Chocolate Meringue Cake: Preheat oven
to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or
spray with a non stick vegetable spray) and line the bottoms of two - 8 x 1 1/2
inches (20 x 3.75 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover
the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature
before using (about 30 minutes).
In a large bowl
the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt.
electric mixer, or hand mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar
and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a
time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl
and then beat in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low
speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning
and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake
pans. Set aside while you make the meringue layer.
a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and
continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to
whip until stiff peaks form.
Evenly divide the meringue and place
on top of the cake batter in the two pans, gently smoothing the tops with an offset spatula.
Bake for approximately
25 - 30 minutes, or until a
toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The meringue
layers will have turned a light brown and will be crisp to the touch but soft
inside. Place the pans on a wire rack to
cool. When completely cooled, gently remove from pans.
Filling: Shortly before serving whip the
cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, toss the
berries with a little sugar, if desired.
If using strawberries, cut them into bite sized pieces. Place one of the cake
layers, meringue side up, on a serving platter. Spread the whipping cream onto
the cake and top with the berries. Gently place the second cake layer, cake side
down so the meringue layer is facing up, onto the first layer. Dust with
confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar. If not eating immediately, cover and
place in the refrigerator until serving time. The assembled cake will hold in
the refrigerator for a few hours.
Serves 8 - 10.