Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Cake // Top with Cinnamon

Three years (..and two days) since starting my blog. Man, I’m not really sure what to say!

It’s weird enough to think that I’ve been on here for 1/6 of my life when it barely feels like a few months have passed. Now I kind of wish that I’d written one of those ‘‘ emails when I’d started TWC because I can’t really remember what July 2011 was like and I’d feel WAY too awkward going back and reading my posts. Plus I always love the idea of time capsules/surprises (I went through a phase of leaving £1 in all of my coin purses that I’d forget about, so that when I eventually decided to use it again I’d discover the money and be all ‘awww yeah let’s go buy some bubble gum’).

Dunno if I’ve said this already but I told literally no-one, except my best friend, about the blog when I started it. I think it took about two or three weeks of me ‘sneaking’ around, taking photos of cakes with the crappiest camera ever before my mum eventually asked me what I was doing. I like to think that I was being subtle but evidently I really really wasn’t.

It’s all right now, the fam is in the loop. Wouldn’t that be strange though if this whole time my family didn’t know I had a blog? Wow. They might just think that I enjoyed collecting single plates and planks of wood for fun (?) and was very particular about the amount of time that they had to wait before eating anything I’d made.

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Cake // Top with Cinnamon

Food blogging is kind of peculiar…and addictive and fun! I get to bake cake and pretend there’s more of a motive than me just really wanting some whipped cream.

I made this cake for a roundup that Saveur asked me to contribute to for their 20th birthday! I figured that I might as well use it to celebrate my 3rd bloggaversary too as it’s suitably celebration-y and this way I can also give you the recipe! It’s not too difficult to make because it’s just meringue disks stacked up with ganache, whipped cream and cherries but you do have to have the oven on for over an hour (at a low temp) to dry out the disks sufficiently. So if you’re boycotting the oven for the time being (thanks July heatwave :| ), you’ll probs want to avoid making this cake right now and just look at the pictures instead.

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Cake // Top with Cinnamon

  Notes: -

To make the top meringue layer I filled a wide, plain tipped piping bag with the meringue mixture and piped little blobs in concentric circles.

- There are two possible ways of serving this cake: You can either attack it with a sharp knife and a spoon, serving it in a messy pavlova style OR freeze the cake for an hour and then slice neatly with a sharp knife which is what I did for the pics of the slices (note that freezing changes the texture of the cherries though)

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Stack Cake {gluten-free}
5 egg whites
10 oz superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
16 oz cherries, halved and pitted
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, plus extra for grating

Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until you get soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar whilst you continue to beat the egg whites until the mixture is glossy and you get stiff peaks. If the mixture is rubbed between your fingers there should be no sugar crystals - if the mixture still feels gritty keep beating it until smooth, then finally beat in the vanilla extract.

Spread the mixture out on two lined cookie sheets to form four, 6-inch diameter disks (see notes). Bake for one and a half hours in an oven preheated to 250 F (120 C) then switch the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven for a further hour.

Melt the chocolate and stir in 1/4 cup of the cream.

Whisk the rest of the cream until just thickened.

To assemble: take one meringue disk and spread a quarter of the chocolate mixture over it. Spread a quarter of the cream over this and then scatter over the cherries. Top with the next meringue stack and repeat the chocolate, cream and cherry layering until you've stacked up all the meringues. Grate a little extra chocolate over the cake for a finishing touch.

Serve immediately or freeze for an hour before slicing for a cleaner cut (see notes).

Chewy, Chocolate Chip, Coconut Granola Bars {GF, Vegan} and Pecan-Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread {Vegan} So I’m about to leave to go festival-ing at T in the Park (praying that I’m not going to get too drenched by any downpours when I’m there) for the weekend. I’ve made a couple of things this week which I had zero intention of blogging, I just instagrammed them and thought that was it. However a few people asked for the recipes and my no.1 hate is typing out recipes in Instagram comments so I thought I’d just give you a short, to the point post (hence the short and sweet title…pun-tacular!).

Have a good weekend everybody!

Read on to get the recipes!

Bumpy Cherry and Almond Pie Before I made this pie (and then ate a quarter of it during a revision break), I’d never actually eaten cherry pie before. I think this is down to two factors: I basically never bake with cherries (yo, £4.50 for a 400 g carton. I’d normally rather just eat them straight up) and I also don’t bake pie that much; check my archives, you’ll see how true this is. I adore pastry, especially this almondy, mega buttery one but I usually find that there’s just TOO much fruit in pies for my taste. I want a generous pastry:fruit ratio, man. I want butter.

