Chocolate Panda Cake With Pistachio Cream And Chocolate Meringue Bamboo Sticks
Did you know you can eat bamboo? Well, at least the kind we're making for this dessert recipe! This panda cake with chocolate meringue bamboo sticks has got to be one of the best-looking cakes of the year, and it tastes just as good as it looks! Filled with pistachio and chocolate cream, two flavors that complement each other extremely well, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to deny themselves this adorable treat. And we can't rave enough about the chocolate meringue sticks that look exactly like a panda's favorite food – this cake is simply bambootiful!
For the chocolate cake:
- 2¼ cups flour
1¼ cups sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 eggs
For the chocolate meringue bamboo sticks:
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 7 egg whites
- 1 pinch baking powder
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- maple syrup
- ground pistachios
For the pistachio cream:
1¼ cups heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- ¾ cup pistachios, shelled
- ½ package unflavored gelatin powder (optional)
For the chocolate cream:
- 2½ sticks butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- springform pan
- grated chocolate
- chopped pistachios
- fresh mint
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and start on the chocolate cake. Add the flour, cocoa powder, eggs, baking powder, salt, oil, buttermilk, and water to a bowl and mix everything with a hand mixer. Transfer the batter to a springform pan and bake for 50 minutes.
2. Lower the oven temperature to 275°F and start on the chocolate meringue bamboo sticks. Combine the egg whites with a pinch of baking powder and beat everything with a hand mixer on the highest setting. Gradually add the powdered sugar and keep mixing everything until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then mix the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder, sift it into the beaten egg white mixture, and carefully fold it in.
3. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Transfer the egg white mixture to a piping bag with a smooth 0.2-inch nozzle and pipe individual lines lengthwise on the baking sheet (with about ¼ inch in between each line). Bake the meringue sticks in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the meringue is crispy. Then allow the sticks to cool down to room temperature.
4. Heat the blade of a knife with a lighter and carefully press it in even increments into the meringue sticks to create that typical bamboo look. Brush maple syrup over the bamboo sticks and sprinkle ground pistachios over half of the sheet pan.
5. For the pistachio cream, mix the milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn starch, and egg yolk in a pot over medium heat. Bring everything to a boil and stir until it reaches a creamy consistency. Transfer the homemade custard to a tall container and let it cool a bit. Add the shelled pistachios and mix everything with an immersion blender until smooth. Refrigerate the pistachio cream until it has completely cooled down.
6. For the chocolate cream, beat the butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until frothy. Afterwards, cut off the "dome" of the cake and then cut the cake in half horizontally.
7. Spread the pistachio cream on one half of the cake and place the other half on top.
8. Coat the entire cake with the chocolate cream and sprinkle grated chocolate and finely chopped pistachios on top.
9. Now decorate the cake with the chocolate meringue bamboo sticks. Break them apart and place them upright all around the cake, with a few smaller pieces scattered on top. Garnish some of the bamboo sticks with mint leaves and add a toy panda or two as a finishing touch.
The green from the pistachio cream and the brown from the chocolate cream really give this cake its nature-loving look. But try it yourself, you won't be disappointed!