Meringue cake is a pavlova that is dressed up for the ball. It’s proper name is a Spanish Wind Torte and as a child I used to admire the photo of it that adorned the front of Time-Life Foods of The World Book,”The Cooking of Vienna’s Empire”. It is a perfect gluten and wheat free birthday cake for friends with intolerances. Here I have filled it with cream and fruit, you can also add shaved chocolate to the mix if you would like it even more sweet.
Ingredients – meringue circles
8 Egg whites
570g (20.11 ounces) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Ingredients – meringue covering for the cake
4 Egg whites
280g (9.88 ounces) caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Ingredients – Royal icing for the details
1 egg white
150g (5.29 ounces) icing sugar
purple food colouring and silver cachous (optional)
Ingredients – To fill the cake
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
500g (17.64 ounces) fruit of your choice – eg strawberries, kiwi fruit, seedless grapes
200g (7.05 ounces) finely chopped milk chocolate (optional – I don’t think this dessert needs it but some traditional recipes include chocolate)
STEP 1: Take a saucer or a cereal bowl, turn it upside down and use it to draw 4 circles onto nonstick baking paper (this is better than greaseproof paper). I used a plate that was 19 cm (7.48 inches) or 7 1/2 inches (5.08 centimetres) in diameter.
Whisk together the 8 egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar for your circles. Continue to beat until firm peaks form, you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out.
Scoop into a piping bag and pipe 5 large circles.
Bake at 93 degrees C (200 degrees F) for approximately 45 minutes. Allow to cool.
STEP 2: Whisk together your 4 egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar for covering the cake until stiff peaks form. Place half of this mixture into a piping bag.
Place one of you meringue circles onto a fresh sheet of non-stick baking paper. Pipe a circle of meringue on top of it. Carefully place a baked meringue circle on top of that. Pipe another ring of meringue, top with baked circle and repeat until you have stacked all five rings.
Use the remaining meringue mixture to coat the sides of the ‘cake’. Using a clean L shaped ruler to ensure sides are smooth and straight. See video below for details.
Bake at 93 degrees C (200 degrees F) for 30 minutes, then continue to bake for another 15 minutes checking it every 5 minutes – you do not want it to brown. Allow to cool.
STEP 3 Royal Icing Details: Place your 1 egg white and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until very stiff, when you turn the beaters off and lift them the mixture that is on the beaters should hold its shape.
Scoop most of the royal icing into a ziplock bag or piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle. Colour the remaining small amount purple and place into a seperate bag.
Transfer your cake to the plate you will be serving it on. Using the white royal icing pipe a border around the top and base of you cake and then pipe a design on the sides. Create contrast with some little purple flowers finished with a silver cachous in the centre.
STEP 4: Fill your cake Wash, dry and dice your fruit, reserve a few pieces uncut for the top. Using an electric mixer whisk the cream until soft peaks form (do not over whip or you will make butter). Fold in the fruit and chopped chocolate if you are using it.
Scoop into the centre of the cake and top with reserved fresh fruit.
Best eaten fresh but you can store in the fridge overnight if you need. A word of warning if you are leaving it in the fridge overnight the meringue will being to ‘weep’, which means a sugary syrup will start to drain to the bottom of your cake and possibly through your fridge. If you are using a flat cake stand like the one pictured place some paper towel or a plate under the cake stand.