S'mores Custard Cake


Every summer, I have to make a s'mores dessert. There's just something about the summer and the warm weather than makes me crave that graham cracker-chocolate-toasted marshmallow combo. Theres just no beating it. 

Way back in 2013, it was a s'mores tart. Last year, it was s'mores cream puffs. This year, I think I may have really outdone myself with this s'mores custard cake. I don't even know if I can make another s'mores dessert that isn't this cake because this is the pinnacle of s'mores reincarnations.




There's all kinds of s'mores things around the internet. I mean, s'mores might be one of the most popular flavour combos to exist based on all the different things you can do with chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. Most are pretty straight forward and that's awesome because hey, original s'mores are as straight forward as it gets. There's nothing fancy about two graham crackers, a toasted marshmallow, and a square of chocolate. But that's the fun part about taking the flavours of something and making it into something different. You can take the flavours and the textures and kick it up a notch and turn it into something really extra special. It doesn't mean it's better than the original, it's just a different take on it. That's what I love about making desserts - the possibilities are endless.


As you can guess from the photos, this cake is a little more work than an original s'more but it's not that difficult. A little cake, some streusel, a custard, and a bit of meringue. You could make it in one day or stretch it out over a couple days. You could make these in glasses if you don't have ring molds (no freezing required if you do that) or you could even make this into one big cake (freezing times would be longer). But I love individual desserts because they feel so personal. Like someone made this little cake all for me, just me! Even I'm making it for myself, it still feels extra special. 



And once you've finished assembling all of the components, you've toasted your meringue, and are digging your spoon into that cake for the first bite, you'll see that all that hard work was so worth it. 

The light-as-air meringue, smooth and creamy custard, crunchy streusel, and dense chocolate cake all come together to make an unreal flavour and texture party in your mouth. The custard is my favourite part (custards are always my favourite part of anything) because it's basically a crème brûlée. I took a crème brûlée recipe and instead of cooking it in the oven, I continued cooking it on the stovetop, like a pastry cream. Once it cooled in the fridge, the texture was just like a crème brûlée! So silky smooth and velvety, plus all that chocolate makes it pretty rich. That richness is offset by the super light flavour and texture of the meringue, then the streusel comes in there with a kick of texture and the chocolate cake just rounds everything out. 

The biggest problem with this recipe is that it only makes three cakes (because I only have three ring molds). I ate one after I was done shooting (and during…), then took one to share with my boyfriend, and then took one to work. So while I still ate 1.5 cakes, it wasn't enough. I wanted mooooore. And apparently, other people wanted more as I got a call from my dad who had seen the teaser on instagram and was wondering where his cake was. It's a good thing I still have some of the components left over so I can make these again for every one else (but mostly for me).



S'mores Custard Cake
Makes three 3-inch cakes

Devils Food Cake

101 g all-purpose flour
31 g unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
2.5 g baking soda
0.5 g baking powder
1 g kosher salt
56 g eggs
126 g granulated sugar
2 g vanilla paste
86 g mayonnaise
105 g water, at room temperature

Graham Streusel
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

50 g almond flour
50 g graham crumbs
50 g light brown sugar
25 g all-purpose flour
1 g vanilla powder
60 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice

Chocolate Crème Brûlée

233 g heavy cream
100 g whole milk
66 g granulated sugar
10 g unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1 g salt
66 g egg yolks
125 g dark chocolate, melted

Meringue

50 g egg whites
75 g granulated sugar
1 g vanilla paste


To start, line three 3 inch diameter and 1.75 inch tall ring molds with acetate and place on a silpat lined baking sheet. Set aside.

For the cake, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat or spray lightly with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray the parchment.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine.

Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute to combine. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then whip on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.

Add the mayonnaise and whip to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the dry ingredients and water in 2 additions each.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and, using an offset spatula, spread it in an even layer, making sure that it reaches into the corners. Bake for 10 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out sean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely.

Lay a piece of parchment on the back of a sheet pan. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it and invert it onto the parchment. Remove the silpat or parchment from the top of the cake. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Cut out three 3-inch diameter rounds from the cake while it is still frozen and place in the ring molds. Wrap the remainder of the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks (this is extra).

For the streusel, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the almond flour, graham crumbs, sugar, vanilla powder, and flour in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the butter and quickly break it up with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spread the streusel on the baking sheet in an even layer and freeze for 10 minutes. 

