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Flourless chocolate cake topped with meringue and a vermicelli bird's nest

As Easter and Passover approach,  delight your family and friends with a  flourless chocolate cake that perfectly blends the richness of chocolate with the whimsy of a springtime bird’s nest.

This indulgent dessert features a thick layer of dense chocolate cake, topped with a chocolate hazelnut meringue. If you do not feel like making the nest, you can just top the cake with Cadbury eggs and/or flowers. Either way, you will create a  gorgeous centerpiece or gift to bring a friend.

Chocolate Cake with a Meringue Topping


  • 10 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed LIGHT brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted - chopped bar or use chips (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 large room temp. eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbs. rum or espresso (optional)
  • For the meringue topping:
  • 4 eggs, room temperature, separated Set aside yolks for another use.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (1 cup) - choc chips are fine
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted, skinned, and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Prepare the cake: Preheat Oven to 350 F. Trace a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9x3 inch springform pan. Place the parchment circle in the bottom and lightly spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven (at half power) for 3-6 minutes, depending on your microwave. Be sure to stir the chocolate every minute. You can also melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water on low heat, stirring often. Be sure to not let your water boil.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and salt until pale and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla extract and rum or espresso, if using. Place mixture in separate bowl.
  4. In a clean mixer bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 6 egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful to not over mix the batter. There may be a few remaining streaks of egg whites in the batter which is fine.
  5. Pour the batter in prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Prepare the meringue: Place the remaining 4 egg whites in a clean mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until frothy. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Using a spatula, fold in the chopped chocolate, cornstarch and chopped hazelnuts.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven. Using a large offset spatula, spread meringue on top of cake using as few strokes as possible so as not to deflate the meringue. Return cake to oven and bake until the meringue is lightly browned and crisp, 25-30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and then release sides of the pan. Some of the meringue may crack which is normal. Let cool 30 minutes and dust with confectioner's sugar. Place nest (see directions below) on top and fill with eggs . You could also add a few fresh flowers around the nest. 


Chocolate Nests


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Break the vermicelli rice noodles into smaller strands that will be easier to work with, and then place in the skillet for about 2-4 minutes until they become shiny. Some will turn light golden brown and that is fine. Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments for up to 1 minute and half, stirring in between, until completely smooth and melted.
  4. Place the cooked vermicelli into the bowl of chocolate and use your hands to gently toss the vermicelli with the chocolate until they are completely coated in chocolate.
  5. Line the opposite side of a muffin tin with silicone cups or plastic wrap and gently press the vermicelli mixture around the cup to create a nest-like shape
  6. Refrigerate until the mixture is set and firm, about 30 minutes. Place your favorite chocolate eggs inside and enjoy!


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