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5 days of christmas 2016 - rhubarb meringue layer cake

Welcome every-one to day 5, the final day of Christmas week 2016. I've had this Trine Hahnemann recipe bookmarked for a while, in fact I made the cake for last year's Christmas week. I wasn't happy with the final product, so I decided to revisit the recipe and give it an overhaul. 



I decided to turn it into a layer cake, sandwiched with jam and cream in a nod to Nadine Ingram's Lemon Dream Cake.  



I know for some of you rhubarb isn't in season but this recipe can be made with frozen rhubarb. I made this particular cake with fresh rhubarb but I've also made it using frozen rhubarb pieces and it turned out just fine. 




You could use shop bought jam but I was in the mood to make jam and whipped up a batch of rhubarb conserve specifically for this cake.



I reduced the sugar in the recipe so there was still a little of the tartness of the rhubarb. If you'd like to make the conserve, I've included the recipe.



It looks impressive doesn't it?


Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17 cm cake.  As always if you want to make a 23 cm version of the cake just double the cake ingredients but I'd use 3 egg whites beaten with 150g caster sugar for the meringue topping rather than 4 egg whites. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Rhubarb Meringue Layer Cake
125g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup finely ground whole almond meal (skins on)
1 cup SR flour   
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup butter milk/milk or yoghurt
1 cup (125g) fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1cm pieces

Topping
2 egg whites
120g caster sugar

Filling
1 cup cream, whisked to soft peaks
Rhubarb or another red jam
Icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of two 17cm baking tins with baking parchment.

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating after each addition.

In a small bowl mix the whole almond meal with the flour and baking powder. Add to the batter, alternating with the milk. Gently fold in the rhubarb. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared tins. 

Whisk the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until stiff, but do not over-beat them. Gradually add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, still beating, then evenly spread the meringue over the cakes. Decoratively swirl the meringue on one cake to make a top layer. Bake both cakes on the middle shelf of the oven until the meringue is slightly golden, about 30 minutes. Rotate the cakes halfway through the cooking time. Test the cake is done by inserting a skewer or cake tester through a crack in the meringue into the bottom layer. Cool completely in tins (3 hours).

Remove cakes from tins and carefully peel baking paper off. Spread the rhubarb jam evenly over bottom cake, top with whipped cream, then place the second cake on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

If you can, leave the cake in the fridge for a few hours before serving. The cream will soften the meringue making cutting the cake much easier.



Rhubarb Conserve – makes 2 cups
500g fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into 2cm lengths
300g granulated sugar
1 peeled green apple, grated
Scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean
juice of 1 lemon

Method
1. Combine rhubarb with granulated sugar, grated green apple, vanilla bean seeds and lemon juice in a bowl and stand for 2 hours.

2. Transfer mixture to a heavy-based saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then simmer rapidly for 15-20 minutes or until mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Cool.

3. Store cooled jam in sterilised bottles or container.

The cake was very well received and you know, I think the rhubarb conserve was a large part of the cake's success. It was delicious!

It's been a long, hard old year so I'm planning to take a break from blogging for a few weeks. I hope to see you all back here again January 9, 2017. 

So until then, enjoy the festive season with your family and friends and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Bye for now,

Jillian



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