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring the streusel every 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Spoon 40 g of streusel into each ring hold and gently press into the holds  Store the remainder in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

For the custard, combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan set of medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cocoa powder until slightly paler in colour.

When the milk mixture has come to a boil, slowly pour a small amount into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Continue tempering the yolks with the milk mixture, then transfer all of back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and a thermometer reads 82 C. 

Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set over an ice bath. While the mixture is still warm, add the melted chocolate and emulsify with an immersion blender. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Fill a piping bag with the chocolate custard and pipe into the molds until it reaches the top of the molds. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and freeze for 4 hours, or overnight.

Remove the rings from the cakes, but keep the acetate on. Add a second layer of acetate 0.5 inches higher than the original acetate over top the original acetate. Place the rings back on.

For the meringue, combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to 60 C, then transfer to the stand mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla paste and whip for 1 minute to combine.

Pipe the meringue into the rings until it reaches the top of the second layer of acetate. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and freeze for 30 minutes. 

Place into the fridge 4 hours before serving but remove the rings and both layers of acetate while frozen. When ready to serve, use a handheld torch to toast the meringue while being careful not to scorch the custard.




81 comments:

  1. Holy crap. These look SO insanely good. I saw your Instagrams and I can't even. I need to make this!!

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    1. Thanks! Ohhh the magic of instagram, eh?

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  2. I saw your teaser and was waiting anxiously for you to post this recipe! I need to make this as it looks absolutely perfect! Aside from flavor (which we know is ace because how wrong can you go with smores and creme brulee) and the beautiful appearance, I think I'm most excited about the various textures you get here! I think texture is so important in foods, especially dessert where it can often get lost. You really did outdo yourself here, Megan! This looks phenomenal! <3

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    1. I know what you mean, often desserts just have one texture - even if it's a good texture, it's still kind of boring. But this has everything! Dense and silky, soft and airy, crunchy, cakey! I always try to have a bit of everything in my desserts :) And thanks so much for your kind words!

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  3. ooh! i have seen a ton of s'mores flavored things, as you were saying, but this one is definitely a more sophisticated incarnation. i'm really excited about the graham streusel and the chocolate creme brulee. now, if i could find a way to toast the meringue AND the creme brulee...

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    1. Well, you technically could torch the brûlée before putting on the merginue, but the caramel would get soggy from the freezing and thawing. But a good idea!

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  4. Holy sweet lord, this is incredible!

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  5. Those do look incredible! All the textures sound just marvelous together...especially the toasty meringue and the custard, mmmm :)

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    1. Thanks! And yeah, they are just wonderful

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  6. Oh my goodness what a beautiful thing . Your so super talented Megan.

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  7. This looks like the most incredible dessert I've seen in a while! Pure genius!

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    1. Thanks so much! It's definitely the best tasting dessert I've had in a while (but I'm biased)

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  8. This looks sinful and beautifully executed. Well done!

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  9. Any thoughts/suggestions for torches? I've read that the hardware store butane torches are best, once or twice, but notice you have something different.

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    1. p.s. this is Courtenay Ennis. I don't know why I can't sign in...

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    2. Hey Courtenay! I use this torch : https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/232856845/sfc-tools-mighty-torch-handheld-butane?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_ca_en_ca_mid-craft_supplies_and_tools-jewelry_and_beading_supplies-tools&utm_custom1=5a47e1bf-600d-8848-fb1e-0000496876ed&kpid=232856845enca

      It's great because you can control the strength of the flame and it's also nice and small. You can go for a big ass torch but it's kinda unnecessary.

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  10. Hi Megan, I love your blog so much. How can you make perfect like this???
    As person who is a professional like you, I just wanted to ask you, what is the difference of custard, curd, compote, chantilly, mousse and cremeux? I'm very confused bout it because it's like the same thing.
    Thanks before :)

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    1. Hi Sylviana!

      While some of those have similar ingredients or methods, they are all fairly different from each other.

      A custard is made from milk and/or cream, egg yolks, and sugar. Pastry cream, creme brûlée, and creme caramel are some examples of custards.

      A curd is similar to a custard but instead of milk and/or cream, fruit juice is used. Lemon curd is the most popular type of curd, but you can use many different kinds of fruit juices.

      A compote is a fruit sauce that hasn't been strained, so it still contains little bits of fruit or seeds. For example, if you made a sauce by boiling some raspberries, lemon juice, and sugar and leave it at that, you have a compote.

