This is the recipe that finally changed me from a chocolate-only dessert lover. Before I was introduced to this recipe if I made a dessert with -gasp! – sugar, it’s a pretty good bet that it would be made with chocolate. Why risk disappointment when we so rarely have something sweet? That all changed when a friend from New Zealand introduced me to this authentic New Zealand recipe. In fact, I love it so much that I made it for Christmas this year and my husband’s birthday. And my chocolate loving kids even chose this over a chocolate cake at our holiday party, asking for the “cake with the cucumbers on top.” Fortunately, there are no cucumbers, but there are kiwi and strawberries – a little healthy fruit to go with all the sugar.
Although the recipe isn’t hard, you do need to use superfine sugar (find it at gourmet food markets, kitchen stores, and online at amazon.com), and be sure to bake it low and slow (around 225 degrees for 90 minutes). Somehow it magically bakes into a “cake” with a crisp outer layer and a soft, gooey inside.
If you’re looking for a change from the traditional chocolate this year this sweet treat is sure to impress your Valentine! Enjoy!
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup super fine (caster) sugar (find at kitchen stores or amazon.com)
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ T corn starch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
- Bring eggs to room temperature (put in a bowl of slightly warm water for 10 minutes to do this quickly).
- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat egg whites to a soft peak stage (about 5-10 minutes).
- Slowly add super fine sugar, beating well after each addition. (About 10 minutes of beating.)
- Combine the ¼ cup of white sugar and cornstarch and fold into egg white mixture.
- Gently stir in vinegar and vanilla.
- With a pencil trace the outline of a 8-9" cake pan onto parchment paper.
- Line a cookie sheet with the parchment paper (dampen the sheet first to help the paper stick). Be sure to place the paper with the pencil side down so you can see the cake pan outline, but the pencil mark doesn't contact the food).
- Scoop the meringue mixture onto the cookie sheet and mold into a cake-like shape using the cake outline on the paper. Smooth the sides with a rubber spatula.
- Bake 1 and a half hours at 225 F. Turn oven off and leave another 30-60 minutes.
- Don't open the oven while cooking or cooling or it will crack more.
- Some cracking is quite usual as it cools.
- To serve, whip cream (with maple syrup, honey or some sugar to taste) and cover the cracks! :-)
- Top with sliced kiwi and strawberries.