The world’s best cake (meringue and custard layer cake)

The world’s best cake (meringue and custard layer cake)
  • Serves icon Serves 12-16
  • Time icon Hands-on 50 min, oven 35-40 min, plus chilling

That’s the official name for this Norwegian beauty and we’re not disagreeing. Maria Villmones Bondeson‘s recipe layers crisp meringue, sponge cake and clouds of custard to make a show-stopping treat.

Learn how to master meringues with these 10 secrets everyone should know. 

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
604kcals
Fat
35.5g (1.9g saturated)
Protein
1.1g
Carbohydrates
59.6g (43.2g sugars)
Fibre
0.8g
Salt
0.5g
Calories
604kcals
Fat
35.5g (1.9g saturated)
Protein
1.1g
Carbohydrates
59.6g (43.2g sugars)
Fibre
0.8g
Salt
0.5g

For 16

Ingredients

For the custard filling

  • 4 large free-range egg yolks
  • 30g cornflour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 300ml double cream

For the cake

  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 10 large free-range eggs, separated
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 100g flaked almonds

You’ll also need… 

  • Deep rectangular cake tin or roasting tin (about 38cm x 29cm), lined with non-stick baking paper with a 4cm overhang

Method

  1. Start with the custard for the filling, as it needs to be completely cold before you use it. Put the egg yolks, cornflour and 60g caster sugar in a medium heatproof bowl and beat using an electric mixer until pale and thickened.
  2. Put the seeds from the vanilla pod into a large saucepan with the 300ml milk and 200ml of the cream. Set over a low-medium heat until it starts to steam. Pour about half the hot milk into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined, then pour everything back into the pan. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring continuously, for 15 minutes or until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain into a bowl, then cover with cling film touching the surface. Leave to cool, then chill until cold.
  3. For the cake, heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½. Put the butter and 300g of the sugar in a large mixing bowl, then beat using an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Mix in the 10 egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then beat until combined. Finally, add the 120ml milk and beat until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the lined cake tin/roasting tin and spread out to an even layer using a spatula. Set aside.
  4. Make the meringue topping. In a large, very clean mixing bowl, whisk the 10 egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks when the beaters are removed. Gradually whisk in the remaining 300g sugar to make a stiff, shiny meringue. Gently spread on top of the cake mix using a spatula, creating swirly peaks. Scatter over the flaked almonds.
  5. Bake the cake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes until the meringue is puffed and golden. (If the top darkens quickly, cover with a sheet of non-stick baking paper for the remaining bake time.) Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  6. Whip the remaining 100ml cream in a mixing bowl to stiff peaks, then gently whisk it into the chilled custard until combined. Carefully remove the cake using the paper and transfer to a board. Cut in half widthways with a serrated knife. Put one half of the cake, meringue-side down, on a large serving plate. Spread the filling over to make a thick, even layer. Put the other half of cake on top, this time meringue-side up. Serve straightaway, with sliced banana or fresh berries if you like.

delicious. tips

  1. This cake is traditionally served as is, but you could add sliced banana or fresh berries on top of the filling.

    Good quality shop-bought vanilla custard works if you’re short on time – you’ll need 350-400g; skip steps 1-2. Make sure it’s thick and fridge-cold before folding into the cream.

  2. Make the custard up to 24 hours in advance and keep covered in the fridge with a piece of cling film touching the surface to prevent a skin forming.

  3. Lightly whisk the leftover egg whites, mark the bag with the number and freeze.

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