Mother’s Day looks different for everyone.
How we show someone we love them – whether that’s our birth mother, our adopted mother, another mother figure who’s played a significant role in the shaping of our lives, or just another woman in your life that you love – can take many shapes and forms. It might be taking the time out of our day (and theirs) to spend some quality time with them, it might be finding a small meaningful gift to give them – whether it’s handmade or not, it might be surprising them by cleaning the house or car, it might be making them their favourite meal, it might be telling them you love and cherish them, or it could be something as simple as a hug.
I think personally for me, cooking something for mum that’s new or a favourite is a definite win on Mother’s Day, especially if there a bunch of my family there to share it with. I always plan for a shared meal with my mum, dad and any one else in my family that’s around at the time (like my sister and her 3 kids, and my other siblings if they’re in town). One of the rules my mum put in place for our family growing up was having at least one shared family meal a day (usually dinner), because for my mum that shared meal was a time to reconnect with each other and spend some time sharing important things that had happened during the day.
Even now, she’s the reason my parents, my sister (along with her kids) and I get together to have a family night once a week. Even though the conversation at the table may include some very random (and sometimes confusing) stories from my 4 year old nephew about a four-wheeler or a crocodile he saw at the wildlife park - or sometimes things that I'm certain never happened, or even just a run down of my nieces’ day at school it is always entertaining and usually (if all the kids are in a good mood!) a good time with my family. I do cherish those times, even if sometimes it can be a challenge with the kids competing in who can tell the best story or whose turn it is to speak about their day.
Here’s a recipe for a delicious Meringue Layer Cake that you might want to make for your mum (or whoever you like) this weekend. It can be a little tricky, but I promise you no matter what it looks like (things might get a bit rustic), it’ll taste delicious in the end.
Meringue Layer Cake
- 4 egg whites (room temperature)
- 6 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 cups white caster sugar
- ½ cup (60g) almond meal
- 400g chocolate
- ½ cup (125ml) pouring cream
- 1½ cups (375ml) thickened cream
Other things you’ll need
- Electric mixer
- Baking paper
- Oven trays
- Something that’s round and 15-20cm in diameter (like a plate or round cake tin)
- Pencil or pen
- Microwave safe bowl/jug or a bowl and saucepan that’ll work as a double boiler
- Cake stand or large plate for assembling and serving
- Prepare your baking trays by drawing 3 circles using your 15-20cm diameter plate (or other round thing). Flip over the baking paper so you can see the circle but won’t get any of the ink/pencil on your meringue. Set aside your trays. Preheat your oven to 120°C.
- In a large glass or metal bowl add the egg whites, vinegar and 1/3 of the sugar. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture on low until soft glossy peaks form.
- Slowly add the rest of the sugar while beating on low. Careful that it isn’t grainy. You’ll know it’s done when the mixture has stiff peaks and is glossy.
- In a separate bowl add the almond meal, and gradually fold in the meringue mixture into the almond meal until combined. Don’t stir or whisk, gently fold the mixture using a spatula.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared baking trays and shape into circles. Bake at 120°C for 25 minutes or until the meringue is crisp to the touch (a very light touch). Turn off your oven, leaving the meringue in to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Whip the thickened cream until light and fluffy, set aside in the fridge to keep cool.
- Prepare the chocolate ganache melt the chocolate and cream together stirring until smooth – melt together in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside to cool. This will be coming into contact with cream so it needs to be room temperature.
- Once your meringue layers have cooled, and the fillings are ready, it’s time to assemble! Now in this part things don’t have to be perfect, it’s a bit of a rustic layer cake. Place the first layer of meringue on your serving plate. Spread the layer with the chocolate ganache, then a layer of cream. Gently place the next layer of meringue on top and repeat the process. The cake should be topped with the whipped cream. Garnish with your choice or leave it as is.
If you want to make it dairy free, you could use a dairy free dark chocolate (Lindt 70%, Alter Eco, Whittaker’s 50% or up, or your favourite dark chocolate), swap the pouring cream for coconut cream and the whipped cream for whipped coconut cream (the solid part of the top of a refrigerated can or two of full fat coconut milk). If you choose this option for the whipped cream, add a pinch of vanilla bean powder to the whipped coconut cream mixture.
If you don’t like almond, you could swap the almond meal for hazelnut meal. Or you could make your own pistachio meal (finely grind pistachios in a food processor) and add a pinch of rosewater to the ganache or whipped cream and/or garnish with dried rose petals.
Other Garnish Options: Fresh berries, Grated chocolate, Dusting of good quality cocoa, Edible flowers (real ones, not the ones made from sugar)
You can have fun with the flavours with a cake like this. Let us know if you try a variation of your very own creation or post a photo of your meringue layer cake on our Facebook page!
Enjoy the weekend.