Louise Cake

20180409_103155Once again we’re adapting a recipe from Ottolenghi and Goh’s Sweet. They in turn have been inspired by the traditional Louise cake from New Zealand, which is a slice with a cake layer topped with raspberry jam and a coconut meringue. Ottolenghi and Goh’s version uses fresh fruit; you could use any stone fruit which is in season, just be sure it’s ripe but not too soft. We love the addition of flaked almonds to the meringue, as it adds a delicious crunch to the fluffy meringue and syrupy fruit. The cake is fairly rich so you could bake it in a square tin and cut into small squares to serve, or bake in a round tin as we did for a more decadent serving.

Ingredients:

  • 125g unslated butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 100g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 80ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 medium plums (450g), ripe but firm (or any stonefruit in season)

For the meringue:

  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 140g egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3.
  2. Spread the flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes, or until they are a light brown colour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 185°C/Gas mark 5. Using a 20cm square or 23cm round tin with removable base, line the base and sides with baking paper.
  4. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. Add the coconut and stir to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on a low speed, and alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Place in the oven and cook for around 25 minutes. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Slice each plum vertically in half and discard the stones. Slice each half into four segments so you have 8 segments per plum.
  6. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Place the plum segments on top of the cake, forming a layer of fruit across the surface. Be sure not to overlap the plums though, or the fruit layer will become too watery.
  7. To make the meringue, whisk together the egg whites and salt on a medium-high speed, until soft peaks form. Add the sugar a little at a time, and continue to whisk until the egg whites are stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour and whisk again until combined. Fold in the toasted almond flakes.
  8. Spoon the meringue into the cake tin, on top of the fruit layer and spread out evenly. Create waves and peaks in the meringue by dabbing a spatula into and out of the mixture. Place in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Bake for 35 minutes or until the meringue has formed a hard crust and is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing the base of the tin and removing the baking paper to serve.

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