Meringue Cake (Boccone Dolce)
This meringue cake is a naturally gluten-free and light dessert. The slightly sweet crispy meringue pairs perfectly with the soft, tart berries and silky whipped cream. The chocolate drizzle on each layer definitely takes this cake over the top in the best way! Each bite of this delicate meringue cake is melt-in-your-mouth good.
If this dessert with berries makes your mouth water, you’ll probably love my lemon blueberry pavlova, panna cotta with strawberry sauce, and this incredible strawberry rhubarb crisp recipe.
Boccone Dolce Cake
Here in Portland, you may know this cake from Papa Haydn’s, a popular spot for delicious cakes and desserts. That is where I tried this boccone dolce cake for the first time and I have been hooked since! Boccone Dolce cake is Italian for “sweet mouthful”…and what a sweet mouthful it is!
What is a Boccone Dolce Cake?
To those that are unfamiliar with the boccone dolce cake, you are in for a treat! This delicious dessert is made with light and airy meringue cake layers that are drizzled with dark chocolate, then layered with fluffy Chantilly Cream before being loaded with berries. Just describing the boccone dolce cake makes my mouth water!
Can I make this gluten free cake recipe as a sheet cake?
I have been making this gluten free cake recipe as a 1 layer 12″ x 16″ sheet cake for all of our families get-together for years. If you’re wanting to serve this to a large crowd, 1 layer is the best. Not only is it more stable, but then you get more portions out of it too.
Since the meringue layer in this gluten free cake recipe is thick, you can prepare the cake the night before and it will hold up even the next day. No need to rush and assemble it hours before serving when making it as a sheet cake.
To make this as a sheet cake, follow the directions in the recipe card exactly, except where it says to lay it out on three, 9-inch circles. Instead lay it out on one 12×18 upside-down jelly roll pan. Bake time is the same.
Side note, when making the cake in a sheet cake form, you can assemble it the day before. The meringue layer is very thick and it even benefits from a long stay in the fridge. In this case, go only with berries that you can use whole, – raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries work the best).
Tips for Making this Meringue Cake
- Choose your timing carefully. If you want to make your meringue cake into 3 layers like pictured above, you’ll need to make it at least 24 hours in advance to allow it time to properly dry. You can even bake the layers a few days before (3 days max) – just store in an airtight container.
- Measure your ingredients by weight. Making the perfect meringue cake is all about getting the ingredients exactly right. I highly recommend you measure your ingredients by weight, not volume!
- Assemble the cake 4-6 hours before you serve. Make sure you keep it refrigerated as well! This meringue cake needs to absorb some moisture to make it easier to cut, otherwise, it will crumble and collapse as you slice in.
- Load your meringue cake up with fruit. It’s personal preference, but I think this cake tastes best when there is a lot of fruit. I also recommend you use berries that don’t need to be cut, otherwise they will release juice and color the cream. I usually use raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. If you want to use strawberries, that’s okay, but eat it the same day.
Get more of my best meringue-making tips here!
How to Make This Meringue Cake
For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card bottom of the post.
- Preheat the oven.
- Create your template with parchment paper and prepare your pastry bag, then set both aside.
- Whip together the egg whites and cream of tartar. Once the eggs become white and foamy, add the sugar in, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Continue beating until you get stiff peaks, but do not overwhip.
- Put the meringue in your pastry bag and create the cake layers using the templates you created above.
- Place the meringue cake layers in the oven at a low temperature for 10-12 hours.
- Create your Chantilly cream by whipping the ingredients together until stiff peaks form. Store in the fridge.
- Then create your chocolate drizzle for the top of the meringue cake.
- When everything is ready, assemble your meringue cake and store in the fridge until serving time.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and with precise ingredient amounts.
If you enjoy meringue and berry desserts, check these other variations of the BOCCONE DOLCE CAKE:
- Boccone Dolce Demystified – A layer of meringue, with cream that has a bit of sour cream added for a little bit of tartness to offset the sweetness of the meringue
- Meringue Baskets with Blackberries – These pretty little individually portioned meringue baskets can be filled with any fruits you would like, not just blackberries.
- Mini Boccone Dolce – Now if you’re into individual servings of Boccone Dolce, check these MINI Boccone Dolce’s.
Meringue Cake with Berries
This Meringue Cake with berries is a naturally gluten-free, light, crispy with loads of berries combined with delicate and creamy chantily cream.
Meringue Cake Layers
- 12 large egg whites room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar or citric acid (optional, but recommended)
- 4-5 cups heavy whipping cream at least 33% fat content, 40% is better
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz dark chocolate chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream heated almost to boiling point
- 16 oz raspberry
- 8 oz blueberry rinsed and dried
- 8 o blackberry rinsed and dried
- 1 lb strawberry rinsed & dried, sliced
- 5 ripe bananas sliced
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Cut out 3, 9.5 - 10-inch circles from parchment paper. With a marker, draw an 8 – 8.5 inch circle in the middle of each piece of parchment. Turn the parchment over and place each parchment circle over an upside down 9-inch round pan, set aside (you can use layered aluminum foil if you don’t have 3, 9 inch round pans).
