Coffee and chestnut meringue cake

Rich chocolate cake is layered with gooey coffee and chestnut mousse and coated with soft meringue. A gloriously decadent treat.


For the chocolate cake
  • 12 free-range eggs
  • 350g/12oz caster sugar
  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 100g/3½oz cocoa powder
  • 85g/3oz butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
For the coffee mousse
  • 400ml/14fl oz double cream
  • 5 tbsp cold strong coffee
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar, sieved
  • 250g/9oz mascarpone, softened
For the chestnut mousse
  • 250g/9oz mascarpone
  • 225g/8oz sweetened chestnut purée
  • 300ml/10fl oz double cream
  • 6-8 tbsp brandy
  • 4-6 large meringue nests, crumbled
For the Italian meringue
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 100ml/3½fl oz water
  • 4 free-range eggs, whites only
  • holly, to garnish

Preparation method

  1. For the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Lightly grease and line the base of a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed cake tin.

  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl for 4-5 minutes, or until thick and pale.

  3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a separate bowl then gently fold them into the egg and sugar mixture until just combined and stir in the melted butter.

  4. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, lightly smoothing over the top. Place the tin onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen and is springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, allow to cool briefly then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. At this stage, whisk the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until firm peaks form when the whisk is removed.

  6. Continue heating the sugar syrup and as soon as it reaches 121C/250F remove the pan from the heat.

  7. Immediately resume whisking the egg whites with the beater at its lowest speed then pour in the sugar syrup in a steady stream. (CAUTION: Ensure the syrup is clear of the beaters to prevent it being splashed on your hands.)

  8. Continue beating for about five minutes or until the meringue is tepid.

  9. To assemble, cut the chocolate cake horizontally into five pieces, placing the bottom piece onto the serving plate.

  10. Spoon over 1-2 tbsp of the brandy then spread over half the coffee mousse then scatter over a quarter of the crumbled meringue nests.

  11. Place another piece of sponge on top, sprinkle with another 1-2 tbsp brandy then spread with half the chestnut mousse another quarter of the meringue.

  12. Repeat these layers, finishing with a layer of sponge.

  13. Spread the Italian meringue over the sides and top of the sponge stack, forking the meringue to make little peaks.

  14. Using a blow torch, glaze the meringue until just golden-brown and garnish with holly.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen Best Bites

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

1 to 2 hours cooking time

Serves 8-10