I made this divine cake, created by Catherine Adams, former pasty chef at Rockpool, to celebrate my son's, Linden Pride, 40th birthday today.
Sadly, I cannot see him, as he lives in New York where he runs two very successful restaurants, Dante NYC and Dante West Village. Before setting off for the Big Apple, Linden worked closely with Aussie celebrity chef Neil Perry.
I recall that Catherine told me she also liked to use raspberries and that she changes the fruit to reflect the season. You will need to start preparations the day before.
You could also use half mascarpone and half thickened cream instead of the full amount of mascarpone.
- Prep Time : 30 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 - 35 minutes
- Yield : 6 -8
- ripe strawberries - 500g
- icing sugar - for dusting, sifted
- Coconut Meringue
- ground almonds - 35g (1/3 cup)
- desiccated coconut - 150g (1 3/4 cups)
- egg whites - 7
- caster sugar - 80g (1/3 cup)
- icing sugar - 175g (1 1/3 cups), sifted
- Mascarpone Filling
- mascarpone - 500g, good quality
- caster sugar - 80g (1/3 cup)
- eggs - 2, separated
Preheat oven to 150deg (130degC fan-forced) Mark 4 x 20 cm circles on baking paper, using a cake tin to guide you, and use to line two baking trays (or one tray if big enough).
To make the coconut meringues:combine the ground almonds with the coconut in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites, in two batches if necessary, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy and firm peaks form. Using a metal spoon, gently fold the sifted icing sugar into the egg white mixture until just combined, then fold through the coconut mixture, again in batches, until just combined.
Using a spatula, divide the mixture between the four circles on the trays, spreading it out to a thickness of 1cm. Bake the meringues for about 30 minutes, or until golden and crisp, and allow to cool on the trays.
For the strawberries: remove green hulls, slice and dust with icing sugar.
To make the mascarpone filling: use a hand-held whisk to whisk together the mascarpone, two-thirds of the sugar and the egg yolks until very thick. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold half the egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
To assemble: Using a 20cm springform cake tin or cake ring, place a meringue disc in the base. Top with a quarter of the mascarpone filling. Scatter with a quarter of the strawberries. Continue layers until you reach the last meringue disc. Place it crispy side up. Spoon over remaining mascarpone and strawberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, run a knife around the inside of the tin or ring and remove the cake. Dust with icing sugar.
Tip: when whisking egg whites, make sure the bowl is clean and dry and there are no traces of yolk in the white. Having even the smallest drop of water in the bowl can be a disaster. The important thing is not to overbeat the egg whites, as they will lose their energy and end up flopping instead of holding a good form which is essential to making the cake look really good.
Note: At Rockpool, Catherine uses sliced dehydrated strawberries to create a stunning effect around the sides and top.