Dacquoise is an almond or hazelnut meringue usually baked and stacked in layers filled with fresh cream, buttercream or ganache. You think you’ve seen it all when it comes to cakes? Think again!
Dacquoise vs. meringue
Dacquoise and meringue are both French desserts made with beaten egg whites, but they differ in their composition and texture. Dacquoise is a nut meringue, while meringue is made just with whipped egg whites and sugar. Dacquoise is denser than meringue and has a chewy texture. Meringue is lighter and has a crisp texture.
To make dacquoise, you mix French meringue with almond or hazelnut flour and some icing sugar, pipe it into a disc or pour it into a ring mould, and bake it. The result is slightly crispy on the outside, very soft and a bit chewy from the inside, but still resembling a kind of a biscuit base.
Meringue is made by whipping egg whites until they are stiff and then adding sugar. The mixture is then piped or spooned onto a baking sheet and baked at low temperature until it is crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside.
A new kind of birthday cake
I have made a good few birthday cakes in my time, most of them completely original – none of that looks-pretty-tastes-s@*t nonsense. Chocolate cakes, sponge cakes, almond cakes and walnut cakes, genoises and viennoises, millefeuille and shortcrust, layered with buttercream, cream, custard, jam, ganache, mousse, fruit and praline.
I’m always up for a challenge – like when I tried to microwave a meringue layer – and I might not be the best stylist in the world, but I sure can think of a good flavour combination or two.
And this is certainly one of the best: fool proof meringue-style layers, fresh cream filling that just needs softly whipping and the only finicky bit: homemade glace cherries which at a very hard push can be swapped for shop-bought maraschino cherries. Those will be far more expensive but whatever suits you.
If you decide to make your own, you can easily make a surplus of the cherries which can boost breakfast porridge or plain vanilla ice cream as the cherries will keep well in a tightly closed jar in the fridge.
How to make dacquoise cake layers?
It’s easy and reliable: egg whites are beaten to soft peaks, then caster sugar is added until we obtain soft meringue. Icing sugar stirred with ground almonds is then folded in to make airy batter.
I then pipe the mix onto parchment circles or circles drawn on the parchment lining a baking tray. It might seem like a chore, and if you wholeheartedly detest piping, remember that it isn’t strictly necessary, it just helps get a uniformly thick layer. Feel free to dollop the mix onto the parchment and spread it with a spatula or a palette knife.
Dacquoise base layers bake in an oven slightly hotter than for meringue, but like the latter, they need to be left in the oven until they, and it, completely cools down, perhaps overnight.
How to make the cherry filling?
For homemade candied cherries, whole pitted cherries, and it’s perfectly fine to use frozen, thawed ones when out of season, should be boiled vigorously in a sugar syrup until thickened and reduced.
When cooled down, strain them with a slotted spoon but do keep the syrup for drinks, breakfast toppings and other desserts.
The filling is just whipped cream - don’t be tempted to add sugar to it, the whole gateau is going to be plenty sweet as it is.
Fold cherries into the cream, reserving some for decoration and pile onto the base layers. And some dark chocolate, melted and funkily drizzled all over will be the final touch.
This cherry dacquoise should sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving, so that the cream softens the base layers a little.
More cherry cake recipes
Easy cherry sponge cake with fresh cherries lightly roasted; the base is gently prebaked and the end result is pure, gorgeous dessert.
Summer cherry cake with a hint of cinnamon and minimal effort involved. This cake mix is pathetically simple – it takes 5 minutes to prepare and always comes out well.
Upside-down cherry cake with fresh cherries and buttery sponge, baked in a tart or flan case. That way the ratio of fruit to batter is more balanced!
More meringue based gateau recipes
Coconut angel food cake, with a zesty touch of lime flavour. Angel food cake base, whipped coconut cream filling and toasted coconut flakes to decorate – for the coconut lover in your life’s next birthday.
Andalusia, lemon and chocolate torte or entrement is the ultimate chocolate experience. A challenging, but possible to replicate at home Parisian confection from La Maison Du Chocolat.
King Oscar II cake is also known as Swedish almond tart. It's an almond macaron style cake filled with almond buttercream, easy to make and absolutely delightful.