Baking| Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake … Forever Nigella and Not Quite too!!

“Comedy just pokes at problems, rarely confronts them squarely. Drama is like a plate of meat and potatoes, comedy is rather the dessert, a bit like meringue.”
Woody Allen

Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeIf you saw this post at Not Quite Nigella, one Lorraine posted ever so long ago, you’d fall at her feet and tell her to carry on with her heart shaped baking obsession forever. Forever NQN! I’ve been thinking of going a little red what with the Chinese New Year almost here and V Day round the corner. Nothing like some food for thought for the good folk out there who might be thinking of turning out something special for the day of love!

Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake & CNYKung Hei Fat ChoyHappy CNY. Today begins the Year of the Rabbit. Hope it brings good luck for all of you!

I return to NQN from time to time, turning virtual pages, getting inspired on many levels, and this time I stopped at this page yet again. Missed making it last year around Valentines because I had found myself obsessed with a Red Velvet Cake Roll , or a RVC Roulade which I made with strawberries and ricotta. This year I had Lorraines heart firmly in my plans.Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake‘We haven’t had dessert for 3 days’, he whined, ‘how is it possible that you haven’t made anything sweet for so many days?’ The teen isn’t asking because she is on a self proclaimed diet. I did notice her scraping an extra pat of butter on her bread yesterday, but my ‘eye’ turned blind. Teens will be teens. She also sneaked a truffle from the fridge after much self restraint 2 days ago.  As far as she isn’t starving herself, I’m good. Happy too that junk food is out,  and so are the fizzy drinks. Well almost, for now at least.Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeWith the whining ringing in my head, a batch of home made quark to help the teen on a diet, I pushed the red date forward. It was time to get ‘Seduced by Chocolate‘ by both Nigella, as well as the Not Quite gal! I missed the first episode of Forever Nigella, and attempted to catch #2. The theme is ‘Seduced by Chocolate‘, so changes were introduced. This cake had connections, or rather, many cross connections.Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeA strawberry meringue layer cake with a chocolate twist to Nigella Lawson’s recipe from Not Quite Nigella, the cake headed for Forever Nigella on Maison Cupcake. Bit of a tongue twister eh?  Some more ‘connect’… I used the last bit of  Valrhona from the lovely Shayma @ TheSpice Spoon in this gorgeous cake, and topped it off with slivered almonds from the sweet Madhulika in Nasik. All this love shared for St Valentine!I baked the cakes in a heart shaped Tefal baking tin, one that I had bought years and years ago at a ridiculously high price. It’s a non stick pan, and have learnt over the years that good quality lasts long, and gives great results. I didn’t line the sides with baking parchment, and expected to scrape the meringue off the sides, but JOY… the good tin let the meringue and the chocolate cake come free with minimal fuss!Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeI had to slave harder than lucky Lorraine though. She had more than 1 heart tin for sure {which possibly explains her heart shaped baking obsession at the time}, but I had only one! That meant 2 cakes baked separately, more washing, more whining … but wonderful baking therapy the minute the first one came loose. More changes … I didn’t add slivered almonds to the bottom layer. I substituted the cornflour in Nigella’s recipe with cocoa powder. I also added an extra tbsp of milk to the cake batter after reading comments on Lorraine’s blog that the cake was a tad dry. Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeIn addition, I gave the cakes a brushing of sugar strawberry syrup to keep it all moist. The filling of course had to be low fat keeping in mind the teen and her diet, so I used a combination of low fat cream and home made quark. The result was delicious, seductive and comparatively guilt free. In retrospect, I might have tried using oil instead of butter. I absolutely love  the charm meringue cakes offer. Made something very similar in the past, Chocolate Meringue Strawberry Cream Slice , and yet another –  Chocolate Coffee-Almond-Meringue Layer Cake {in the latter, the meringue was sandwiched within the cake}.Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeVisually very appealing, the colours contrasting beautifully, and delicious in every bite. It took me a couple of hours to make both sponges & get the cake together, but you can do it quicker if you have 2 similar sized tins. The original recipe used round spring-form tins. I set my quark curd 2 days in advance, so it was ready for use the morning I baked the cakes. If you want, you can make the quark cheese, otherwise there’s always the indulgent alternative – whipping cream!Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer CakeThe cake batter is quite thick and needs to be pushed around to spread. Also, my meringue balooned up unevenly while baking, but that happened to me the last few times as well. Not sure it it’s the way it should be, but it deflated pretty soon and evened out after I took it out of the oven. It wasn’t a crisp meringue, but a pleasantly soft, chewy one, with wonderfully toasted almonds on top.

