Apple-Tahini Dacquoise Cake
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Recipe courtesy of Emily Weinberger for Food Network Kitchen

Apple-Tahini Dacquoise Cake

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 15 min (includes cooling and chilling times)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Every special gathering deserves something sweet to mark the end of the meal. This elegant gluten-free cake is made by incorporating air into egg whites rather than using a leavener, making it the perfect addition to a Passover celebration. The meringue layers are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and studded with roasted almonds and sesame seeds. Creamy tahini buttercream and tangy apple compote separate and lift the layers of this showstopping dessert.


Dacquoise Cake:

Apple Compote:

Tahini Buttercream:


  1. For the dacquoise cake: Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 275 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Using a bowl as a guide, draw two 7-inch circles on one piece of parchment with a pencil and one 7-inch circle on the other piece; flip the parchment so the markings are underneath.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat, tossing a few times so they do not burn, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer immediately to a food processor. Add the almonds and 1 cup of the granulated sugar and process until the mixture is finely ground and resembles flour. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and fold in the apple juice until combined.
  4. Whisk the cream of tartar, salt, egg whites and remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer or a large heatproof bowl if using a hand mixer. Place the bowl on top of the pot of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking the mixture constantly so the eggs don't start to cook, until the mixture is white and the sugar has dissolved completely, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or the hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture is silky, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon about 1 cup of the egg white mixture into the almond flour mixture and gently fold with a large rubber spatula until combined. Fold the remaining egg white mixture into the bowl until just combined, taking care not to overmix. Clean the mixer bowl and set aside to use again.
  6. Divide the batter among the 3 circles on the parchment and spread evenly with an offset spatula to fill the circles. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, then switch the position of the pans and continue to bake until the meringue layers are firm, dry and golden, 30 to 45 minutes longer. The layers are done when they easily peel off the parchment. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then peel off the parchment and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  7. For the apple compote: Meanwhile, put the apple juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the juice has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the apples, honey, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened and the liquid is thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Fold in the walnuts, then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  8. For the tahini buttercream: Add the butter and tahini to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and or a large bowl using a hand mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined and light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and salt and beat just to combine. Cover the bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  9. To assemble the cake: Put 2 meringue layers on a baking sheet; spread a third of the buttercream onto each, to the edge. Divide the apple compote between the 2 meringue layers on top of the buttercream and spread, leaving a little space around the edge. Place one of the compote-topped meringues on a platter and stack with the other compote-topped meringue. Top with the last meringue, then cover the top with the remaining buttercream, making large swoops and swirls. Top with chopped walnuts and sesame seeds, if desired. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour and up to overnight before serving. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing.

Cook’s Note

Sesame seeds, tahini and confectioners' sugar are kitniyot and are not consumed in Ashkenazi communities during Passover.