Behold my birthday cake! After baking for others all year (which I love, don’t get me wrong), this is the most wonderful time of the year when I make whatever I want. It’s an excuse to make something over-the-top, or with a guilty pleasure tucked inside, and this year, it was all about re-creating this most awesome cake.
Have you had this before? It’s sometimes called Super Caramel Crunch Cake, and maybe you’ve seen it in the bakery section of your grocery store or in a dessert case at a restaurant. It has thin layers of meringue stacked up with caramel and whipped cream, and it’s just heavenly.
I sort of adapted a few Smitten Kitchen recipes, swapping pecans for almonds in a meringue recipe, and using butterscotch sauce instead of caramel (didn’t want it to be chewy). It turned out perfectly, and I can definitely see a possibility of a mocha hazelnut version. The original recipe says it serves 12 but Mom, Dad and I demolished about 3/4 of it….soooooo…..don’t judge!
Butterscotch Pecan Meringue Torte
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt (i.e. Maldon)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup pecans
1 cup sugar + 3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
6 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
- For Butterscotch Sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, cream and salt, and whisk until combined. Bring to a gentle boil, and let bubble away for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, the transfer to a bowl or container and stick in the fridge too cool (the sauce will thicken as it cools).
- For Pecan Meringues, first get your baking sheets ready. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace two 6″ circles onto each paper, then flip the sheets over so the ink won’t touch your meringues. (Note: the orginal recipe calls for four 14″ x 2″ rectangles, but I did circles instead, and just traced the bottom of a saucepan). So you’ll have four circles in total.
- In the food processor, add the pecans, 1 cup sugar and salt. Process until the pecans are finely ground and everything is mixed together.
- In a clean bowl, add egg whites and mix with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and blend in. Sprinkle in remaining 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing after each addition. Blend until stiff peaks form. Gently fold nut mixture into egg white mixture. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture onto each circle, and use an offset spatula to spread out into the circle. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, rotating sheets (top to bottom, back to front) halfway through baking. Let cool on the sheets.
- For whipping cream, just whip the cream until nice and fluffy. Add a few tbsp of sugar (I didn’t want it to be too sweet and 2 tbsp was perfect. You can taste and adjust).
- To assemble, get your platter ready. Carefully, gently, slowly peel the parchment paper away from the bottom of a meringue and place it on the platter. Spread a few spoonfuls of butterscotch sauce on top of the meringue and gently spread it out with the back of a spoon (mine started to drop down the sides, but I thought it looked neat). Spoon 1/4 of the whipped cream on top and gently spread with an offset spatula. (I know I keep saying gently, but you don’t want to get too aggressive with the meringues or they’ll break). Repeat stacking until you get to the final meringue, then spread out the whipping cream first. Finish by transfering the remaining butterscotch sauce to a squeeze bottle and draw a little design on top.