{Note to self: Must ask Lorraine about the meringue, as hers looks rather firm and crisp in her pictures}

Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake

Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted from Not Quite Nigella
125g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100g very soft unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk
25g flaked almonds
200ml low fat cream
2-3 tbsps powdered sugar (adjust according to sweeteness of strawberries}
200gm quark,
200g strawberries, chopped
Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake
For the meringue cake:
Preheat oven to 200C. Line, butter and flour two 22cm spring-form tins, or heart tins. {I lined the bottoms}|
Weigh out the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl.
Cream the butter and 100g of the caster sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy.
Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the butter and sugar, saving the whites to whisk later. Gently fold in the weighed-out dry ingredients, add the vanilla, then sir in the milk to thin the batter. Divide the mixture between the two prepared springform tins.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the remaining 200g caster sugar. Spread a layer of meringue on top of the sponge batter in each tin and sprinkle the almonds evenly over.
Bake for 30-35 mins, by which time the top of the almond-scattered meringues will be a dark gold. (I turned down the temperate to 180C as my oven is fan forced and the top was a little too cooked so perhaps turning it down even further would be better)
Whip the cream with sugar to soft/medium peaks. Reserve.
Beat the quark until creamy and smooth. Fold the whipped cream through it.
Paint a sugar syrup to the chocolate sides of the sponge if desired. Lay one cake on the serving platter, chocolate side up, top with the quark filling. Sprinkle over with chopped strawberries, and top with the other cake, chocolate side down. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Dear Deeba this look absolutely beauty and delicious dear, xoxoxoxo gloria
    gloria´s last blog post ..Ricotta parfait with strawberry sauceMy Profile

  2. This looks stunning! Amazing job on this. Mmm….I have a heart shaped obsession going on and I’m feeling the lack of a heart shaped pan. 😉

  3. A gorgeous divine cake!
    Cherine´s last blog post ..Chicken liver mousseMy Profile

  4. What a gorgeous cake and so different from the usual, expected Valentine’s treats.
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets´s last blog post ..Orange Passionfruit Curd Mini Tarts Guest Post on TrissaliciousMy Profile

  5. OMG!! Need to get me some of that cake ASAP. Great entry for this months Forver Nigella too ;0)
    Chele´s last blog post ..Jumbo Fruit Mince MuffinsMy Profile

  6. That cake is a real beauty! Perfect for Valentine’s Day.



  7. Gorgeus cake, perfect for Valentine´s day. Stunning photography!
    vanillla´s last blog post ..Baking Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake … Forever Nigella and Not Quite too!!My Profile

  8. What an astonishing cake. Also I appreciate your visit to my site.

  9. Gorgeous! I love this recipe. I’ve never had any problems with dryness of the cake – on the contrary I remember it as being light and moist and really delicious. Here’s my post on it if you want a look –
    Emma @ Poires au Chocolat´s last blog post ..Braided Lemon BreadMy Profile

  10. That looks so delicious. What a great treat for Valentine’s day. I love the touch of the heart shape pan.

  11. Love the look of this cake and the photos! Gorgeous!

  12. Wow, impressive. The layers are decadent and so very pretty. I am in love.
    Jennifurla´s last blog post ..Baking Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake … Forever Nigella and Not Quite too!!My Profile

  13. anupama says:

    Weigh out the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a bowl. There is no mention of cornflour in the ingredients list , i guess its cocoa powder .Clarify .
    The cake looks yummmmm,iam gonna make it !!

  14. Wowww thats a marvellous cake..
    Priya´s last blog post ..Potato &amp Jackfruit Seed Tomato GravyMy Profile

  15. This is so lovely!! I love the shape and all the layers…so romantic! :)
    sara´s last blog post ..Applesauce Cake with Caramel FrostingMy Profile

  16. wow, this heart looks absolutely amazing! I love this Valentines idea!
    Paula´s last blog post ..Kanapki BiedronkiMy Profile

  17. Just beautiful! Can’t imagine a more lovely Valentines desert!
    *kisses* HH

  18. The heart-shape is soo pretty :) Can’t wait for strawberries to come back in season over here. Would you mind sending some over? 😛
    Helena´s last blog post ..More cookies!My Profile

  19. Tahemeem says:

    A perfect valentine dessert :) love ur clicks :)
    Can u send me some.. i can never made that beautiful cake :)

  20. Oh My…., NQN has done it again & Deeba has put her little touches …., this is without a doubt a beautiful cake, so lovely for this time of year too.

  21. Hi Deeba, I share your frustation not finding all the ingredients I need. I live in a mountain village an hour and a half outside Mexico City. I envy my friends, family and fellow bakers and food bloggers who live in the U.S. or Europe and can find all the ingredients they need. Although Mexico has great quality criollo cacao, most of it is exported and made into fine chocolate outside of Mexico. When I can find some of the baking ingredients I need, like almond extract, they are very expensive, because they are imported. Hang in there.
    ChocolateCentral´s last blog post ..Is Chocolate Healthy Part 1My Profile

  22. I always, without exception, want to eat whatever you post, you do such such a good job in both choice of recipes and styling and photography that everything looks just perfect and delicious. This is a great flavour combination…YUM!!!