      Chantilly is creme chantilly, which is just sweetened whipped cream flavoured with vanilla.

      A mousse is a type of dessert rather than a specific dessert. It describes the texture - light and airy. A mousse can be made from chocolate and whipped cream, or a mousse can be made from pastry cream, a pâte a bombe, an italian meringue, and whipped cream, or anything in between.

      A cremeux is a creme anglaise (stirred custard) style custard that is thickened with butter and sometimes gelatin.

      I hope this helps!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Thanks so much. You're so kind, Megan :)

      So if they are similar between :

      -chantilly and whipped cream?
      -jam and compote?
      -cremeux and pastry cream?

      Then how about ganache?

      Im sorry for many question, but I want to learn more deeply about pastry.
      This really helped me.

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    4. Chantilly is sweetened whipped cream flavoured with whipped cream. Whipped cream is literally just that - cream that has been whipped.

      Jam is a much thicker consistency and usually contains a higher amount of sugar than compotes. Jam usually contain pectin, while compotes do not.

      Pastry cream is a stirred custard that uses cornstarch as a thickener, while a cremeux will have gelatin.

      Ganache is simply an emulsion of chocolate and cream.

      No problem about the questions! I would suggest getting some more professional type pastry books (such as Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller or Elements of Dessert by Francisco Migoya, those are my most used ones).

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    5. Sorry, chantilly is sweetened whipped cream flavoured with VANILLA, not whipped cream! Haha!

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    6. Haha. Thanks so much Megan :)
      I'll try and practice them at home.
      Can't wait for your next recipe. ;)

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    7. Hi Megan, i forgot to ask you this.
      How about whipped cream itself? Is it possible if we make it, because in the market a lot of sale such as anchor, elle&virre.
      And If we make a chantilly, better we use such as elle&virre or homemade?
      THANKS!

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    8. I have no idea what elle&virre or archer is. I don't know if we're talking about the same thing because there is a big problem with your business if you are buying pre-whipped cream… Whipped cream is literally heavy cream (36%) that has been whipped. You should not be buying pre-whipped cream because it will have additives and emulsifiers and stabilizers in it that are completely unnecessary and I'm assuming that you would also pay a lot more for it. Seriously, just buy heavy cream and whip it yourself. Chantilly is one of the simplest and easiest things to make in a pastry kitchen, but if you guys aren't making your own chantilly, I'm kind of worried for you...

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    9. thank you for your advice. But I was in Indonesia and hard to find heavy cream. Most of them the seller said the heavy cream with whipping cream is the same, only different the fat content :(

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    10. Heavy cream and whipping cream (not whipped cream) are the same thing, for the most part. Heavy cream is usually 33% fat and whipping cream is usually 36% fat, but both can be used for making whipped cream and it'll be fine. I'm not sure what kind of dairy systems are in Indonesia, though! Every country has a different system and rules with their dairy producers and suppliers.

      I think there was just a little "lost in translation" moment though - you said whipped cream but I think you meant whipping cream!

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    11. i'm sorry for typo :D but thanks so much for your explanation.. this really helped me :)

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    12. No problem! I'm just glad you're not buying whipped cream from a supplier - that would be bad!!

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  11. Hi Megan! Would it be possible to use the broiler setting in the oven to toast the meringue if you don't have a handheld torch?

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    1. No, that wouldn't work because the heat from the broiler is very broad and would most likely compromise the creme brûlée, as well as only toasting the top of the cake. I really would recommend buying a handheld torch for this! They're not very expensive and they last a long time. Here is the one that I have had for years: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/232856845/sfc-tools-mighty-torch-handheld-butane?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_ca_en_ca_mid-craft_supplies_and_tools-jewelry_and_beading_supplies-tools&utm_custom1=5a47e1bf-600d-8848-fb1e-0000496876ed&kpid=232856845enca

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  12. Hi Megan!

    This is just magnificent, what a great job! Can't wait to try this out! I'm also thinking about incorporating some of these elements in a birthday cake. Reading through the recipe for the streusel, I'm not really sure what "graham crumbs" are? I live in Sweden and we often use a flour called "graham flour", which I guess is whole wheat flour in North America. Thanks for a great blog!



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    1. Thanks so much! Graham crumbs are just ground graham crackers! I think the original graham crackers back in the 1830's used graham flour, but I doubt they do now. They're an absolute must if you're making anything s'mores-like!

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  13. A big WOW all the way from Sweden! This gave me so much inspiration. Will try to make minis and serve one with Crème Bru and one with Tiramisù creme and lady finger crumble base. Thanks!

