Thursday, July 19, 2007

Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake

Today was Dawn's birthday (our last office birthday for over a month!). I have had enough chocolate cake for quite a while, so wanted to make a non-chocolate birthday treat for Dawn. For quite some time, I had been looking longingly at the recipe for Strawberry Meringue Layer Cake on p202 of Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. It seems quite ironic that, in the coldest winter in Melbourne in 10 years or so, I would be making something from a book whose title features summer. However, I think you neeed a bit of irony to fight the bitter cold.

This cake is effectively a pavlova and a sponge cake in one. The sponge component was yet another cake from Nigella's books with odd, very thick batter which I was not sure would work, but sure enough, it came out smelling and tasting quite good. The only minor issue is that the sponge batter did not quite seem to cover the bottom of my springform pans, hence there was a slight gap between the edge of the meringue and the start of the sponge in a couple of places. However, once I smooshed the two meringue/sponge layers together with cream and strawberries in the middle, it didn't really matter. The flaked almonds on top of this cake added a nice toasty flavour to the cake. A deep crack in one of my layers (resulting from the sponge/meringue mismatch) also didn't matter - I put that layer on the bottom, and no-one was any the wiser.

Despite the seemingly overtly sweet nature of this cake (300g of sugar and a whole carton of cream!), the finished product was not overly sweet, and many people remarked how much they liked this cake. I was pretty happy with the final result, despite my doubts during the process of making this cake, and think it is one of the prettiest cakes that I have made for a while.

I recommend this cake to anyone who is actually experiencing summer and has an abundance of strawberries, and for anyone who, like me, is pining for summer, and wishes to make it seem just a little bit closer by making this lovely cake.

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