Maple meringue crunch cakes
- April 2014
- Makes 12
- Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 1¼ hours, plus cooling
With sticky maple syrup and crunchy popping candy meringue, this cake recipe makes for a decidedly different afternoon tea.
- 36.6g (15.8g saturated)
- 33.1g (23.4g sugars)
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 120g soft light brown sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs, beaten
- Zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 150g self-raising flour
- 125g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling (see tips)
For the meringue crunch
- 100g pecans
- 1 large free-range egg white
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Popping candy to taste
For the cream cheese frosting
- 300g full-fat cream cheese (we used Philadelphia)
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- Heat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3½. Lightly oil 10-12 mini (125ml) loaf tins, then line the bases with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and soft light brown sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the 4 eggs, bit by bit, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if the mixture curdles – it will come back together when you add the flour. Stir through the orange and lemon zests, then fold through the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, the 3 tbsp maple syrup and a good pinch of salt.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared loaf tins, then bake for 30-35 minutes until risen and golden on top, and a skewer pushed into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Turn the oven down to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the meringue crunch. Spread out the pecans on a baking sheet, then toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden (make sure they don’t burn). Remove, then set aside to cool completely.
- Line another baking sheet with baking paper. Whisk the egg white in a clean mixing bowl until stiff, then add the 2 tbsp icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking between additions until stiff. (You can use a balloon whisk for this, if you like, as it doesn’t require that much effort.) Stir through the cooled pecans, then spread the mixture thinly over the prepared baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp, then remove and leave to cool. Break the meringue into small pieces, then transfer to a mixing bowl and stir through popping candy to taste.
- To make the frosting, whisk the cream cheese with the 100g icing sugar in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- To assemble, spread a layer of frosting over each cake, then scatter with the meringue crunch topping. Drizzle a little more maple syrup over the top so it runs down the sides (see tips), then serve.
If the cakes are likely to sit for a while on the tea table, use Lyle’s Golden Syrup Maple Flavour to drizzle over instead of maple syrup – it’s thicker and will stay in place for longer.
Scatter leftover meringue crunch over ice cream or stewed fruit.
The meringue crunch will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The un-iced cakes can be frozen, well wrapped in baking paper and cling film, for up to 3 months. Defrost completely before assembling.
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