Serves 16 | total time
For the meringue bones
- 2 large egg whites
- 120g caster sugar
For the cake
- 400g unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 200g cook’s Belgian white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 8 large eggs
- 400g caster sugar
- 400g self-raising flour
- 350g raspberries, fresh or frozen
For the white chocolate ganache and filling
- 650g cook’s Belgian white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 450ml double cream
- a few drops of rosewater, to taste
- 6 tbsp raspberry jam
- a bunch of fresh dark-red roses
The meringue bones will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Make the cakes and the ganache a day in advance – the ganache needs to be chilled, but return it to room temperature before assembling.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C, fan 150°C, gas 3 and line two baking sheets with baking paper. Use a pencil to draw as many 12cm long lines on the baking paper as possible (you need at least 30 in total), spacing them about 3cm apart. Flip the baking paper over to avoid contaminating the meringue with pencil.
- For the meringue bones, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric mixer, then add the sugar 1 tablespoonful at a time, whisking constantly. Whisk until the sugar is incorporated and you have a stiff, glossy meringue.
- Fill a piping bag, fitted with a 10-12mm wide piping nozzle, with the meringue and pipe long thin bones no thicker than your little finger. Once you've piped all the lines, add a large pea-sized blob at each end, dragging the blobs towards the line to create a neat bone. Repeat until the meringue is used up. Put the bones into the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 140°C, fan 120°C, gas 1. Bake the meringues for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes until bone dry (pun intended!) and they come away from the baking paper easily. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Set the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease and line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.
- To make 2 layers of sponge at a time, put 200g butter and 100g white chocolate in a large heatproof mixing bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water and allow to melt slowly, stirring occasionally. When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then beat in 4 eggs and 200g caster sugar. Fold in 200g flour, then gently fold in 175g raspberries (if using frozen, there's no need to defrost them before use).
- Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (the raspberries may leave a residue on the skewer, so don't be fooled by their juiciness). Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make the second batch of cakes in the same way, re-line the cake tins and bake as before.
- For the ganache, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a medium saucepan and set over a high heat. As soon as the cream starts to bubble at the edges, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for 5 seconds before pouring it over the chocolate. Allow the cream to melt the chocolate for 10 seconds, then whisk to a smooth, glossy ganache, adding a little rosewater to taste. If there are still a few lumps of chocolate, set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a cold bowl so that it cools more quickly. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Once it has cooled and thickened, whisk the mixture until it is thick enough to spread.
- To assemble, place one of the cake layers onto a cake stand and spread about 4 tablespoons of the ganache on top – don't apply it too thickly. Spread 2 tablespoons of the jam over the ganache then repeat with the second and third layers of cake. Place the fourth layer of cake on top and spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides – a small, offset spatula is the best tool, and I find it useful to do one very scant coating first, chill the cake for 20 minutes, then finish it off with a thicker coat. You may need to soften the ganache a little first by setting the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.
- Place the bones onto the sides of the cake vertically, pressing them into the icing – and don't be neat with this; have you ever seen a neat pile of bones? Add a few broken bits too, if you want. Decorate the top of the cake with fresh roses and leaves, removing them before eating.
Though white chocolate ordinarily belongs in heavenly realms, this white chocolate bridezilla cake couldn't be more hellish. From its ghoulish appearance, to the ghostly crunch of the meringue bones, this is a cake that will haunt your dreams.