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  14. Oh my...drooling all over the keyboard. Thank you so much for creating this beautiful thing!

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  15. Holy smokes!! This is so fancy and pretty! Love it!

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  16. I'm LOVING this! The colors, the toasted mallow, that cut into it... EVERYTHING! Total winner.

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  17. Hi! This looks well worth the effort - so excited to try this weekend. Questions on the streusel instructions, it says freeze and then bake. Is that the correct order and if so, is it meant to be baked at the same temp as the cake layer?
    Thanks!

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    1. Yep, that's correct. The freezing is to ensure the butter is cold and hasn't been blended into the rest of the mixture. You don't want to create a dough! And yes, it's baked at the same temperature, 325 F.

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  18. Totally gorgeous! I love to look at it, but I'd rather eat it!

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  19. This is amazing! I am thinking of making this for my cousins bday but a bigger version with double the recipe? I have a springform cake pan that I am hoping will work like the rings. Do you think it'll be a problem?

    YM

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    1. It's hard to say for sure if it will fit your pan because it depends on how many inches your pan is. Maybe triple it just to be sure you have enough? And you can always eat the extra ;) But it should work the same, as long as you follow the instructions!

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  20. Wow this is incredible! I was just researching food to make for my friend's meal train that will begin in a few weeks when she has her 2nd baby and I bet this would make her and the family pretty excited to receive! The question is, do I trust my conversion skills from g to cups and teaspoons :/

    Charlie, www.lemonbutterlove.com

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    1. Thanks! I don't know, I'm always really sketchy about converting weight to volume measurements and using volume measurements in general. One commenter on a post said that she converted it and she said that 20 grams of cocoa powder was 4 teaspoons. However, I weighed out 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder twice, the first time was 10 g and the second time it was 7 g. So not only was the conversion wrong, but it showed how flawed and inconsistent volume measurements are. So she was supposed to get 20 g of cocoa powder but ended up with 7 g, which is a big difference.

      So I reeeeeeeally really really urge you (and everyone else who bakes) to get a digital scale. They're fairly cheap (this one - http://www.amazon.com/Escali-157DP-Digital-Kitchen-Purple/dp/B0051B317W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438302683&sr=8-1&keywords=escali+arti - is only $32!) and mine has lasted me for two years of vigorous use and still works beautifully. I wish that every recipe in the world was in grams because it makes life so much easier! Only have 83 g of butter in a recipe that calls for 200 g? Simply scale it down with some simple math to make the recipe fit your 83 g of butter. Want to weigh out each cookie to make sure they're the same size before you bake them? Too easy! No more adding fractions when making a bigger recipe! No more "3 tablespoons plus 2 1/3 teaspoons" in recipes! I could go on forever on the pros of scales. I love scales.

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  21. This cake is absolutely stunning. I am going to attempt it his week for my daughters 14th birthday, keeping my fingers crossed :)

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    1. Thanks! Good luck, I'm sure she'll absolutely love it!

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  22. How tall is the cake? I have acetate in large sheets so I would need to cut it down.

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    1. Including the meringue, they're 2.5 inches. My pastry rings are 1.75 inch tall, so I trimmed the acetate to that height, then filled it with the cake, streusel, and creme brûlée. I added the untrimmed acetate (2.5 inches), then piped in the meringue.

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  23. This is seriously the most delicious dessert I think I have ever seen!!! The question now is... How do I get you to become my friend and make it for me. I can make mean savoury dishes, but sweets have never been my forte. I'll even supply the wine! ;)

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    1. Thank you! Haha, well I've been getting better at making savoury dishes recently (homemade pasta and pizza are my favourite - probably because I'm good at doughs!). But the way to my heart is through my stomach, so I'd welcome any meal that someone else cooked!

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  24. You mention lining the molds with acetate. What is that?
    Thanks!

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    1. Acetate is a thin roll of plastic that you use to line holds so that once you've finished making the dessert, the ring can pop right off and you can peel off the acetate, giving you a clean look to your finished dessert.

      I bought mine through this awesome pastry supply store - http://www.dr.ca/acetate-roll-0.002.html

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  25. Hello: this looks incredibly good but it also looks incredibly complicated, and I am a very experienced cook. I am visiting my grandchildren next week in Montreal and I would love to make this with my 7 year old granddaughter, if possible, but it may be way out of the league of grandmother and grandchild. Can it be simplified? thanks so much!

