Recipe: Lemon Meringue Cake
A cake on a grand scale that tastes as good as it looks. Make it from scratch or buy the best sponge cake, meringues and lemon curd you can and proceed to assembly. Use a cardboard cake round if possible. The cake is lovely to eat the day after making.
Recipe: Ruth Pretty Photo: Carolyn Robertson
Genoise Sponge Cake
6 medium eggs
185g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
185g standard flour
pinch of salt
90g butter, melted and warm
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease the base and sides of a 23cm/24cm cake tin with baking spray and dust sides lightly with flour, shaking to remove excess. Line the base of the tin with baking paper.
Place the eggs and sugar into a warmed bowl and whisk until pale and thick. Add the vanilla. Sift flour and salt, and fold gently into the egg mixture until about three-quarters combined. Then add the warm melted butter and gently fold together.
Working quickly, pour batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top and place in oven. Bake for 20—25 minutes or until golden and the cake sides have slightly shrunk away from the sides of the tin. Cool for 5—10 minutes before removing.
The cake requires approximately 60 meringues, so make two batches as the recipe is too much for a domestic mixer.
8 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
560g caster sugar
Preheat oven to 100°C. Prepare several baking trays with baking paper. Whisk egg whites and salt for exactly 1 minute. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the sugar. Once the mixture is stiff, and the sugar completely dissolved, dollop or pipe 6cm—7cm rounds onto the prepared trays. Bake for 90 minutes until crispy and dry. Cool and store airtight in the pantry.
Serena’s Lemon Cream
½ teaspoon salt
375ml lemon juice, fresh or bottled
12 egg yolks, lightly beaten
15g (5 teaspoons) gelatine powder
To make Serena’s Lemon Cream, first make lemon curd. In a heavy-based saucepan, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon juice to a smooth cream. Add the yolks and whisk to combine. Place the saucepan over a low heat and, without boiling, stir constantly for 8—10 minutes until the mixture is thick. Press plastic wrap on the surface and set the curd aside to cool.
Put ¼ cup of cold water into a bowl and sprinkle with the gelatine. Leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes or until a sponge has formed. Microwave on low for 30 seconds or until the sponge is melted and, when cool, begin whipping the cream while slowly pouring in the gelatin. Whip until silky and soft but firm enough to stand up. Gently fold the lemon curd into the firmed whipped cream. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1 x 24cm Genoise Sponge Cake, preferably a day old (if fresh), frozen for 30 minutes
Serena’s Lemon Cream (see above)
Slice the chilled genoise sponge into three even horizontal layers placing the bottom layer of the cake onto a cardboard cake round — if using one. Divide the lemon cream into four portions. Spread a quarter of the lemon cream onto the bottom layer of the cake and top with a second layer of cake. Repeat twice. If possible, refrigerate overnight at this stage. Spread the remaining lemon cream onto the top and sides of the cake.
Break the meringues into chunky pieces and boldly stick all over the top and sides of the cake. Store in a cool place, not the refrigerator. Serves 12—16
Strawberries with Lemon & Tawari Honey
Toss together 2 punnets strawberries (hulled and quartered), 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 tablespoons tawari honey (or other floral honey). Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.