Chocolate Cake with Meringue Filling and Brown Sugar-Chocolate Frosting

Let’s get one thing out the way first: this is NOT a dense chocolate cake. This is a light-as-air, melt-in-you-mouth chocolate cake and it’s probably my all-time favorite chocolate cake. I adapted this recipe from Bon Appétit’s Cocoa Layer Cake which I have made over and over with perfect results every time. And every-time I eat this cake I fall in love with it all over again. I knew I wanted to do something a little different for my husband’s birthday, so I modified this recipe by adding a Meringue Filling. I can’t tell you just how extraordinarily delicious this cake is, you’ll have to make it and find out for yourself. Enjoy!


Chocolate Cake (from Bon Appétit’s Cocoa Layer Cake):

1/2 cup high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (Recommended: Valrhona)

1/2 cup buttermilk (I haven’t tried using “soured milk” – milk with vinegar – as a substitute, so I can’t promise the cake will turn out the same)

1 cup lukewarm water, divided

1 1/2 cups cake flour (Recommend: Presto)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 3 8″ round springform cake pans with parchment paper. Butter the pans and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of water with the cocoa powder to form a paste. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the buttermilk. Set aside.
  4. Sift together your cake flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  6. Add the cocoa mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  7. Alternating with the buttermilk mixture, add the flour mixture in 3 additions. Scrape the bottom of the bowl as needed to ensure a smooth, uniform batter.
  8. Divide the batter, evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and let cool completely. (Note: These cakes are very fragile! Resist the temptation to remove them from the pan bottoms to cool faster. They should be handled as little as possible while hot.)

Brown Sugar-Chocolate Frosting (from Bon Appétit’s Cocoa Layer Cake):

10 tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (Recommended: Valrhona)

1 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the heavy cream and stir until the mixture is very hot and starts to bubble along the edges. Reduce the heat to low and stir for one more minute.
  4. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour the frosting into a bowl and refrigerate, stirring periodically until thickened.
  5. It might be easier to keep it a tad liquid for spreading it over the cake.

Meringue Filling:

3 large egg whites, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp light corn syrup

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, water and corn syrup. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (not touching), and stir constantly until an instant-read thermometer reads 160˚F.
  2. Remove the bowl from the heat and using the whisk attachment on your electric mixture, beat on high until fluffy, glossy and the mixture holds stiff peaks.
  3. Use immediately. Spread a 1/2-in thick layer of meringue on the top of the bottom layer. Add the second layer of cake and repeat. Add the third layer of cake and using the remaining meringue to frost the top and side of the cakes.
  4. Carefully spread the brown sugar-chocolate frosting over the finished cake and serve. Enjoy!



  1. grove good girl ganash says:

    Looks like a bit of chocolate heaven! Must try it soon!

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