A few weeks ago on twitter Evin was looking for suggestions for an alternative Christening cake and I suggested this one. This is a cake that I’ve used for christenings, birthdays, First Communions and even a small wedding. It’s versatile, elegant and relatively simple to make but it does look impressive!
I made one for a ‘surprise’ birthday recently and decided to go for three layers rather than the normal two. You only need three things to assemble this cake – meringues, butter cream and whipped cream , lots of it!
For the Meringue Discs, I used 8 egg whites and 16oz caster sugar whisked together in the Kenwood until mixture formed stiff peaks (NB make sure your bowl is clean and dry before adding the egg whites !)
Btw meringue measurements only even seem to work for me in imperial – 2 ozs sugar to each egg white.
Draw 3 20cm/8″ circles on parchment paper – turn the paper over so pencil doesn’t get on cake and pipe the meringue mix evenly over the three circles. Don’t worry there will be some leftover – I just pipe these as baby meringues.
Now comes the part where everyone seems to disagree – I cook the discs at 130 C Fan for 30 mins, check to see how they’re doing and normally end up leaving them for another 10-15 mins at 100 C Fan. You’ll know the meringues are done when you can lift them off the paper easily. I always leave my meringues to cool in the (switched-off!) oven.
Please note it’s very useful to stick a tea-towel in the oven door to remind yourself that there’s something in there – twice baked meringues are not good – trust me I know!
Next you need to make Chocolate Butter Cream. For three layers I used 9 oz butter, 13oz icing sugar and 3 oz Green & Black’s Cocoa Powder – blend all three ingredients in a food processor and add in good dash of rum or brandy to loosen the mixture.
You also need to whip lots of Glenisk cream – I think I used at least a litre on this cake (see I’m incapable of sticking to one measurement system – must be the engineer in me!)
Now to assemble the cake, sorry gateau!
Use a little butter cream to keep the base meringue layer in place on the cake board , then carefully spread butter cream over the first meringue disc.
Then cover the butter cream with whipped cream (I never said this was going to be low calorie, did I ?)
Place the next meringue disc on top of the cream and then repeat the chocolate butter cream and whipped cream layers. Top with the final meringue disc
Then just in case there isn’t enough cream – you need to cover the entire cake in more of it!
I put it in the freezer to set overnight at this point – if time is of the essence you can skip this step and decorate it straight away.
Now came the tricky bit – I normally just decorate the top with lots of chocolate and baby meringues but something made me want to write on the top this time (never again!). I did lots of practising……….
and I got lots of twitter support from Arnelle and Rosanne on how to pipe writing, freeze it, lift it off paper onto the cake, use stencils…… I even tried following Zack’s instructions for making a mini piping bag….
And this is what I ended up with ….
I may need more practise on my writing but the cake itself went down very well even if the birthday girl wasn’t as surprised as she should have been!
I hope you like it too!