Mary Berry's strawberry cake
Cooking time:plus 4hr chilling time
Skill level: Bit of effort
Costs: Splashing out
It takes time to make Mary Berry's strawberry and almond 'dacquoise ' but the end result is very impressive.
- 60g slivered almonds
- 6 egg whites
- 225g (8oz) caster sugar
- 600g (1 ¼ lb) strawberries
- Chocolate butter cream (see cook's notes below)
- 450ml (¾pt) double or whipping cream
- In a frying pan over a medium heat, toast the almonds until golden, stirring frequently. Then allow to cool. In a food processor or a blender, blend almonds until finely ground. Set aside.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment or foil. Using 20-cm/8-inch round plate or cake tin as a guide, mark 2 circles on each baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 140°C (275°F / gas mark 1). In a large bowl, with the electric mixer on full speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar, 1tbsp at a time, beating well at each addition until whites stand in soft, glossy peaks.
- In the meringue mixture, using a wire whisk or rubber spatula, carefully fold the ground, toasted almonds.
- Spoon one quarter of the mixture inside each circle on baking parchment or foil; with palette knife, evenly spread meringue to cover entire circle.
- Place baking sheets with meringue on two oven racks and bake for 30 mins. Switch baking sheets between racks so the meringue browns evenly: bake for 30 mins longer or until golden.
- Cool meringues on baking sheets on wire racks for 10 mins. Using a fish slice, loosen the meringues from the baking sheets and transfer to the wire racks. Cool completely.
- Hull and thinly slice 150g (5oz) strawberries. Prepare the chocolate butter cream (see cook's notes below).
- Place 1 meringue layer on a serving platter and using a palette knife, spread with one third of the butter cream. Top with one third of the sliced strawberries. Make 2 more layers and top with the last meringue layer.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the double or whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon about one third of the cream into a piping bag with large star tube and set aside.
- Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top and side of the gateau. Decorate the top edge with the cream from the piping bag and use a four-pronged fork to make vertical line around the side of the cake.
- Chill the dacquoise in the fridge for 4 hrs to soften the meringue layers slightly, making it easier to cut.
- Cut 16 slices from the remaining strawberries and press into the cream on the side of the cake.
- Top the cake with the remaining strawberries, hulled and cut in half.
Cook's note: Here's how to make your own chocolate butter cream. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together 450g (1lb) sifted icing sugar, 90g (3oz) softened butter, 3tbsp milk or single cream and 45g (1 ½oz) cocoa powder until smooth. Add more milk, if necessary, until the butter cream has an easy spreading consistency. This recipe is taken from Mary Berry's Desserts, available at Amazon, priced £11.39.