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    1. It is pretty time intensive but the actual techniques aren't too difficult. To make it easier, make them in glasses instead! No need for freezing or molds or acetate or anything, just make the components, put them in the glass and let each one set before putting the next on, and it'll taste the same.

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  26. Beautiful cake!! I can't wait to make it! I am trying to make this over the course of two days - at which step would you recommend leaving the cake overnight (either in the freezer or the fridge)? Would you be able to assemble the whole cake, meringue included, and leave the whole thing in the freezer overnight and thaw in the fridge for 4 hours prior to serving/toasting the meringue?

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    1. I would make the components and assemble the cake, excluding the meringue, and then freeze it. The next day, as close to serving time as possible, make the meringue and toast it at the last minute. Meringues don't freeze and thaw very well and are best fresh, so if you can manage to make the meringue at the last minute, then definitely do that.

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  27. Your blog is amazing and so inspiring... I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and I was wondering how you managed to make the meringue so perfect (freezing it, now I know). Thank you for this gorgeous dessert, I just printed the recipe so I can try it at home.

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    1. Thanks so much! I hope it turns out perfectly for you!

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  28. Can you please convert to real measurements please?

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    1. I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean by "real" measurements. If you mean into volume measurements, I'm afraid the answer is no. Volume measurements are inaccurate, inconsistent, and inefficient. Feel free to use a conversion website, but they are not always accurate.

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  29. Is it possible to make this in one dish? will it set the same?

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    1. You could definitely make it in a cake tin or even individual glasses, if you want. The setting times may take longer but if you are serving it in the dish then you won't need to freeze anything, just fridge.

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  30. Hi Megan! Loving all your posts ;)

    I'd love to try make this cake. But may I ask some questions?

    Do I really need an immersion blender to emulsify the yolks and chocolate?

    Also, the sort whereby you remove the tart ring and put another acetate 0.5 inch over the cake for the meringue sounds so complicated. I pictured the acetate to be "floating" or clinging onto the cake. I've never tried baking and making cakes with acetate before. So it sounds Super complicated to me.

    It'd be lovely if you could answer my questions! Thank you!

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    1. Of course, no problem!

      An immersion blender isn't totally necessary but it will give you a super smooth and creamy custard and make sure that all the chocolate has been incorporated (you don't want any crunchy bits of unmelted chocolate in your smooth custard!). If you don't have one, you can just whisk it very well after straining the finished custard.

      The acetate isn't like plastic wrap, it's like a somewhat rigid (but bendable) roll of plastic (like a roll of tape) that goes in the ring so the cake doesn't stick to the ring and it can come out of the ring smoothly once it's finished. That's how the sides of my cake are nice and smooth with no smudges or anything. It's really not that complicated at all - just a new process that you're unfamiliar with! I wish I could show everyone it in person so they can see how simple it is, but it's not that easy! I tried to take photos but they made it seem more confusing than before.

      I hope this has helped!!

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  31. Quel superbe gateau !! merci beaucoup !! Juste une chose : je peux difficilement comprendre l'emploi de la mayonnaise ^^

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    1. Merci beaucoup! The mayonnaise is a bit weird, but it makes the cake moist.

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  32. Three perfect little s'mores custard cakes! I love these so much, found em on Pinterest and it brought me to your beautiful blog! I need some little ring moods stat. ^__^

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    1. Thanks! The pastry rings are so perfect for creating individual mousse desserts, I would totally recommend getting a few! I got mine here (http://www.dr.ca/mousses-and-entremets-ring-moulds-5-75-and-less.html) and they're great! The whole site is awesome, actually.

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  33. You have some honest ideas here. I done a research on the issue and discovered most peoples will agree with your blog.
    meat wrap

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  34. Hi Megan,

    I had no problems making the first three components, but with the meringue, it stuck to the acetate as I tried to peel it away, leaving sides that weren't clean and straight. I froze the meringue for 30 minutes, just as you instructed, but no luck. Any clues as to why this happened? Is there something I did or didn't do correctly? Thanks in advance for your help!

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    1. Hi! I'm sorry that happened and to be honest, I have no idea why it would happen. If you made the meringue correctly (i.e. stiff peaks and glossy) and froze it, it should've come off fine. It's not like I have a very fancy freezer either, it's actually pretty old, so it can't be something with the temperature. I honestly don't know what it could be! I'm very sorry that I'm not much more of a help :(

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