Summer Berry Cloud Cake
An ode to the fruits of British summer. If you are catering for friends with dairy intolerance, you can also make this with whipped chilled coconut cream, which is every bit as good.
Hands On Time: 25 minutes
Hands Off Time: 1 hour baking, 1 hour cooling
Serves 8 to 10
- Flavorless oil, for the baking sheets
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons caster sugar (superfine sugar), divided
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 3 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup blackberries
- 2 cups raspberries
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup flaked almonds
- Thyme sprigs, red currants, and flowers, for decoration (optional)
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Oil 3 baking sheets and line with baking parchment. Draw a circle on each roughly 9 inches in diameter (I trace around a cake pan).
In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they begin to peak, then add the 1 1/2 cups sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. When all the sugar has been added and the mixture is glossy, gently fold in the corn starch and the vinegar. Spoon the meringue on to the baking sheets, spreading it out to make 3 discs. Bake for 1 hour, then switch the oven off and leave the meringues in there to harden for another hour. You want the meringue to be crisp so that it can support the weight of the cream. You can make the meringue up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container.
To make the filling, whip the cream with an electric whisk until peaks form, but take care not to over-whip it, or it will lose that silky quality.
Take the first meringue disc and spoon roughly one-third of the cream on top, then sprinkle with one-third of the berries, half the flaked almonds, and 1 tablespoon caster sugar. Top with the second layer of meringue and repeat. Top with the third meringue, spoon on the last one-third of the cream, and decorate with berries, thyme sprigs, and flowers (just make sure they’re not noxious), if you like.
Serve With …
Everyone loves buttery lemon roast chicken, cooked so the skin is golden and crisp and the meat succulent, almost sweet. To go with it, roast potatoes, a really good green salad, and plenty of good bread (I love walnut soda bread, but good bread from the bakery will do just as well). You literally can’t go wrong. Follow with this dreamy, creamy concoction and strong espresso or mint tea (just mint leaves in a pot of boiling water). If you’re cooking for a crowd, this works every bit as well: just scale up to two (or three) birds and perhaps make a second cake.
Recipe reprinted from “A Table for Friends” by arrangement with Bloomsbury Publishing. Copyright 2020, Skye McAlpine.