  23. I love meringue cakes and actually make them often as they are Vanja’s fav, too… the collages were fun, here… they went on and on and on – but were not at all boring!

    They were gorgeous.!
    A Canadian Foodie´s last blog post ..Heart Friendly Olive Oil Cake with Red Seedless Grapes for Heart MonthMy Profile

  24. Gorgeous cake! I didn’t see this one on Lorraine’s blog, but it’s got her name written all over it, doesn’t it? It sounds as if you’ve done a great adaptation.
    Adele´s last blog post ..If at all possible- try and have a South African motherMy Profile

  25. I wish I had seen this post earlier BEFORE I started my baking for 7 Desserts 7 days. It is absolute perfection of acake as usual. All your pictures are sooo sooo good. Even the ones where the cake isn’t finished- still looks perfect! Deeba I’m in awe of you as you always manage to pull of some very complicated things!
    Sukaina´s last blog post ..Pistachio Bundt Cake With Chocolate Ganache FrostingMy Profile

  26. Looks so delicious Deeba! Strawberries are my favorite too :)
    Kiran´s last blog post ..Simple GuacamoleMy Profile

  27. Superb Cake!

    which oven do you have Deeba!!

  28. wonderful tempting yummy cake
    santosh´s last blog post ..MASALA DOSAMy Profile

  29. I don’t know how your daughter does it, being on a diet around all your delicious desserts. I just wouldn’t have the necessary self-restraint!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen´s last blog post ..french vegetable soup the soup that changed my mindMy Profile

  30. Oh Deeba , what a delightful post , i loveee the cake and its soooo prettttyyyy…and its sooo me m(mia=hearts+pink/red) …and u have excelled , totally!
    Ha ha , i lovee the diet part , i do the same too , but v differently , i tired it all , the general motros diet and what have , u know what i do , make the whole family diet and every body is allowed to cheat a little , say tea and coffee , binge on those potatoes and steak et all.
    they sure do help and u do lose a lot but nothing like gym/aerobics and eating normal and indulging in that little chocolate , he he!
    Coz the diets cant become my lifestyle :-)he he , not mine:-)
    and i have noticed if i eat less and then eat more , i put on more weight , he he !!

    Now after all that rambling im v hungry, not to forget i was already drooling when i landed on ur page:-)
    And i loveee ur teflon baking tin , what brand is it babe?
    Ok gotta go and cant take any more of ur space to sing praises of ur wonderful creations…..
    Mia´s last blog post ..BASQUE POTATO TORTILLAMy Profile

  31. How can anyone diet with all these goodies you serve up? Oh this is simply delightful and a perfect way to say “I love you!”

  32. Lovely. I simply love your style.
    Meena Thennaapan´s last blog post ..Jam n Cheese SandwichMy Profile

  33. Diet, this cake, and guilt free? Oh my! I too have only one heart shaped pan; however, your photos make this cake look so compelling I may have to go over the edge and use it twice!
    Lael Hazan @educatedpalate´s last blog post ..Italian Béchamel SauceMy Profile

  34. Deeba this is magnificent! Perfect shape, flavors and colors for Valentine’s Day.
    Lorraine’s version is incredibly pretty as well.
    By the way, love that quote by Woody Allen (I’m a big fan of his!)
    My Little Expat Kitchen´s last blog post ..My kind of sweetMy Profile

  35. I heart it! (But you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). Love the multi layers of connection here that led to this multi-layered cake. Just gorgeous Deeba dear.
    shaz´s last blog post ..Malaysian Monday 63- Pandan Chiffon Cake attempt number oneMy Profile

  36. Darling Deeba, you definitely wove your amazing brand of magic on this cake! It looks AMAZING! I could just dive right in except I think I would just admire it for a good while beforehand! And you asked about the texture of the cake. It was quite dry but not as dry as a meringue, a little chewy too which was nice. I’m so impressed by your cake!
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog post ..Buon Ricordo’s Famous Truffle Egg PastaMy Profile

  37. I can’t imagine being on a diet around your household! Lovely Lovely cake and perfect for valentines day! :)
    Sara´s last blog post ..Spicy Bengali Fish CurryMy Profile

  38. What a fantastic cake, perfect for romance, lol! Chocolate, strawberries and hearts – divine!

  39. I am officially seduced by chocolate Deeba!
    bellini´s last blog post ..Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Goes Red for Have a Heart and my 4 Year Blogiversary GiveawayMy Profile