Bumpy Cherry and Almond Pie

I haven’t really been around all that much pie in my lifetime, save one pie: Gooseberry pie.

As my dad grows gooseberries, my mum always ends up making pie with them (because other than making fool, there’s not much else you can do with them) using a special pastry – the amount of butter in it and the use of ground almonds makes it a verrrry delicate dough which sinks down and hugs the fruit as the pie bakes. The resulting pie has a bumpy, kinda cobblestone-y look to it which is ADORABLE. The key to success there is the large, rounded shape of the berries..

..and what’s similar between gooseberries and cherries? Their shape! So I subbed the gooseberries for whole, pitted cherries which had been soaked in amaretto (*insert thumbs up emoji*) and voila, the same bumpy pie effect was achieved.

Bumpy Cherry and Almond Pie

(Err do you see what I mean about the amount of pastry I require in order to enjoy pie?)

It was a bit more effort than I was anticipating to pit the cherries (if you don’t bake with cherries, you probably won’t own a cherry pitter…e.g. me) but I found using a paring knife and a pastry tip was easy enough. It just looked a bit like I’d had a knife accident and bled everywhere for a lil bit :/ so make sure you don an apron/don’t wear a white top if you’re in the make-shift cherry pitting game.

I think that cutting the cherries in half and removing the pits that way would also work but the bumpiness wouldn’t be as extreme soo it’s totally up to you! oH and if you DO happen to have gooseberries and wanna use them instead Go. For. It. You might just have to increase the sweetness of the filling cos gooseberries are tart az.

Otherwise I really recommend trying pie my way (I’m talking about how it’s like 50% crust) or if you really have to make it fruitier then double up the filling and just don’t tell me you did that.

Bumpy Cherry and Almond Pie

[click to continue…]

Strawberry, Peaches and Cream Popsicles with Amaretti

If you’ve been reading TWC for a year now, you’ll have witnessed the super green popsicles I made for the 2013 popsicle week – aka the best food week of the year. Billy of Wit & Vinegar is the genius behind the popsicle week idea so make sure you head on over to his site where you can check all the other popsicles that people have been making for the past 7 days alll over the internet.

Of course I’ve had one heck of a full week because when you spend a month indoors staring at biology notes it makes you tiny bit stir-crazy. So trust that I stirred that crazy up this week and now, finally on Sunday I’m able to share my popsicle creation for 2014.

Strawberry, Peaches and Cream Popsicles with Amaretti

So I also maybe only realised today that in the US, a new week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday whereas here in the UK it’s a Monday-Sunday affair (I don’t really get it – kind of like Fahrenheit and inches which I’m only accustomed to using in cooking situations. Whenever I’m in the US and someone’s like ‘and it was 40 degrees!’ I’m thinking: is that really cold? is that not so cold?…then I end up having to Google it because unless you’re saying 35o F to me, I have no clue man). Weird huh? but hey ho cultural differences make the world a more interesting place and it’s still popsicle week in my casa – it is 11.50 pm right now so only for 10 more minutes – but we can ignore that.

These pops are kind of a world away from last years’ as they’ve got full on luscious double cream going on in there but there’s still fruit! It also wouldn’t matter if you chose to replace the cream with more yogurt because I knooow it’s bikini season or whatev and I’m also going to be posting cake or possibly pie next week, so some healthier treats are probably a good shout…

Strawberry, Peaches and Cream Popsicles with Amaretti [click to continue…]

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Casarecce with Griddled Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas and Ricotta

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French Onion Soup with Mini Gruyère Toasties (aka mini grilled cheese)!

April 19, 2014

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{Celebration Time! } + Muesli Snacking Cookies, How to Make Crumpets and Earl Grey Hot Cross Buns

April 15, 2014

Well today has been a bit of an emotional high for me. You know Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards I was talking about last week? Yeah. You know how I was finalist in the Baking & Desserts category? Well I’m absolutely stunned and honoured to say that Top With Cinnamon is the Editors’ Choice winner! […]

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Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

April 6, 2014

It’s no secret to people who know me that I am a stress-eater. PMS-ing: Time for chocolate. 60 billion pieces of homework due for tomorrow: Give me all of the shortbread please. Exams: Ima cry-eat this brownie. And as a particularly daunting round of exams is looming, it probably won’t be surprising to find me […]

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