In Entertaining on
May 15, 2023

Meringue Cake: Introducing The Dinner Bell Series

Hello, dear readers! I am thrilled to introduce a Stuffy Muffy series that will combine two of our favorite shared interests: recipes and great taste. The Dinner Bell is a digital old-fashioned cookbook, think Junior League comb binding style from days of yore. Each week, I will be sharing a new recipe submitted by a tastemaker whose style and charm are sure to inspire.

To kick off The Dinner Bell series, I whipped up a meringue cake—known as Eaton Mess in England or Pavlova in Eastern Europe. What’s brilliant about this dessert is that the end result is meant to look like a confection that is elegantly undone. The execution of the meringue itself should be carried out according to direction but assembling the cake and adding the finishing frills is an exercise in creativity.

This Sue Sartor dress print is sold out but a similar fabric in the same cut . Floaty silk lined with hand-loom satin makes it dream to wear day to night, I have sported this number for a luncheon and gala respectively.

Meringue has a reputation for being fussy and intimidating but there is nothing more satisfying than creating cloud-like cake out of egg whites and sugar. Admittedly, I am not an expert baker so if whipping up stiff peaks is possible in my kitchen, it can be in yours too. The key is paying attention to visual cues more so than suggested time intervals. This guide to peaks is very helpful to peruse before you begin.

What I love about this recipe is that all elements can be made ahead of time: The meringues can be baked and stored in a cool place like the pantry for a day or two and the coulis and whipped cream can chill in the refrigerator for a few days. I would suggest assembling the dessert right before serving as the meringue soaks up the coulis and whipped cream like a sponge, diminishing its fluffy texture the longer the cake sits at room temperature.

Meringue cake would be the pièce de résistance at any spring or summer gathering, especially as all kinds of beautiful berries approach peak season. When I lived in Bogotá as a child, my grandmother’s talented cook would make individual meringues and raspberry coulis for holidays and bridge games. It really is an original, show stopping dessert.

A note on ingredients:

  • Baker’s sugar is just finely granulated sugar that can be found in your grocer’s baking aisle. It is labeled as extra fine granulated sugar, caster sugar, baker’s sugar or baker’s special sugar by one of your tried and true sugar brands.
  • Cream of tartar can be found in the baking aisle near the spices at most grocery stores.
  • Bon Maman makes a delicious lemon curd, it is available at Whole Foods.
  • All kinds of berries make a colorful garnish for this cake: Cherries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and even sliced plums.

Notes on baking:

  • I like to draw two 9″ circles in pencil on the parchment paper the meringue batter will bake on. Once drawn, flip the paper over so the pencil is on the baking sheet side to avoid markings getting on your meringue.
  • Straining your coulis is optional, it just depends on how much the raspberry seeds bother you.

For the cake featured, I doubled the recipe to make three layers and individual meringues to garnish the top because it was being photographed. My usual method follows the above recipe and creates two layers yielding a very substantial, delicious cake worthy of any occasion.

All images by Mary Catherine Brownfield.
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1 Comment

  • lulu


    May 16, 2023 at 8:51 am Reply
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