Friday, November 25, 2011

Bake Together: (Gluten Free) Cranberry Chocolate Meringue Cake

So I know almost everybody – at least, almost everybody in the United States – had a pumpkin-themed dessert last night in celebration of Thanksgiving.

I like to be different. Instead, I went with a cranberry based dessert. Traditional Thanksgiving, but different.

And obviously I added chocolate because…oh come on, do you read this blog?

Now to combine these flavors, I used the inspiration from Abby Dodge’s #baketogether this month, in which Abby called for us to go with our own take on a truly decadent chocolate meringue cake. How could I say no? Obviously I couldn’t.

Want to make your own? Here’s how – look, you don’t even need wheat! Gluten free and all that.

Meringue Layers

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup superfine sugar

Pinch salt

2 egg whites (room temperature)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Trace three 8”x4” rectangles on a sheet of parchment, leaving about an inch between. Invert parchment on a light colored baking sheet. Sift together confectioner’s sugar, superfine sugar, and salt. Whip egg whites on medium low until frothy, add cream of tartar and whip on medium high until soft peak form. Continue beating while gradually adding sugar mixture, then increase speed to high and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add vanilla extract and whip until incorporated. Distribute meringue inside the rectangles sketched on the parchment paper.

Bake at 175 F for 2 ½ hours. Cool slightly, then peel away parchment paper and allow meringue pieces to cool.

Chocolate Almond Cake Layers

3/4 cup almonds

2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

2 T brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chop almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Beat egg yolks, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on low until combined. Beat egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer on medium speed until doubled in volume. Fold into nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into an 8”x8” pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, cool and cut into two 4"x8" pieces.

Cranberry Chocolate Buttercream

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cup cranberries

8 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons corn syrup

20 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

Mix cranberries and cream , bring to a simmer over low heat and hold the simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit ten minutes. Repeat twice, then strain cream, discarding solids. The resulting mixture will be infused with lovely cranberry flavor and color.

Mix remaining cream, butter and corn syrup over low heat until butter is melted, remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring to combine. Allow to cool, then whip until fluffy.

Cranberry syrup

1 cup cranberries

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Combine all ingredients over medium heat, bring to a boil and allow mixture to boil for 10 minutes. Cool, then run through a food processor and strain, discarding solids.


Spread two tablespoons of buttercream on the cake plate or platform, use to secure one piece of meringue. Top meringue with buttercream, then add first layer of cake. Spread cranberry syrup on cake.

Top with second piece of meringue. Top meringue with buttercream, then add the other layer of cake. Spread remaining cranberry syrup on cake, top with final piece of meringue.

Spread buttercream around entire assembled cake, then pipe remaining buttercream on cake.

Finally, take the complete cake to Thanksgiving dinner to impress somebody who was already floored by simple brownies. This is mandatory.

Do you like cranberries and chocolate together?


  1. MMMM...I love cranberries, chocolate, and most of all frosting. I really wish that person was me.

  2. Remember how chocolate+orange is my favorite. Well cranberry+chocolate is a close close second. You have once again blown my mind. :)

  3. I love meringue in all shapes and forms :) This looks wonderful, like a modern-day version of Black Forest Cake. But yummier :)

  4. MMMM! Sounds like a perfect holiday combination! Nom nom nom! I can't wait to make it!

  5. Yum. I can't say I've ever had chocolate and cranberries together but now I am definitely intrigued!

  6. This is quite a creation! I am rather impressed by this... I would be so afraid to take it on with the fear of messing up a step along the way ha
    And yes, those two flavors mesh rather well together!

  7. I've been waiting for this ever since you teased up with cranberry chocolate frosting...I love cranberries and chocolate but have never combined them together; sounds fabulous.

    I've made this before and yes, I might have nudged Abby a bit because I think it's decadent, beautiful and, while doing some things that might be a bit unique...really not hard. Give me this meringue in a heartbeat; those macarons that are all the rage? I've had them; this wins hands down!

  8. Lovely job with the frosting. This looks phenomenal!

    I was going to make a cranberry pie for Thanksgiving, but there were already eight or ten pies and mine was not needed. Wah wah. Someday.

  9. If you have any leftovers, I'd be willing to help you out with that ;).

  10. So I generally do not like berries and chocolate together (I know, what is wrong with me) but this cake looks like it's worth a try. And GF!

  11. I love your take on this recipe with berries and chocolate (two of my favorites). I am going to try this with the almond flour. Beautiful results!