A Dacquoise is a hazelnut meringue cake layered with fresh cream and sometimes fruit. For me it wins on all levels, it looks like a celebration cake should, it tastes amazing, it’s gluten-free AND it’s pretty easy to make.
I like the combination of chocolate and nuts, and in this recipe you will be making your own hazelnut and chocolate paste to fold through softly whipped cream, but feel free to be creative. You could layer with fresh cream and berries just as easily as you could use lemon curd between the meringue. This cake is best made a day ahead and chilled in the fridge overnight prior to serving. The meringue will soften and be utterly delectable to eat. If you are making this for Christmas feel free to add your preferred liquor to the cream to give it an extra christmassy punch. I made it as a birthday cake, hence the old school candles on top in the pictures.
150gm ground hazelnuts
3 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
200gm castor sugar
5 egg whites
Preheat oven to 180C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper and trace a 20cm circle on each using a dinner plate or round cake tin. I made the recipe twice in order to get 6 meringue’s, but feel free to make 3 it will be ample layers (I was just going for a bit of height.) Mix hazelnuts, cornflour and 1/4 cup of the castor sugar and set aside. Using a stand mixer mix egg whites until stiff peaks form. With the motor running add the remaining castor sugar in 3 batches until you have a glossy meringue. Fold in hazelnut mixture lightly but thoroughly. Divide between baking trays and spread to cover marked circles, alternatively use a piping bag with your largest nozzle and pipe mixture in a circle onto baking paper. Bake for 20mins until meringues are biscuit coloured. Allow to cool on trays for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Make Chocolate Hazelnut Cream.
Place one meringue layer on a flat serving plate or cake stand (I like to use a cake stand that has a fitted glass cover) and spread with a third of the chocolate hazelnut cream. Top with a second meringue layer and spread with another third of the filling. Settle the final meringue layer (or continue until you get to the final meringue layer if you have made more than three) on top and spread with the remaining cream. Finish by sprinkling with chopped hazelnuts and grated dark chocolate.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cream
1/3 cup pure icing sugar
100gm 70% cocoa chocolate
1 cup cream softly whipped*
Extra hazelnuts and chocolate for topping
*if you are making more than 3 meringue layers you might like to make double the quantity.
Preheat oven to 180C. Dry-roast hazelnuts and remove skins, I do this by rubbing the nuts in a clean tea-towel. Process nuts and icing sugar to an oily paste in a food processor. It will take several minutes and you will need to keep scraping down the sides. Melt chocolate either in microwave or over a saucepan of just simmering water. Add chocolate to nut mixture and blend until smooth, transfer to a clean bowl and fold in cream thoroughly.