I already have this recipe up in Russian, but I thought I’d share it with those that can only read English. Here in Portland most probably know this cake from Papa Haydn’s, a popular spot for delicious cakes and desserts. That is where I tried this cake for the first time and I have been hooked since! Boccone Dolce is Italian for – Sweet Mouthful and sweet mouthful it is!
Back a couple of years ago when I visited the restaurant and then tried recreating this cake, there was only one or two recipes out there (online) and one of which called for 4 (!) egg whites for the whole cake. I didn’t need to make the cake to know that the recipe was not going to work. I am not sure why somebody would put out recipes that don’t work, but I tried making it with my own proportions and I think they work very well.
To those that are unfamiliar with the cake, it is made of light and airy layers of meringue, drizzled with dark chocolate, all layered with fluffy Chantilly Cream and sprinkled with berries. If that didn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will! I have been making this cake in a 1 layer, sheet cake form for all of our families get-together for years. If you’re wanting to serve this to a large crowd, 1 layer is the best. Not only is it more stable, but then you get more portions out of it too. If that is how you’d want to make it, follow the directions exactly, except where it says to lay it out on 3, 9 inch circles, lay it out on one 12×18 upside down jelly roll pan.
This cake looks very festive, make it this New Years, your guests will be truly impressed!
While this cake is pretty easy and straightforward, it is not a cake you can whip up right before you have guests arrive. You need to start making it at least 24 hours before, because the meringue layers need at least 9-12 hours to dry. You can actually bake the layers even a couple days before (3 days max), just make sure to keep them in an airtight container, for them not to absorb the moisture from the air (especially in the winter when humidity is higher)
Also, you need to assemble the cake, the same day that you intend to serve it, so that layers do not absorb too much moisture from the cream and don’t become soggy. I say, make it 4-6 hours before your guests arrive and keep it in the fridge. It is essential for the cake to absorb some moisture, because if you assemble the cake less then 4 hours before serving, the cake might be hard to cut, the layers might crack and you might have a huge mess on your hands.
The cake at the restaurant has very minimal amount of fruit, but I load mine with a ton of berries. It is up to you how much you want to put and what kind of fruit you decide to include. I like berries that do not need to be cut, because they don’t release the juices and don’t color the Chantilly cream. Most of the time I go with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. I try to stay away from the strawberry, but if you do like strawberry it’s fine, just make sure to eat it the same day.
Side note, when making the cake in a sheet cake form, you can make it the day before. The meringue layer is very thick and it even benefits from a long stay in the fridge. In this case, go only with berries that you can use whole, – raspberries, blueberries and blackberries work the best).
Boccone Dolce, Sweet Mouthful
- 12 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4tsp. cream of tartar or citric acid
- 4-5 cups heavy whipping cream (at least 33% fat content, 40% is better; you can use only 4 cups of cream) or 6-7 cups if making 12X18 rectangular shape cake
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar (1 cup if using 4 cups of cream)
- 2-3 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 100g. dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated almost to boiling point
- 500g. raspberry
- 200 g. blueberry, rinsed and dried
- 200 g. blackberry, rinsed and dried
- 1lb strawberry, rinsed & dried, sliced
- 5 ripe bananas, sliced
- or any other combination and amount of fruits/berries you like
- Turn the oven to 200 F.
- Cut out 3, 9.5-10 inch circles from parchment paper. With a marker, draw a 8 – 8.5 inch circle in the middle of each piece of parchment. Turn the parchment over and place each parchment circle over 9 inch round pan, set aside (you can use layered aluminum foil if you don’t have 3, 9 inch round pans).
- Prepare a large pastry bag (or a gallon size zip-lock bag) fitted with a large star tip. Set aside.
- Take a small zip-lock bag, open it, drape the sides over a glass/cup.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whip attachment, whip room temperature egg whites with cream of tartar/citric acid, starting with low speed and gradually increasing it as the egg whites begin to take shape and increase in volume.
- With the mixer still running and once the egg whites become white and foamy, start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form . Careful not to over whip, or you will have to start over. Over whipped meringue looks chunky and broken, whereas properly whipped meringue looks glossy and smooth.
- Fill the prepared pastry bag with meringue and in a swirl motion pipe the meringue inside the circles on the parchment paper. Place it on top of 9 inch baking pan bottoms, or upside down pans.
- Try not to get out of boundaries as the meringue will expand in the oven. Each circle should be about 3/4- 1 inch in height, if your pastry tip is not large enough to make it that tall in one layer, just make another spiral layer on top.
- side note: it’s best to make 2 thicker meringue layers and one thinner. The two thicker will be the two bottom layers and the thinner one will be on top. The two bottom layers will absorb a lot more moisture then the top, as the bottom will do so from the weight and the middle one will do so because of being surrounded by whip cream from both sides
- Place the pans in the 200F oven and dry for 10-12 hours. You can leave it in the oven overnight. The lower the temperature the whiter the meringue will be. If you can lower the oven to 180F, do so and extend the drying time.
- In a chilled bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a chilled whip attachment whip start whipping cold heavy cream, going from lower to higher speeds as it thickens. Once the cream is somewhat fluffy, add the sugar and vanilla extract and again start with low speeds and all the way to the highest speed, until the heavy cream is whipped to stiff peaks. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use (not more then 30 minutes).
- Heat the cream until boiling.
- Pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute or two and then mix with the spoon until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared zip-lock bag. Close the end and snip off the corner of the bag.
- Drizzle the chocolate over all meringue layer, place in freezer to harden, 3-4 minutes
- Reserve 2 cups of frosting for decoration and place in the fridge.
- Prepare your berries.
- On a serving dish, put a dab of Chantilly Cream, place the first meringue layer and press gently to adhere.
- Spoon or pipe 1/4 of the frosting on top of the meringue layer. Layer out the bananas and cover with 1/4 of the frosting. Layer half of all the berries on top. Press them in gently. Place a couple of dabs of cream on top for the next meringue layer to adhere.
- Place the 2nd meringue layer and repeat with the fruits.
- Place the 3rd meringue layer (thinnest) and make 8 swirls all around the edge.
- Cut strawberries in half and place one half on each swirl, sliced side up.
- Place back in the fridge immediately, until serving time.
Make the cake at least 2-3 hours before serving, but not more then 6 hours before serving.
Keep the cake in the fridge until it's almost time to serve. It's natural for the cream to separate if it stays at room temperature for too long.
Meringue layers can be made up two 2 days in advance, but must be kept in an airtight container (wrapped in shrink wrap), to prevent moisture from being absorbed by the meringue.
If the cake must be transported, let the cake sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours before doing so, otherwise the layers will start going separate ways, or the cake will crack and ooze to sides.