Topped with pretty meringue peaks and filled with fresh berries, this fun, fruity cake is a real showstopper. Find more recipes from Masterchef finalist Hannah Miles in HELLO! out now.
"Layers of almond sponge and delicate pink meringue all sandwiched together with cream and fresh berries. The cake is topped with pretty meringue peaks, which make a spectacular decoration."
For the almond sponge
225g/8oz butter, softened
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 large eggs 100g/4oz ground almonds
100g/4oz self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
For the meringue
3 large egg whites
175g/6oz caster sugar
Pink food colouring gel or paste
300ml/half a pint double cream
250g/9oz strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
3 tbsp strawberry jam
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4 and grease and line 2 x 20cm/8in cake tins with baking parchment. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are firm and spring back to the touch.
3. Remove the cakes from the oven, turn out onto a rack and leave to cool completely. Remove the lining paper and place the 2 cakes slightly apart on the lined baking sheet.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 130C, 250F, Gas ½.
5. Next make the meringue. In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then, whisking continuously, add the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, along with a little pink food colouring gel so that the meringue turns a petty pink colour. The meringue should be stiff and hold a peak when you lift the beaters or whisk.
6. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe a circle of meringue over the top of the first cake in a flat layer. Pipe the remaining meringue in peaks on the other cake, lifting the nozzle up high as you pipe each ball of meringue to make high peaks. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 1-1¼ hours, until the meringue is crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
7. When you are ready to serve, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Place the cake with the flat layer of meringue on a serving plate and spoon over whipped cream. Top with the strawberries and the jam then carefully place the peak-topped meringue cake on top. Serve straightaway. As the cake contains fresh cream, store any uneaten pieces in the refrigerator and eat within two days.