Chocolate Meringue Mousse Cake
This cake is neither too sweet nor too rich, with a deeply chocolatey mousse-like center, beneath a thin crackly layer of cocoa-dusted meringue. What’s not to love?
Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Butter and line an 8 inch (20 cm) springform or loose-bottom cake pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, combine the chocolate, butter, and salt and heat until melted and combined. Alternatively, gently melt in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Let cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla paste or extract until thick, pale, and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. In a separate medium bowl, or using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment over medium-high speed, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly between each addition, until you have a thick and glossy mixture that holds itself in stiff peaks, about 2 minutes more. Pour the chocolate and butter mixture into the whisked egg yolks and gently mix together with a spatula.
Use a metal spoon to gradually fold in the egg whites, taking care not to knock out all of the air. Once all of the egg white has been completely mixed in, spoon the mixture into your prepared cake pan.
Bake until lightly crisp on top but slightly wobbly when you give the pan a little tap, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Carefully remove cake from pan and move to a plate.
Dust with cocoa powder and cut into slices. Serve with fresh berries and some crème fraîche or whipped cream.