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Chocolate Meringue Cake

This cake has delicious twists and turns from it crackly top and hidden hazelnut center to its chocolatey finish.

  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake
Chocolate Meringue Cake

Photography: Anna Williams

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2003


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • All-purpose flour, for pan
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 6 large whole eggs, separated
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled, plus 4 ounces roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum, optional
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup superfine sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-3-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment, and sprinkle with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.

  2. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and skins start to crack, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; rub vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to take off skins. Let cool; roughly chop. Set aside.

  3. Make cake batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, and rum, if using; beat until combined. Set aside.

  4. In a clean mixer bowl, combine 6 egg whites and salt; using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining beaten egg whites just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, make meringue: Combine hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, and cornstarch in a small bowl, and set aside. Place remaining 4 egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean mixer bowl; using a clean whisk attachment, beat on high speed until frothy. With mixer running, slowly add superfine sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Fold in hazelnut mixture.

  6. Remove cake from oven. Using an offset spatula, spread meringue mixture on top of cake, and return to oven. Bake until meringue is lightly browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let stand 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and release sides of pan. Let cool, about 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.

Cook's Note

This cake is just as delicious without the meringue topping; bake the chocolate until it is crackling and slightly firm, 40 to 45 minutes.

Reviews (15)

  • Danielle_S 15 Feb, 2013

    I made this for a birthday dinner and it was through the roof amazing! I cooked the base cake a little longer as others had mentioned. The prep for this recipe is a little longer then i generally like when i bake BUT it was so worth the extra steps- people were and still are raving about this recipe! It will be my new special birthday treat! I served it with whip cream and raspberries- yum yum yum! Stop reading the reviews and go make this cake!

  • KirstinP 1 Jan, 2013

    I made this recipe for tonight's New Year's celebration and succeeded completely. What a fabulous cake!!! I read the reviews ahead of making the cake and knew to bake the chocolate cake a little longer (about 10 minutes more and it still was a little wiggly inside). After having added the meringue I baked it another 35-40 minutes until a wooden test stick came out almost clean. The cake was delicious and looked just like in the picture. The longer prep time was well worth it.

  • mmilgram 9 Mar, 2012

    I did it and looks exactly like the picture, will try tonight for dinner. The timing was perfect for both cake and meringue (I have a convection oven).
    I used chocolate 70% cacao and changed the hazelnut for nuts. looks delicious, cant wait to try!

  • kaylarae 7 Jul, 2011

    Delicious! Almost more than a pudding than a cake I found though. I would bake it longer before topping with meringue, mine was almost raw in the middle using the posted baking time.

  • B_Lauzon 16 Jan, 2011

    This cake was yummy, at first I used percartened egg whites and the meringue didn't peek so definitively always use fresh egg whites. But that could just be my own rookie mistake. Will definitively make this for my next dinner party or family gathering all of us are chocoholics ;)

  • melkalk 3 Aug, 2010

    could peanuts be used in place of hazlenuts?

  • heschme 24 Jun, 2010

    Does anyone know if you can make the chocolate portion of the cake ahead of time and then just add add the meringue portion and bake for 30 mins before serving? I want to bring this to a dinner party and I don't have time to make it all right before the party...any suggestions?

  • ikiniki 28 Apr, 2010

    Absolutely fabulously delicious. It's best eaten warm. Next time I'll make it in a 10" pan. And Frangelico instead of rum would be nice, too.

  • cutekamichama 28 Dec, 2009

    Do I need to make the meringue in a bowl over hot water?

  • alliec1 3 Feb, 2009

    An delicious, decadent and impressive looking cake. One of my families favorite deserts by far, and not too difficult to make!

  • avinoam 6 Sep, 2008

    I made this for a friend's birthday. It looked really good and the taste was nice, although the inside of the chocolte cake was less firm and poured out when people sliced it.. The cake jiggled when I took it out of the oven but I was afraid to over cook it.
    It also took me a very long time to make.. Maybe it's just me, but it took me about 2-3 hours.. (maybe also because I did a bigger cake- 26 cm- and I needed to put 30% more ingredients)

  • jasang 11 May, 2008

    This cake is fabulous! It tastes great, is amazingly decadent and looks fabulous! I served mine with fresh raspberries heaped in the middle, lightly dusted with icing sugar.

    I did, however, have to bake both the cake and the meringue for longer than as per recommended above, as they were still jiggly at 25mins and 30mins. Temperature used was as instructed. All in all, it took almost 2 hours to bake, but it still came out perfect - crispy outside, moist and chewy in the middle!

  • tiffanyburns 21 Mar, 2008

    Made this cake for a birthday party and it was a huge success. Everyone couldn't wait for the meal to get over so they could taste it! One note on the meringue, I cooked my cake for an EXTRA 30 minutes over the total bake time. So 25 for the cake, add the meringue and another 55 minutes. I wanted to make sure the meringue would crisp since it looked jiggly every time I checked it (and my oven it spot on temp). It ended up perfect and will definitely make again!

  • msachitano 5 Mar, 2008

    We love this cake. Easy for me and I'm no expert. Have made this three times and will make it again tonight.

  • nayeli 27 Feb, 2008

    I had a hard time getting my meringue to crisp. The cake was tasty but very, very rich. A little too rich for my blood. Great for chocolate addicts though. It was a nice change from what I normally bake, however I probably wouldn't make this again. Perhaps I might try the same concept with a different method.

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