Monday, January 11, 2010

Louise cake: meringue-topped delight

Some recipes endure no matter what whims of culinary fashion prevail. Louise cake is one of these perennial favourites. A shortcake base, coconut-meringue topping and a filling of berry jam sit together in perfect harmony.

Most recipes for Louise cake call for raspberry jam, but you can use any jam that is on hand. Squares or shallow cakes baked in a Swiss roll tin are quick to make and easy to store.

They are less time-consuming than making biscuits, which tend to be baked in batches and then iced or filled, or sometimes both.

Squares neatly circumvent all that fiddling and when the family is around you want something that can be made and replaced quickly. You can easily vary this recipe by using different fillings.

Try adding lemon zest to the shortcake base and using lemon curd as a filling, or replacing two tablespoons of the flour with cocoa powder and making a quick caramel in the microwave with condensed milk, butter and golden syrup. Today's traditional recipe has a twist; I have added a cupful of fresh raspberries to the jam filling for extra flavour.

A very happy new year to all Southland Times cooks and bakers.


* 150g softened butter
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 4 medium eggs
* 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
* 1/2 cup raspberry jam
* 1/2 cup coconut
* 1/2 cup extra sugar
* 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Method: Set oven at 180degC and line a Swiss roll tin with baking paper.

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Separate eggs, reserving the whites.

Add the yolks to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Gradually add the flour until a dough forms. wPress dough into prepared tin then spread with the jam.

Dot the raspberries over the jam.

Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form.

Gradually add the second measure of sugar until meringue is glossy and holds its shape well.

Fold in the coconut then spread evenly over the cake.

Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden.

Allow to cool in tin then cut into squares and store in an airtight container.


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