Monday, 16 June 2014

Louise Cake

My grandmother, Margaret, was a great baker. I fondly remembers that whenever I visited her, there was always baking in the tins – often Louise Cake which has been a firm favourite of mine ever since.

With the current renaissance of baking it is popular in cafes. Fortunately, whether you have a newly developed (or more nostalgic) taste for Louise Cake, it’s not hard to make.

For 12 servings (at least):

100g softened butter
1/2 cup sugar 
2 (large) egg yolks 
1 tsp vanilla essence 
1 cup self-raising flour 
1 cup standard (plain) flour
1/2 cup good quality raspberry jam
2 large egg whites 
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup sugar 
3/4 cup coconut shreds

Heat oven to 160°C (150°C if using fan bake), with the rack just below the middle of the oven. Line the sides and bottom of a pan about 18x28cm with baking paper, allowing enough extra paper on the sides for lifting the cooked slice out, or spray a 23cm square loose bottomed pan.

For base, put the softened butter and sugar in a food processor or large bowl. Separate two eggs, adding the yolks to this mixture (and put the whites in a very clean medium-sized bowl ready to use for the topping). Add the vanilla essence, mix the egg yolks through the softened butter and sugar, then add the two flours and mix again until evenly crumbly. Tip crumbly mixture into prepared pan and press down evenly. Bake for 15 minutes.

For topping, beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy, then add the sugar and beat until the tips of peaks turn over when the beater is lifted from them. Then fold 1/2 cup of the coconut evenly through the meringue.

Spread the jam over the warm shortcake. Drop the meringue in spoonfuls on top, then spread evenly with a knife. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Bake for about 15 minutes at 160°C (150°C if using fan bake) or until the meringue feels crisp and is evenly and lightly coloured.

Cool completely before cutting into pieces of the desired size.

Serve with tea or coffee. Store preferably one layer deep in a cool place, with lid slightly ajar.

Photography: Lindsay Keats

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