Meringue Cream Cake

Michal Goldberger

30 minutes + 2½ hours inactive

10x10-in (25x25cm) cake pan

White baking dish with meringue cream cake on gray tablecloth

Meringue Cream Cake. Photographer: Jonathan Ben Chaim

This layer cake with shortcrust, coffee flavored whipped cream, and meringue draped in velvety chocolate has been a staple in many Israeli homes over the past few decades — especially on birthdays and special occasions. It made its debut in Hana Shaulov’s 1974 cookbook “Cakes and Cookies: Home Baking.” The first Israeli cookbook ever dedicated solely to sweets, it was an instant sensation. 

Shaulov shares that while she was working on the book she was heavily pregnant. During a visit to see her aunt in Haifa she tried the cake and once she returned home, she craved it “as only pregnant women can,” she laughs. Without the recipe at hand, she began to recreate the flavors and textures from her memory. According to Shaulov, the result was much better than the original cake and to this day it’s the cake her friends and family always ask her to make.

Pastry chef Michal Goldberger made this version, with ground hazelnuts in the pastry, for Cafe Asif’s Nostalgic Desserts project. 


For the meringue:

3 large egg whites, at room temperature 

1 cup (200 grams) white sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch


For the coffee cream

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream 

3 tablespoon powdered sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee 

Pinch of salt


For the nutty shortcrust base:

7 tablespoons (100 grams) cold butter, diced

100 grams (3½ oz) hazelnuts (or almonds), toasted and finely ground

5 tablespoons (50 grams) powdered sugar

¾ cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

3 large egg yolks 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To serve:

1.7 oz (50 grams) dark chocolate

2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy cream

  1. Prepare the meringue: Preheat the oven to 240F (115C) and line a tray with parchment paper. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk to soft peaks. Add the sugar and cornstarch gradually and whisk to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the meringue to a square 10×10-in (25x25cm) cake pan in an even layer and bake until the meringue hardens, about 2 hours. Once the meringue is ready, remove from the oven and carefully release from the pan using a palette knife (don’t worry if the meringue breaks in places).  Let the pan cool some and wash it, as you will need it again in step four. 
  3. Prepare the shortcrust base: Increase the oven temperature to 350F (180C). Place the cold butter cubes, ground hazelnuts, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at medium speed until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and vanilla paste and mix just until the dough binds together, taking care not to overwork the dough. 
  4. Place the dough in the same cake pan you baked the meringue in and press to the edges an even layer. Cover and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Prick the base of the pastry all over using a fork (this will prevent it from rising while baking). Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  6. Prepare the coffee cream: Whip the heavy cream with the coffee and the powdered sugar until  light, fluffy, and stable.
  7. Assemble the cake: Spread the whipped coffee cream over the cool shortcrust pastry in an even layer, and place the baked meringue on top, cracking it slightly. 
  8. Melt the dark chocolate and heavy cream in the microwave (or in a double boiler) and pour over the meringue. Allow the cake to set in the refrigerator for 3 hours before serving.