Cake Decorating 101: How to Make Torched Meringue

I love the “beautiful mess” style of cake decorating, seemingly all over the place yet actually artful and intentional. Cakes with piped buttercream drop stars, modern candies, fresh berries, and edible flowers, etc.

My favourite current trend is the “torched meringue” look. I first saw this style of cake from Australian pastry chef Andy Bowdy - drips of caramel or ganache, and momentous piles of edible decor in the form of crunchy malt balls, creamy mousse, freeze-dried berries and of course, billowing swaths of torched meringue. To decorate with torched meringue, make sure your cake is well chilled prior to using the kitchen blowtorch. You will also want to “torch” in short bursts rather than long periods of holding the flame against the cake to avoid melting your buttercream. Using my amazing new KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Stand Mixer, I created a Swiss-style meringue to decorate with - billowy and glossy, it did its job wonderfully.


Ingredients

  • Swiss Meringue
  • –––––––––––––––––––
  • 150 milliliters egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
 

Directions

  1. Set a medium sized pot 1/4 full with water on the stovetop with temperature set to medium-high.

  2. In the metal bowl of the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Stand Mixer, whisk together the egg whites and granulated white sugar.

  3. Place the metal bowl on top of the medium sized pot filled with water - we are essentially creating a double boiler effect. You do not want the water to touch the metal bowl, but simply the boiling water to heat the bowl from below.

  4. Whisk the egg and sugar mixture occasionally until a digital read thermometer inserted into the mix reads 160 F/70 C. Reaching this temperature ensures all dangerous bacteria has been eliminated.

  5. Place the metal bowl back onto the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini and fit it with the whisk attachment.

  6. Whisk on medium-high speed for about 8-10 minutes, until glossy medium-stiff peaks have formed.

  7. You can either use a piping bag to create piles of meringue on top of your cake, or use a large spoon to dollop and free-form. I went for a large swath across one side of the cake; make sure you balance the cake on the other side with your other decorations so the design doesn't feel lopsided, or feel free to pile up the meringue all over the cake.

  8. Using your kitchen blowtorch, enable the igniter by pressing down with your thumb, creating a quick, small flame. (I practiced pressing the blowtorch in my kitchen sink first just to test the size of the flame!) Upon igniting, using a quick motion, torch the meringue in short one-second bursts, as to not melt anything around the meringue. Continue to torch the meringue in short bursts until it reaches your desired browned-ness and toastiness