I’ve been promising Charlie for ages that I’ll make him some marshmallow fluff (basically meringue icing). Yesterday, because it was our 21st wedding anniversary (I KNOW!) seemed like a good excuse to make a ridiculously fattening cake (the same day that I signed Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush petition – oh, the irony), and some of the fluff too.
I was going to make the flourless chocolate cake, which is just the most deliciously, soft, squidgy, easy-to-make cake in my repertoire, plus a layer of chocolate mousse like I did for Sam’s birthday cake, but I ran out of chocolate. Also, be warned, this is really quite sweet. It really needs a balancing element – maybe a layer of fruit mousse (we actually thought banana mousse would be AWESOME) or some sort of coulis to counter the sweetness. We ate it with fresh strawberries, which worked quite well.
For the flourless chocolate cake
Line an 8” high sided loose-bottomed tin with greaseproof paper, and give it a squirt of cake-release spray for good measure if you want. Remember you’re going to add the layers so line the sides quite high. Preheat the oven to 160/gas 3.
125g dark chocolate
3 large free range eggs, separated
125g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over some hot water. As soon as the water starts to bubble, turn it off and let the butter and chocolate melt gently together.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until they’re really firm.
When the butter and chocolate are melted, stir in the brown sugar, the vanilla extract and the egg yolks, then gently fold in the whisked egg whites.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes. It shouldn’t wobble and a knife inserted into the centre will come out clean.
Leave to cool. It will sink as it cools, which I think looks rather lovely:
For the fluffy marshmallow icing
2 large free range egg whites
225g caster sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
So basically just pop all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl, place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (as always with a bain marie, don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl) and just whisk and whisk and whisk a bit more (you won’t be surprised to find that this is often called ‘seven minute meringue icing’) as you’ll need to whisk it for at least seven minutes so it’s really thick, glossy and standing up in stiff peaks. Also, be careful to get the whisk right to the bottom of the bowl and around the edges, otherwise you can get lumpy bits.
Once the icing has reached this stage, take it straight off the hot water.
Don’t leave, because it will form a bit of a ‘skin’ of top, so just flump loads of it all over your cake. If you have any extra, it can go into a sterilised jar into the fridge (it’s fab on toast) where it will keep for a week or two.