I can’t remember the first time I heard of the idea of baking meringue on top of a cake layer, but I do remember that it sounded amazing. I think I bookmarked a recipe and then promptly forgot about it. And although I already have an amazing recipe for Peach Cloud Cake that involves cake, meringue, fruit, and cream (and is incredible, you must try it!), peaches are not in season yet, which meant I had to find a different recipe to bring along to a barbecue this weekend.
Enter King Arthur Flour’s Berry Blitz Torte. Or as I (more descriptively) call it, Raspberry Meringue Cream Cake. It looked really incredible, and I couldn’t wait to try it– since I was taking it to feed a crowd, I doubled the recipe to make a 9×13″ cake. I admit, instead of making the pastry cream from scratch I used my own shortcut (which is actually the same one recommended by the website) and used instant pudding made with light cream instead of milk– it makes for a rich, creamy filling with none of the egg-tempering or tedious stirring over a stovetop.
The verdict? Eh, so-so. The meringue part was pretty neat, but the cake itself came out dry. I don’t believe I overbaked it– I baked the cakes for the 30 minutes recommended for much smaller layers, just until the almonds turned light brown– so I can only conclude it was a problem with the recipe. I think it would be much tastier with a more conventional whole-egg recipe. It still looked really impressive and the flavors were good, though. I may try it again the next time I have extra egg whites around.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbs. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
8 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbs. sugar
Quick Pastry Cream
1 package instant vanilla pudding (I used sugar- and fat-free)
1 package instant white chocolate pudding (I used sugar- and fat-free)
4 cups light cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9×13″ cake pans. Or lightly grease the pans, line with parchment, and lightly grease the parchment as well.
2. To make the cake: beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks until well combined. Scrape the bowl, and beat briefly to incorporate any sticky residue.
3. Beat in the vanilla, milk, baking powder, and flour; the batter will be thick.
4. Spread the batter in the prepared pans (it will barely cover the bottom of the pans; that’s OK).
5. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy; gradually add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and continue to beat until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and makes soft peaks. (not stiff peaks)
6. Spread the meringue on the cake batter. Sprinkle the almonds over the meringue. Mix the cinnamon with the sugar, and dust on top.
7. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned. Leave room between oven racks for them to puff up a lot!
8. While the cakes are baking, beat together pudding mixes and cream until thickened. It’ll feel like very loose pudding, but will firm up in the fridge. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
9. Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Carefully and thoroughly loosen the edge of each cake, and gently turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
10. To assemble, spread pastry cream over one of the cake layers and sprinkle generously with raspberries. Top with the other cake layer. Serve quickly, or the cake may get soggy– meringue may also deflate in the refrigerator.