Coffee-Peanut Meringue Cake

Peanut-Coffee Meringue Layer Cake

In this nutty mix-up of the traditional French dacquoise, almonds and hazelnuts are swapped out for finely chopped peanuts. Roasted notes from coffee in the buttercream complement the peanut meringue, and the creamy-crunchy combination leads to a divine sensory experience.

Coffee Peanut Meringue

Coffee-Peanut Meringue Cake
 
Makes 1 (6-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 5 large egg whites (150 grams), room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (98 grams) very finely chopped dry-roasted lightly salted peanuts (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • Coffee German Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: very roughly chopped dry-roasted lightly salted peanuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C). Using a permanent marker, trace 6 (6-inch) circles ¾ inch apart on 2 sheets of nonstick parchment paper; turn parchment over, and place on 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at medium-high speed until foamy. Add sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating until glossy, stiff peaks form and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Gently fold in one-third of finely chopped peanuts and vanilla bean paste just until combined; gently fold in remaining finely chopped peanuts in two additions just until combined.
  3. Working quickly, spoon meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip (Wilton No. 2A). Starting from outer edge of drawn circles and moving inward, quickly pipe meringue mixture onto prepared parchment. Using a small offset spatula, gently smooth, fill, and level meringue rounds where necessary.
  4. Bake until golden, dry, and mostly firm to the touch (meringues will continue to firm as they cool), 2 to 3 hours (see Notes), rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cool completely on pans on wire racks.
  5. Place a cooled meringue round on a serving plate. Using a small offset spatula, spread ¾ cup (126 grams) Coffee German Buttercream onto meringue round. Top with second meringue round; spread ¾ cup (126 grams) buttercream on top. Repeat procedure three times, and top with remaining meringue round, flat side down. Spread remaining buttercream on top and sides of stacked meringue rounds. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with roughly chopped peanuts, if desired. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Notes
Dry-roasted peanuts are the best choice for this cake, as the dry-roasting method uses heat without additional oil. This reduces the chance of deflating the meringue, keeping the airy matrix fluffy before it is baked into crispy cake layers.
On very humid days, meringue rounds could take up to 30 minutes longer to bake. Be sure to judge by doneness qualifiers, not just time.
PRO TIP-Plan to serve the same day to get the crispest layers, as the meringue will soften over time in the refrigerator.

 

 

Coffee German Buttercream
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cups (267 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (40 grams) cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 2 large egg yolks (37 grams)
  • 1½ cups (360 grams) whole milk
  • 1½ tablespoons (19.5 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2⅔ cups (604 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup (12 grams) dark-roast instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add eggs and egg yolks; whisk until well combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat, stirring frequently, until steaming. (Do not boil.) Gradually whisk warm milk into sugar mixture. Return mixture to saucepan; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, slightly lumpy, and starting to bubble, about 4 minutes. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla. (Mixture should now be smooth.) Pour into a large baking dish. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
  3. Let custard stand at room temperature for 40 minutes; stir until smooth and softened.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, smooth, and light, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add custard, about 1 to 2 tablespoons (16 to 36 grams) at a time, beating until combined after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together coffee granules and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water until granules are dissolved.
  6. Switch to the whisk attachment. Add coffee mixture to butter mixture, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Use immediately.

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