Daylight Savings does something strange to me. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, it's where during Summer we wind back the clocks and get some extra sunshine so that daylight extends to about 8pm every night. I recall explaining the concept to some schoolchildren in Japan who looked at me like I was completely bonkers and I'm sure muttered to themselves about how could Australians mess around with nature and time like that. Nevertheless, during Winter all I want to do is hide under the quilt. In Summer, when the sun is shining, I'm prone to some evening baking, my body and mind being fooled into thinking it's still the afternoon and I've got energy to spare.
This is barely a cake, more a gigantic chocolate truffle in cake form with a marshmallowy meringue base. Which is why of course I thought it was perfect to make this warm Spring evening when I only needed to turn the oven on for 20 minutes to do the base. I added Lavender as I love mixing floral flavours with cakes but of course you could leave it out altogether and substitute the Glucose Syrup and Lavender essence with Nigella's original 60ml Rum and 60ml Golden syrup.
I had forgotten (probably deliberately) that I had made this cake before. I made it years ago when Feast first came out and I made it in white chocolate form. I recalled something a bit odd about this cake. What it was was the texture. Instead of making it a smooth creamy truffle base, it became lumpy. This was because I'd let the chocolate cool too much before folding in the cream so the chocolate seized so don't wait or delay when mixing the two. A quick consultation with Y confirmed this.
It's very rich, need I say that so serving a small slice might be more prudent than a large, however it is also silkily good and smooth. Out of the fridge it's firmer and more cake like but in the heat be mindful of the fact that it can melt quickly (but still hold its shape somewhat). I suspect that won't be a problem for most, a cake this good doesn't stick around to melt.
Chocolate Lavender Meringue Truffle Cake
For Meringue base:
- 1 egg white
- 50g caster sugar (I used some Lavender Sugar I had stashed away from the Lavender cupcakes)
- 2 teaspoons cocoa sieved
- a few drops of white vinegar
For Truffle filling:
- 600ml cream
- 600g dark chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon Lavender essence
- 60ml glucose or sugar syrup
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan forced. For the base, line the base of a springform tin (20cms) with baking paper and oil sides with a mild flavoured oil (almond or grapeseed). Whip egg white in a clean bowl with a clean whisk with no traces of oil at all. I don't bother using the Kitchenaid for this as it's just 1 egg white, it's easier to use a hand whisk as the KitchenAid doesn't pick up on something as small as 1 egg white. After softish peaks form, add sugar spoonful by spoonful until it becomes full and glossy.
Beating the cocoa powder into the meringue base
Step 2 - Sift cocoa powder over and whisk in thoroughly and then add vinegar. Spread over bottom carefully and bake for 15-20 minutes. While cooling, make truffle filling.
Step 3 - For the filling, melt chocolate. Add cream and beat in well. Then beat in lavender essence. Smooth filling on top of the meringue base. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
Adapted from _Feast _by Nigella Lawson