Recipe from NIGELLA BITES
Chocolate cloud cake
For the cake
250 gram(s) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
125 gram(s) unsalted butter (softened)
6 medium egg(s) (4 separated)
175 gram(s) caster sugar
2 tablespoon(s) cointreau (optional)
1 orange(s) (zest, optional)
For the cream topping
500 ml double cream
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1 tablespoon(s) cointreau (optional)
½ teaspoon(s) cocoa powder (unsweetened) for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75g of the caster sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture, the Cointreau and orange zest.
In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 100g of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but not too stiff.
Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.
When you are ready to eat, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its tin. Don't worry about cracks or rough edges: it's the crater look we're going for here. Whip the cream until it's soft and then add the vanilla and Cointreau and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff.
Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder pushed through a tea-strainer.
Prodigious pavlova recipe appears in Nigella's book Feast, published by Chatto & Windus.
For the base
8 free-range egg whites
500g/1lb 2oz caster sugar
4 tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
650ml/1 pint double cream
Pack of raspberries/berries
25g/1oz icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and draw a rough 25cm/10in diameter circle onto it with a non-toxic pencil.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed, then whisk in the sugar, one tablespoonful at a time, until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Sprinkle the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract over the egg white, and fold in lightly with a metal spoon.
Spoon the meringue onto the baking parchment within the marked circle and, using a spatula, flatten the top and smooth the sides.
Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120C/250F/Gas ½. Cook for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, remove the meringue base from the oven (you can keep the meringue in an airtight container for a couple of days or store in the freezer for up to one month).
When you are ready to assemble the pavlova, invert the cooled meringue disk onto a large plate or a serving stand, and peel off the baking parchment.
For the topping, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the cream onto the meringue base, spreading it onto the edges in a swirly fashion Add berries .Serve immediately.
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