Saturday, 17 April 2010
In the past few days I've really been craving light summer food. I wanted strawberries and cream and cake and meringue and cotton dresses swishing in the summer breeze around my bare legs. This ticked all the boxes. (Well, to be precise, the weather ticked the last one). I remembered this cake from Nigella's Forever Summer and thought it would be perfect for today. I didn't have the book as it's at home but I found the recipe online at Not Quite Nigella.
These strawberries were half price and looked beautiful - how could I resist? I also couldn't resist these beautiful flowers from my favourite flower shop in the Covered Market. Little things like buying flowers for our flat really make a difference to me - I adore having fresh flowers around to brighten my day. Even though we now have blossom blooming outside our window...
Today I also picked up my new lens - a F2.8/50mm macro. I haven't entirely sussed it out but I'm very pleased so far. It's very different from my kit lens. I've had a lovely day messing around with it and baking this cake. (I did some work for my essay too, I promise).
The first slice I had was wonderful - the cake itself was still slightly warm and incredibly light and moist. The crunch of the meringue against the soft cake and creamy filling provides a wonderful texture. And, of course, the strawberries are perfect in the middle of cream and sugar. Ever other slice has been yummy too, but that first slice really made an impression.
I had to halve this recipe for my own safety - none of the usual suspects are around to help me eat it, and this isn't the type of cake you can sit and look at without eating. Trust me. This halved recipe hasn't lasted long...
As usual, I made a few little changes. I didn't have any flaked almonds so I kept the tops simple. I also didn't want the cake to be overly sweet, so I added a little greek yogurt to the whipped cream to take the edge off it and complement the meringue.
Strawberry Meringue Cake
(Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer)
For the cake:
50g unsalted butter
50g golden caster sugar
2 egg yolks
62g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base and grease the sides of a 5" round loose bottom tin. Cream the butter and sugar together then add the egg yolks one by one, beating well in between. Sift the flour, baking powder and cornflour over the top and fold in (mine was really quite dry). Add the milk and vanilla and fold to combine. Spread half of the mixture evenly in the bottom of the tin and reserve the other half.
2 egg whites
100g golden caster sugar
Whisk the egg whites until frothy then gradually add the sugar until you have stiff shiny peaks that do not slip out of the bowl if upturned. Spread half the meringue over the cake mix and create a few decorative peaks. Put into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave for five minutes then slide a knife around the edge and remove to a cooling rack. Clean the tin and repeat with the other half of the cake mix and meringue.
For the filling:
100 ml double cream
1 tbsp greek yogurt
small punnet of strawberries
Whip the cream until it's fairly stiff. Fold in the greek yogurt. Choose the cake half with the least attractive meringue and turn it over onto the serving plate and spread the cream mixture over the cake. Slice the strawberries and arrange them in a double layer over the cream. Top with the other half and squish slightly.
(Serves about 4)