Prepare a large pastry bag (or a gallon size zip-lock bag) fitted with a large star tip. Set aside.
Drape the sides of a small zip-lock bag over a glass/cup. Set aside.
How to make the Meringue Cake
Whip: In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whip attachment, whip 12 room temperature egg whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar for about 1 minute or until they start to foam up. Then, add 2 cups of sugar, one tablespoon at a time and continue whipping for about 20 minutes on high speed or until the eggwhites are glossy and increased in volume and have formed stiff peaks.
Careful not to over whip, or you will have to start over. Overwhipped meringue looks chunky and broken, whereas properly whipped meringue looks fluffy and smooth.
Pipe: Use a small drop of meringue to secure the parchment paper to the bottoms of the upside down baking pans. In a swirling mositon pipe 3 meringue disks on top of the parchment paper and within the drawn circles. The piped disks should be about ¾- 1 inch in height, if your pastry tip is not large enough to make it that tall in one layer, just make another spiral layer on top.
Side note: it’s best to make 2 thicker meringue layers and one thinner. The two thicker will be the two bottom layers and the thinner one will be on top. The two bottom layers will absorb a lot more moisture then the top, as the bottom will do so from the weight and the middle one will do so because of being surrounded by whip cream from both sides
Bake: Transfer the pans into the 200°F oven and dry the meringue for about 10-12 hours. Then, turn off the oven, leave the oven door ajar and allow to cool completely for a couple of hours.
Make the cream right before assembly for best results.
In a chilled bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whip attachment whip cold heavy cream until it just starts to get fluffy. Then, add the sugar and the vanilla extract and keep whipping until medium peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Bring 1/2 cup cream to a boil (in a microwave or in a small saucepot). Add 1/2 cup chopped dark semi-sweet chocolate or dark semi-sweet chocolate chips. Allow to sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.
Pour into the prepared zip-lock bag. Close the end and snip off the corner of the bag.
Drizzle the chocolate over all meringue layers, place in the freezer to set, 3-4 minutes
Reserve [adjustable]2 cups of frosting[/adjustable] for decoration and refrigerate.
Prepare the berries, by washing, drying, and slicing what's needed.
On a serving dish, put a dab of Chantilly Cream, add the first meringue disk and press gently to adhere.
Spoon or pipe ¼ of the frosting on top of the meringue layer. Layer out the bananas and cover with ¼ of the Chantily cream. Layer half of all the berries on top. Press them in gently. Place a couple of dabs of cream on top for the next meringue layer to adhere.
Continue layering in the above manner finishing with the thiner meringue layer. Pipe 8 swirls around the edge of the top layer, then top each swirl with a half straberry sliced side up.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When to assemble the cake: Make the cake at least 2-3 hours before serving, but not more, then 6 hours before serving.
Keep the cake refrigerated: Keep the cake in the fridge up until serving time. It's natural for the cream to separate if it stays at room temperature for too long, so keeping it in the fridge is best.
Making the meringue in advance: Meringue layers can be made up two 2 days in advance but must be kept in an airtight container (wrapped in shrink wrap), to prevent moisture from being absorbed by the meringue.
Transporting the cake: If the cake must be transported, let the cake sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours before doing so, otherwise, the layers will start to slide off, or the cake will crack or split.
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I have used this recipe several times and my entire family loves it!! It tastes just like the original one from papa Haydn’s and the recipe has been super successful every time I’ve made it!
I made the meringue a day ahead. What’s the best way to store it so it doesn’t absorb moisture?
Wrap in several layers of plastic wrap.
We live in Portland, and go to Papa Haydn’s as often as we can. I’ve often said that they do things with chocolate that ought to be illegal! But Boccono Dolce is my absolute favorite. I’ve tried several times to get it right, and haven’t done so. Your recipe is my savior! Thank you.
Yes, the chocolate Bomb is outrageous loL! I hope my recipe for the Boccone Dolce.
I wanted to know, do you have any pictures of this cake in the single layer rectangular shape? I really want to try it but love to see things visually first.
How long do you let it actually bake for?? I noticed you said to leave it to dry in oven for about 10 to 12 hours but is that with the oven on or with it off??
The 10-12 hours is the actual baking time, or drying time. With the temperature being as low as the direction say, the meringue doesn’t burn, but slowly dries out.
Does it really take 10-12 hours to bake? I’ve seen similar instructions, but with only 3-5 hours of baking time. Does the longer time only effect the color of the cake?
The cake is ready when it’s dry on the inside. So if your cake layers take only 3-5 hours to be dry on the inside then that’s all you will need. But for me it usually takes 8-12 hours for it to be dry. I think I mentioned in the instructions that I leave the cake to bake in the oven overnight. So if I put it in the oven at 10 pm, I get it out of the oven the next morning around 8 am.
