It’s got to be Norwegian cloud cake. I’ve made it twice now for lunchtime guests and it’s gone down a storm. Not surprising really as the layers of rich sponge baked with meringue and sandwiched with lightly whipped cream and summer fruits is a real crowd pleaser. And anyone who knows my recipes will trust that when I say it is simple to make I am not kidding. The sponge is a bung-it-all-in-a bowl-and-beat one, the meringue, ok the meringue takes a bit of care, but only a little bit, the rest is a cinch. I always make the spongy meringues the day before and sandwich them together a couple of hours ahead of serving to give all the componant parts time to get to know each other. Then you can just get on with having fun with your friends and forget about it till serving time. If you can’t fit all the fruit in the centre just serve it on the side for spooning over. And I know we are told not to be a show off but once in a while it feels good.
Norwegian cloud cake
FOR THE CAKE
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar
100g softened butter
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
FOR THE MERINGUE
4 egg whites
100g each caster and icing sugar
2 tbsp flaked almonds
50g white chocolate,optional
FOR THE FILLING
500g summer berries
1 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp vodka, optional
300ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4. Line two baking sheets with baking paper and draw a rectangle on each, 10cm x 22cm. Turn the paper over and fix to the baking sheets with a little butter on each corner.
2 Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add the remaining cake ingredients and beat for 2-3 mins until light and fluffy. Spread half the mixture evenly over each rectangle.
3 To make the meringue whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until it forms stiff peaks, Continue whisking while added the sugars to make a stiff heavy meringue. Spread half the meringue over each cake mixture, spreading it over the edges to enclose it. Smooth one meringue flat and form swirls and peaks with the other. Sprinkle the almonds over the peaks.
4 Bake the cakes for 30 minutes until the meringue is golden and crisp. Leave to cool on the baking sheets.
5 Break up the chocolate if using and melt in a small bowl over hot water or in the microwave. Drizzle over the almondy meringue Jackson Pollock style.
5 Tip the berries into a bowl, halving or slicing any that are large, and sprinkle with sugar, and vodka if using. Stir well, then leave to macerate until the juices flow, about 1 hour.
6 To assemble the cake whip the cream with the vanilla to stiff peaks. Set a sieve over a bowl and strain the berries, reserving the juices. Invert the flat meringue cake onto a wire rack, peel off the paper and put on a flat plate meringue side down. Spread with cream and then cover with berries. Invert the other cake, peel off the paper and put on the cake meringue side up. Dust with icing sugar and serve cut into thick slices with the reserved juices in a small jug for pouring over.