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

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Notes

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 (16)

125 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 26
  • 4 star values: 15
  • 3 star values: 52
  • 2 star values: 23
  • 1 star values: 9
Rating: 5 stars
05/26/2018
The best cake in the world - my absolute favorite. I personally like it the gooey-delicious way it comes out with the cook time allotted by the recipe. I love it so much that after I became vegan, I figured out how to make it (it's probably over fifty percent eggs!) with a ground chia-chickpea egg substitute and an aquafaba meringue. Still delish.
Rating: Unrated
02/15/2013
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!
Rating: Unrated
01/01/2013
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.
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Rating: Unrated
03/09/2012
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!
Rating: Unrated
07/07/2011
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.
Rating: Unrated
01/16/2011
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 ;)
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Rating: Unrated
08/03/2010
could peanuts be used in place of hazlenuts?
Rating: Unrated
06/24/2010
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?
Rating: Unrated
04/28/2010
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.
Rating: Unrated
12/28/2009
Do I need to make the meringue in a bowl over hot water?
Rating: Unrated
02/03/2009
An delicious, decadent and impressive looking cake. One of my families favorite deserts by far, and not too difficult to make!
Rating: Unrated
09/06/2008
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)
Rating: Unrated
05/11/2008
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!
Rating: Unrated
03/21/2008
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!
Rating: Unrated
03/05/2008
We love this cake. Easy for me and I'm no expert. Have made this three times and will make it again tonight.
Rating: Unrated
02/27/2008
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.