almond-meringue cake with berries
Prep Time:30 minutes |
Cook Time:1 hour
Today is Tuesday Recipe’s 5th birthday so I baked us a cake — at least a virtual one (the real one I made for Mother’s Day). Here’s why you’ll love it: it’s almond meringue, so it’s easier to make than a flour/egg/butter batter; it’s gluten-free for those of you who are sensitive to that; and it’s not fussy. Just take a look at the photo. Does that look like something I styled and labored over? Nope. It’s just a simple shot taken in the moment with my iPhone, while everyone was waiting to dive in. The cake tastes like marzipan, but is lighter, and has that contrast of crisp and smooth, tart and sweet, that makes everyone go, “ooooh, this is sooooo good.”
3 ounces whole almonds, blanched, peeled and cooled (see note) or slivered almonds
1-1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 pound berries
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9- to 10-inch springform pan with a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom and up the sides — fit the parchment into the pan as if it were pie dough; don’t worry if it creases or if there’s some hanging out the top. Set lined pan aside.
In a food processor, pulse the blanched almonds with 1/4 cup of the sugar until so finely ground it looks like coarse sugar, but not so fine that the nuts turn to paste.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy, then increase speed and beat until soft peaks form. Using a 1 tablespoon measure, beat in the remaining 1 cup of sugar a spoonful at a time until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the ground almond–sugar mixture. Scrape meringue into parchment-lined pan and bake on middle rack of oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 275° and continue to bake until golden outside, about 40 minutes more (it may crack). Turn off the oven then open door and let meringue cool in oven for at least an hour (once oven is completely cool, you can close the door and leave the meringue in there up to overnight—just don’t turn on oven again while it’s in there).
To serve, clean the berries, hulling and slicing strawberries if using. Whip the cream. Open the springform pan and remove meringue; place a serving platter over the meringue and invert onto the platter; gently peel off parchment (don’t worry if cake crumbles a bit). Spread cream on top then heap with a few berries. Cut into wedges and serve with remaining berries on the side.
note: to blanch almonds, drop nuts into a small pan of boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Drain and let cool slightly. Puncture the skin of each almond near the narrow end with your fingernail; squeeze the nut to pop it out of the skin. Discard skins. Spread peeled nuts on a baking sheet and place in the preheating oven for about 4 minutes to just dry them out. Remove and let cool completely before grinding with the sugar.