Guest chef

Debbie Major

Cook, writer and food stylist, Debbie's reputation for foolproof, delicious recipes is second to none. She is renowned for her dedication to seasonal home cooking and her love of all things rustic and authentic. Simplicity over cheffy is her motto!

Chocolate sponge and meringue layer cake

  • Serves 8-10
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Total time 1 hr, plus cooling
3.4/5 rating (23 votes)
Chocolate sponge and meringue layer cake
Chocolate sponge and meringue layer cake

step by step

  • 1Preheat the oven to 160°C, fan 140°C, gas 3. Grease and base-line two 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins (about 5-6cm deep) with baking paper.
  • 2Sift the flour and baking powder together with a pinch of salt. Mix the cocoa powder with the coffee into a paste and leave to cool.
  • 3Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl for 3 minutes. Because of the high proportion of sugar it won't go pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour with the second and third egg, to stop the mixture from curdling. Mix in the cocoa mixture, then gently fold in the rest of the flour. Divide the mixture between the two tins.
  • 4In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites into just stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Carefully spread half of the meringue mixture over the top of each cake, leaving a 2.5cm border free around the edge of the tin. This will give the meringue room to expand. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of one cake comes away clean. Remove and leave to cool in the tins.
  • 5Carefully turn out the cakes, taking care not to break the meringue. Place one cake, meringue-side up onto a serving plate. Whip the cream with the coffee mixture into soft peaks and spread half of it over the cake. Top with the other cake, then spoon over the remaining whipped cream, dust with the icing sugar, then lightly with cocoa powder. Cut into slices to serve.
  • Recipe photograph by Mowie Kay

Get ahead

Make the cakes up to a few hours ahead.

You will need

For the sponge:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 225ml freshly made coffee (from a cafetière)
  • 100g very soft butter
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs

For the meringue topping:

  • 3 medium egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar

For the cream:

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
  • icing sugar and cocoa powder, for dusting

+ Nutritional Information