I actually do not enjoy making cakes that much. I love indulgent cakes and patisserie, but it is one of those things that I really cannot be that bothered with, also I am still searching for that elusive perfect indulgent chocolate cake that is both easy to make, keeps well and is relatively inexpensive.
This year my Easter cake is a twist on a cream filled chocolate cake – and combines two of my favourite fuss-free puddings – no churn ice cream and a pavlova. This chocolate ice cream and meringue cake ticks all my boxes, firstly the effort to glory ratio – it took about 30 minutes hands on time – it needs no specialist equipment (I reckon you can eyeball the measurements if you do not have scales), the ingredients are available in the corner shop, the quantities needed mean there are no odd amounts left over, you can make it in advance and any leftovers can be put back in the freezer. A win on all fronts surely?
I am in love with no churn ice cream. You need two basic ingredients, add some flavourings and the only limit is your imagination. Hands on time about 10 minutes, then freeze overnight and dig in. No need to get the ice cream maker out, remember to freeze the bowl in advance or find the space for it in the freezer
Meringue is similarly easy – there really is no need to be scared of it. My top tips for fuss free meringue are make sure that the bowl is squeaky clean with not a speck of grease and not to use freshly laid eggs. I nearly always have egg whites in the freezer (pour them into a silicon cupcake case – freeze then pack into a plastic tub).
For my Easter chocolate ice cream and meringue cake I froze my ice cream into cake tins, baked a disc of pavlova, layered them up and topped with chocolate truffles and mini meringues. I’ve used ingredients including Fairtrade chocolate and Marc de Champagne Truffles from the Co-Operative Food Home Baking Range. You do need to make the ice cream the day before you want to serve this – although you might just get away with making it first thing if serving it in the evening.
- 200 ml of condensed milk half a tin
- 100 g Fairtrade dark chocolate
- 3 heaped tbs low fat yoghurt
- 300 ml double cream
- 50 ml semi skimmed milk
- 2 free range egg whites
- 100 g caster sugar or one and a half times the weight of egg white
Double line two 6''/15cm cake tins with cling film, using enough to generously hang over the edge. Press the cling film to the inside of the tins.
To make the ice cream pour the condensed milk (freeze the 2nd half of the tin for the next batch of no churn ice cream) into a pan, add the chocolate and gently heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Fold in the yoghurt.
Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until it holds a peak. Add in the milk and whisk again briefly. Fold in the condensed milk and chocolate mixture. Once mixed pour into the prepared tins, smooth with a spatula, loosely cover with the clingfilm and put into the freezer.
Draw a 6'' / 15cm circle as a guide on a piece of paper, and place on a baking tray, under a sheet of baking paper or silicon mat.
With an electric mixer whisk the egg whites until frothy and then add the sugar a spoon at a time whisking between each spoonful. Carry on whisking until the mixture is smooth, white and glossy and holds a peak.
Spread about half of the mixture out onto your template circle, smoothing it into a flat disc. Use a teaspoon to make mini walnut sized meringue with the remainder of the mixture.
Place in an oven pre heated to GM2 / 300F / 150C, immediately turn the oven down to GM1 / 275F / 140C. Cook for about 40 – 50 mins. When the meringue is hard and sounds hollow when lightly tapped, turn the oven off and allow to cool inside the oven.
Place one of the discs of chocolate ice cream on a pretty plate or cake stand, top with the meringue disc and the second disc of ice cream. Gently press down to lightly crush the meringue. Top with chocolate truffles and mini meringues. Serve immediately.
Crush the meringue in any leftovers, decant into a tub and return to the freezer and serve as ice cream.