If you go past the time when the cake is dry on the inside, or if you put the oven temperature up then the color will be darker.
Thank you for posting this! Do you leave the oven off for 12 hours to bake?
Nope, the oven needs to be on.
So this cake is supposed to turn about 8 inches in diameter based on the parchment paper instructions? I got a little confused with why you need to first cut out a 9.5-10 inch circle??? Please explain. Thank you!
Hi Yelena, thank you for your question.
This recipe makes a 9 inch cake (or slightly bigger), but you need to draw an 8 inch circle and then spread the meringue to the edges of the 8 inch circle. Once the meringue is baked, it expands and it will become a 9-10 inch cake layer.
Hope this makes sense 🙂
When I made the meringue I think the sugar didn’t mix very well because it was stuck to the parchment paper but I was too scared to over mix incase I had to start over again. I don’t have a kitchen aid just regular electric mixer. It turned out good except for the sugary caramelized bottom lol I’m going to try to hide it with the cream
Thank you Marina for ur hard work!!! We do appreciate it!!! I want to make one layer cake!!! How long do I keep it in the oven? Same time and temp? And for decor cream should I make helf of it? Thank you!!!
I am planning on making a rectangular cake like you were mentioning. I have a question about the pan in which to bake the meringue. Does it have to be a deeper pan or can I use a cookie sheet? I am thinking a cooking sheet won’t work because it is not as deep, right? Also, for a one layer rectangular cake when I assemble the cake would I just have the meringue layer, layer of cream, and fruit on top? Would that be the assembling pattern? Please let me know, thanks!
You can totally use the cookie sheet, the meringue will not go anywhere, the pan can be flat and does not need to be deep.
When you make a one layer cake you put meringue, drizzle chocolate, put cream on top and then fruits and again a drizzle of chocolate. Also, for 1 sheet cake, make sure to assemble it at least 10 hours before you plan to serve it, this way the meringue layer will not be too hard.
Here’s Boccone Dolce with a bit different cream (I added sour cream to the whip cream), but it will show you the layers inside… https://letthebakingbegin.com/2011/02/boccone-dolce-demistified/
Could I use some fresh juice of a lemon instead of 1/4tsp. cream of tartar or citric acid as I don’t have any on hand!?
Yes you can. Just use about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
For the chanitally cream, do you use regular sugar or powder sugar? And a cup of sugar for 4 cups of heavy whip cream, correct?
Hi Olga, I apologize for such a late reply. I use regular sugar. So yes it is 4 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of sugar.
Hi i was wondering if in step 10 when you say “dry out” for 10-12 hours do you mean cook them on 180 for 10-12 hours ? thanks! also, can i make these on a cookie sheet or will the expand too much ?
Yes, drying out, means to bake them at 200F for 10-12 hours. As I said in the post, I leave them overnight in the oven.
I don’t think 3 of them will fit on a cookie sheet, that is why I did it on parchment paper circles. But if you’re making only one layer at a time, or one large layer (as I do in the 18×12 cake) then you can do it on a cookie sheet. It expands about 1 inch overall, so measure it out and account for that one inch. Hope this helps 🙂
Hi, Marina, I was wandering how long do you bake the meringue for before turning the oven off and letting it dry?! I had trouble baking the meringue!!!
Hi Michelle, As it says in step 10, you dry it for 10-12 hours and then turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool (not dry) in the oven, with the door slightly ajar. The only way you would have trouble with meringue is if you did over whipped the meringue, under whipped the meringue, or did not dry it for enough time. Hope this helps.
This looks amazing for valentines day but how do I scale it down for just my hubbie and I and not 35 servings!!!!
Well 35 servings, that is sensible portions, meaning they are pretty small.
If you want to scale it down, just make 1/4 of the recipe. Divide all the amounts by 4 and instead of making a 3 layer cake, pipe out 2 individual meringue disks, about 3-4 inches in diameter), or one 8 inch round cake that you will split between the two of you.
If you do make only make 2 smaller disks, the drying time will be significantly decreased (may be to 4-6 hours, instead of 9-12). Also if your oven temperature goes down to 150F, dry it at 150F and increase the drying time, this will give you very white meringue (which is esthetically more appealing to the eye).
Am I the only one who noticed the cream portion of the recipe was just a replication of the meringue? I would really like the whole recipe. Thank you.
Good eye Cheryl! I think when I was editing the recipe I pasted the wrong part by mistake.
I made the corrections to the recipe.
Thank you, Marina! I am a fairly avid baker. Heck I’ve even masters full on 21+ cup cakes. But I love to appreciate others approaches and try new things. Thank you again.
I might be beatnig a dead horse, but thank you for posting this!
Wow what a beautiful cake! I’m sure it tastes just as good as it looks!
Oh yes it does)))