xmas month 2022 - louise cake with rhubarb

Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner? For Christmas this year I promised you loads of meringue and lashings of whipped cream and mascarpone. Today's bake is an adaptation of the Louise cake with plums recipe from Sweet by Helen Goh and Ottolenghi, crowned with a fulsome layer of almond flecked meringue.

I've made this cake 3 times now. The first adaptation wasn't very successful - the cake to meringue ratio didn't work so I went back to the drawing board and came up with this recipe. It's great with plums but as they're not in season yet, I made the cake with rhubarb. I think any tart fruit would work though. I took the cake to a friend's place for dessert and told them I was auditioning the recipe for Christmas.

The cake was such a hit I'd feel a bit of a heel not sharing it with you. Here's the recipe for you which make a 17cm round cake. If you'd like to make a larger version click on the link above for the quantities. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Louise cake with rhubarb
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
65g caster sugar
1½ tsp finely grated lemon zest 
2 large egg yolks
85g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp/pinch salt
15g desiccated coconut
60ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g rhubarb cut into 2 cm pieces
1 tbs caster sugar

40g flaked almonds
90g egg whites (from 3 eggs)
pinch salt
125g caster sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp white wine vinegar
3/4  tsp cornflour

Preheat the oven to 170°C, conventional. Spread out the flaked almonds for the meringue on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 180°C conventional. Line the base and sides of a high-sided 17cm round tin (with a removable base) with baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on a medium-high speed, until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. Add the coconut and stir to combine. With the machine on a low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mix, alternating with the milk and vanilla. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin – it will only rise about a fifth of the way up the sides – and smooth the top evenly. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until the cake is fully cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200°C conventional. Gently lay the rhubarb on top of the cake then sprinkle it with an additional tablespoon of caster sugar.

Place the egg whites and salt in a clean bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat on a medium-high speed for about 1 minute until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to whisk on a high speed until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour and whisk again until combined. Finally, fold in the toasted flaked almonds.

Scrape the meringue into the cake tin, on top of the fruit, and spread out evenly over the fruit. Swirl the meringue around so you get rough waves and peaks, then place in the oven. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 180°C conventional and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the meringue has formed a hard crust and is just beginning to brown. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the cake tin for at least 30 minutes before pushing up the removable base to release the cake. Peel away the parchment paper, place on a platter, and serve.

I probably baked the cake 5 minutes longer than needed but it still tasted great. The cake is best served the day it is baked but will still be good the next day. Any longer and the cake becomes quite soggy and the meringue layer will deflate.

See you all again next week with another bake for Xmas month 2022.

Bye for now 



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