, the layers solidify slightly to make a cohesive cake. The meringue still stays mostly crispy, which I really like in contrast to the soft whipped cream layers. I'm sharing the recipe for a chocolate meringue today, but you could easily adjust this cake to suit yours tastes. You could add some extract to the whipped cream (mint or raspberry would be delicious) if you wanted, or you could add a layer of sliced strawberries between each layer. Another bonus is that because there is no flour in the recipe, you could make this for a loved one with gluten free dietary restrictions.

Hope you all have a fun, stress-free, chocolate-filled Valentine's Day!

Chocolate Meringue Cake


  • 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: 8-10

Recipe Source: adapted from Food and Wine and the Food Network

30 Click For Comments:

this is gorgeous!! what a fun dessert!

Wow, Nicole! This cake looks right out of a magazine! Such a creative recipe and something I'd never be brave enough to try myself, but really, great job and thanks for sharing!

This cake looks sooo good!  Definitely something I'd like to try.  I like the idea of adding strawberries, or maybe cherries to get a black forest thing going.  I found when my kids were little that they just loved decorating and baking heart shaped cookies.  It doesn't have to be that hard or time consuming and you can make it a bit different each year.  I found as they got older they wanted their friends to join in, then eventually it was just them and their friends - a lot of mess, laughs and music.

This is gorgeous! And i bet it's delicious too :) Happy Valentine's day!!

Oh wow! And with strawberries in the middle?! I can't even imagine. Sounds like heaven!!!! 

wow....gorgeous...just gorgeous.  I can almost taste the crunch from the meringue and the creaminess of the cream filling just by looking at it....mouth watering!  

This. looks. like. heaven.

Catherine(Click here to enter my anthropologie kitchen tools giveaway.)

i feel like in heaven just by looking at it

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. It is Slovak version of Pavlova called "Penová torta". In my country it is a festive cake -wedding, christening  ...We don not use fruit only rich chocolate. I am reallly glad you did it. It it the first time I saw Penová torta outside of Slovakia. PERFECT as if my Mum did it.



Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I had no idea it was a traditional cake in Slovakia, but I'm so happy to learn more about it. I love learning about food traditions in other countries, especially when they are as delicious as this one. Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog post on it.

This looks amazing!  Perfect for the holiday...oh who am I kidding...perfect for any day :)

This looks seriously impressive! I bet it tastes even better than it looks. It's always awesome when you can find great looking desserts that are easy to make, too. 

How gorgeous!  Love the combo of the meringue and whipped cream!

What a stunning dessert!  I'm always looking for new ways to use up my extra egg whites, and this is perfect.  

And not too fattening. I think I may spread raspberry jam between the layers.

The informal layers and casual presentation add more charm to this superb cake! Wanna try this too...

Wow!  This looks awesome.  I've never had or made a meringue cake.  That's about to change.

Oh my goodness!  This just looks beyond heavenly! I love how casual it looks, and yet it's so elegant at the same time.

ooohh isn't this just perfect.  so light, so sweet, so exactly what i want right now.

Nicole, I'm in love with this cake! The fluffy layers and the contrasting colors and the rustic elegance - it's all amazing... I have featured this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup. Let me know if you have any objections and thanks for the inspiration

Just made this for my mom's birthday.  Smelled wonderful as the layers cooked.  I have it in the fridge right now to chill out for the evening.  Excited to slice in it tomorrow!!

Tried the recipe twice and although the second time was much better and tasted amazing, i couldnt seem to get the meringue layers to stay in shape when baking , all three cakes went completely flat both times.... Any suggestions?

My only suggestions would be to make sure there are no egg yolks in your whites, don't overwhip the eggs and don't try to make it on too humid of a day. It can also help to bring the eggs to room temp before whipping them. Good luck!

I am making this tomorrow as my birthday cake this year - can't wait!!!

I made this yesterday, followed the recipe exactly.....and the meringue layers looked wonderful - 2hrs later we dressed it and tried to cut it but it was way too crunchy and not at all cloud like in the centre. I think maybe less sugar, and less cooking time, and perhaps it has to sit for a few hours to allow the cream to penetrate the chocolate-cement layers.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I do think it really has to sit overnight to get the cream to soften those meringue layers. Even with that, they still have a slight crunch, which I actually enjoy. Hope next time it is a success for you!

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