  40. Oh my Deeba! You work so hard! I absolutely LOVE this, it’s so marvellous that you’ve adapted an NQN version of a Nigella recipe. Outstanding stuff, I want a slice NOW!!! (((((hugs!))))))
    Sarah, Maison Cupcake´s last blog post ..Giveaway 14- Interflora Amore HamperMy Profile

  41. This is ridiculously beautiful and perfect for all holidays in February. Wow!
    Sharlene´s last blog post ..Red Bean Mochi CakeMy Profile

  42. Krista says:

    Deeba, you are an artiste. :-) This cake makes me smile on so many levels – the flavors, the textures, and the fairytale beauty of it. Wonderful job! :-)

  43. Looks great & delicious!
    DG´s last blog post ..Lapis Legit IIMy Profile

  44. That is almost too pretty to eat. What a beautiful dessert for Valentine’s Day.
    Kristen´s last blog post ..Brownies Cookies BrookiesMy Profile

  45. Diet? What diet? Lol. When you’ve got a sweet tooth like mine, that word doesn’t exist. Perfect choice of cake and perfect timing! Happy Chinese new year to you too! And of course, advance happy heart’s day. This would be a lovely dessert to have then. Thanks!

  46. Deebs! Your blog is looking better and better and better!! Love this cake too! Happy Chinese New Year and a great Year of the Rabbit ahead for all of us!

  47. I’ve had this post open on my screen all day yesterday and have been ogling the gorgeous photos of this magnificent and so romantic dessert! Lucky kids to have mom make this! I adore meringue cakes and must try this one. Perfect! And with the strawberries it is absolutely stunning! You never cease to amaze me, sistah, with your baking talent and the beauties you are capable of turning out! xoxo Miss you!

  48. Can this get any more delicious??!! OMG, Deeba, what a fabulous cake!!
    Renata´s last blog post ..BOLO DE TANGERINAMy Profile

  49. The pictures here make me so happy, it gives a feeling that world is filled with wonderful people and all that is sugar and sweet! How much I love this lively space on the net. And as usual no words for the virtual treats that I get here.
    If I have a magic wand I will ask a wish to be your neighbor, Deeba :) Yumm…..
    Sanjeeta kk´s last blog post ..Oats &amp Wholewheat Eggless Vegetable QuicheMy Profile

  50. I love this. It looks awesome and delicious!
    Brittany Trei´s last blog post ..I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch CHERRY BOMB coconut cupcakes with raspberry jamMy Profile

  51. What a lovely post and gorgeous cake :)

  52. Oh my this cake is gorgeous! This gets me in the mood for some Valentine’s Day baking!

  53. Wow. That is one seriously sexy cake. I’m not sure that it would make it onto the table for Valentine’s dinner. On second thoughts, who needs to have a Valentine’s dinner, when you can spend the evening alone with that cake?
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Black Forest Macarons for The Darkest MonthMy Profile

  54. Holy cow Deeba, that is totally gorgeous, both of them! maybe you could hop a plane and bring me some?? 😀

  55. Love your blog!

    And thanks for dropping by at mine :)

    Ahh.. girls and their diet. Been there and done that. And yes, as long as she’s eating, she’d be fine. You sound like a wonderful and understanding mother!

    Your strawberry meringue chocolate layer cake is LOVELY! Now you are tempting me to get a heart shape pan too. Oh NO!
    maameemoomoo´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday Yuan Yang 元阳- ChinaMy Profile

  56. OH WOW – That looks Incredibly delicious!

  57. Each one I see here gets more and more beautiful! Thanks again for all the party link ups :-)

  58. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, tried it, its delice. just one doubt, do we need to add anything to the cream before whipping? mine never got whipped not even soft peaks. it was chilled and i whipped it in ice tub (amul fresh cream). please guide.
    Thanks in advance.

  59. What a pretty cake, and I adore NQN Lorraine’s blog too!
    Ann´s last blog post ..Julia Childs Boeuf BourguignonMy Profile

  60. This is a truly beautiful cake, accompanied by your gorgeous pictures: what a treat!

  61. Deeba you have excelled yourself this time. I think you made this with love too. Quite embarrassed now by my mousse submission!!
    Sally Prosser´s last blog post ..A new Egypt and traditional kosheriMy Profile

  62. Oh wow D, that looks truly gorgeous. Great choice. I can’t wait to try this!

  63. anonymous says:

    Hi Deeba
    You have a lovely blog with beautiful photographs. I have not yet tried any of your cakes as I am new to baking. I have tried baking cake 3-4 times and they have turned out OK. Nothing great, but edible. One thing that I have faced each time is that all most all cake recipes call for butter and then after baking them they have to be put in fridge for cooling before applying the icing. So when I remove the cake from fridge, it becomes hard as rock as the butter in it has frozen. What’s the solution in this case, should I never put in fridge?? What if I want to keep the cake ready 1 day in advance?


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