This luscious chocolate dessert is covered with ganache and topped with fluffy meringue.

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Ingredients

For the Cake Layers

For the Ganache Filling

For the Ganache Glaze

For the Topping

Directions

  • Make the cake layers: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Dust with flour, and tap out excess; set aside. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. Let cool completely. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

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  • Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Mix in buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the eggs, 2 at a time. Add melted chocolate; mix until smooth.

  • Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool on wire racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and remove parchment. Let cool completely on racks.

  • Meanwhile, make the ganache filling: Bring cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate in a heatproof mixer bowl; stir until smooth. Let cool completely. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until mixture reaches a medium stiff consistency, 2 to 5 minutes, checking frequently. If it does not reach this consistency, chill in freezer up to 5 minutes, then continue beating.

  • Assemble cake: Trim rounded tops of cakes flat. Stir together 1 1/2 cups filling and the almonds; spread over one cake layer. Top with second layer, and spread remaining filling over top and sides. Smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until filling is very firm, 1 to 2 hours.

  • Meanwhile, make the ganache glaze: Bring cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate in a bowl; stir until smooth. Let cool completely.

  • Transfer assembled cake to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake all at once, using a spatula to push it over edges and down sides. (This must be done in one pour or the coating will have drips.) Refrigerate until set, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.

  • Make the topping: Put egg whites and sugar into a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture reaches 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 7 to 10 minutes. Mound meringue on top of cake; swirl decoratively. Serve.

Cook's Notes

For the best results, use a chocolate with a high butterfat content, such as Callebaut. Cakes can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic, up to 2 days.

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