This recipe is long, no getting around it. However, nearly every component can be made ahead and almost every component can be a dessert on its own (chocolate pudding anyone?). This is best made close to serving time because the whipped cream doesn't have any stabilizers in it. Modify the flavor but changing up the nut and using different extracts: it's really nice with almonds and brandy or orange and walnuts. —Savorykitchen
pecans, toasted and finely chopped
cream of tartar
finely chopped pecans, as garnish
grated chocolate, as garnish
In This Recipe
Make the genoise (uses ingredients 1-7): Butter a 8”cake pans (with 2+” sides) and line it with parchment. Preheat the oven to 350.
Fill a large saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Put the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whip with a whisk until hot (about 115 degrees), foamy and thickened.
Place the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer and whip for about 10 minutes until the mixture is cool and very thick.
Sift the flour and cocoa together well – there should be no lumps. Fold the flour/cocoa mixture together with the egg foam. I do this by transferring the foam to a large bowl and then folding in the flour mixture. This makes it easier to fold gently and it gives you room to work, especially if the foam has filled up your mixer bowl.
Gently pour/scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the surface of the cake is dry to the touch and the edges of the cake are pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes on a rack. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and then unmold to finish cooling.
Tightly wrapped, cake will freeze well for about a month. Defrost in its wrapping before using it.
Make the pudding (uses ingredients 8-15): In a large saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa, salt and flour together. Whisk in the cream until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the yolks until smooth. Heat saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil (bubbles just breaking the surface). The sauce will be thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Set in refrigerator to chill and thicken.
Make the meringues (uses ingredients 16-22): Preheat the oven to 275. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace two 7” circles on the paper.
Mix 2.5 oz of sugar, the pecans and cornstarch together. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they start to turn frothy, then increase the speed to medium-high. Add the pinch of salt, and slowly add in the remaining 4 oz of sugar and finally, the vanilla. Beat whites to stiff peaks.
Using a spatula or your hand, fold the nut mixture into the whites.
Use a piping big or spoon to fill the traced circles with meringue. Make sure the circles are level. You will have extra meringue. Use a spoon or piping bag to make little meringue cookies to use to decorate the finished cake (or to just snack on!).
Bake at 275 for 20 minutes and check the meringues. If they are browning too quickly, reduce the heat to 250. Bake until dried through and crunchy – about 90 minutes total.
Make the whipped cream (uses ingredients 23-26): Beat heavy cream, sugar, salt and vanilla together until cream forms firm peaks.
Assembling the cake:
Slice the cake horizontally into three layers (remembering to take the parchment off the bottom of the cake) and lay a slice of cake on a serving plate, top with 1/3 of the pudding, 1 meringue disk and 1/3 of the whipped cream. Continue layering: cake, pudding, meringue, cream, cake. Top the cake with pudding, billows of cream and little meringue cookies. Sprinkle chopped nuts and grated chocolate over the top of the cake.