Today we have Alison of Alison Lawson Cakes sharing an incredible cake to add to your holiday menu. Because this cake is so large, suitable for serving 10-12 people, it will make the perfect centerpiece for your holiday party! Here is what Alison has to say:
This is a festive cake with a very sweet touch — hand-dyed meringue swirls!
This wonderful looking cake requires quite a few steps, so it should be made over a period of two days:
Christmas Meringue Cake
Step One – Meringue Swirls
- Make your meringues one day ahead to allow some drying time over night.
- You need approximately 80 meringue swirls to cover the 8-inch cake pictured. Each meringue swirl should be 2-inches wide.
- 8 large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups caster sugar
- Green edible food color
You will also need:
- Four large baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper
- A large round piping tube
- Piping bag
- After preheating your oven to 245 degrees Fahrenheit, line four baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
- Separate the egg whites from four eggs into a small bowl. Transfer each egg white into a mixing bowl separately. Do not add an egg white that has been stained by a yolk, as it will not whisk properly. Trust me on this!
- Add the salt and whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
- Start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Give a short whisk after each new tablespoon full until all of the sugar is incorporated. Whisk for another 2-3 minutes or until the mixture looks beautiful and glossy. Test if the sugar has dissolved by rubbing some mixture between your fingers. If it is silky smooth, stop whisking. If the mixture feels grainy, keep whisking and test again in another minute.
- Take two tablespoons of the mixture in a small cup and use some green food coloring to achieve a festive shade of green.
- Insert a piping tube into a disposable piping bag and fill it halfway with your white meringue mixture. Pipe small amounts of the mixture onto baking paper (2-inches round), leaving approximately 1-inch in between each meringue. Continue piping and refilling your bag until all of the white meringue mixture has been piped onto the trays. You should have approximately 100 meringues.
- Dip a skewer into the green meringue mixture. Using the dipped end of the skewer, make circular movements through each piped meringue to reveal a green swirl. Continue dipping and swirling for each meringue.
- Place the mini meringues into the oven and reduce the temperature to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the meringues for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for at least an hour. Store in cool dry spot over night.
Please note, if you pipe your meringues larger than the size mentioned above, you will need to adjust the baking time, as they will take longer to cook.
Step Two – Evergreen Cake Layers
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 9 medium eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups self-raising flour
- Liquid green food coloring
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line three 8-inch cake tins with baking paper.
- In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs in small bursts, beating well between each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix once again.
- After sifting your flour, add it into the mixture and mix very gently to combine on the lowest speed.
- Add a few drops of edible green food coloring and mix slowly to reveal the depth of color. Add another couple of drops of food coloring in order to achieve the desired shade of green.
- Divide the green colored cake mixture evenly between your three lined cake tins. Smooth the top of each cake using the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 35 minutes without checking.
- After 35 minutes, check to see if the cakes are finished by inserting a skewer into the center of each cake. They are done if the skewer comes out clean.
- Once the cakes are done, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool in the tins. They should then be wrapped in plastic wrap to stop the cakes drying out.
Step Three – Rich Buttercream Icing
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 8 cups sifted icing sugar
- Extra milk (if required)
- Extra Icing sugar (if required)
- In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and unsalted butter until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- Slowly add the icing sugar and milk. Keep adding until you get to smooth spreading consistency.
- Divide your buttercream in half and separate into two bowls. Color one bowl of icing a shade of green to match your meringue swirls.
Step Four – Layering and Filling the Evergreen Cake
- Cut the dark crust from the base of each cake to reveal the lovely green colored cake.
- Trim the dark crust from around the edge of each cake with a sharp knife.
- Spread a small amount of white colored buttercream onto a cake stand and stick one of your trimmed cakes down to become the bottom layer of your cake.
- Evenly spread a layer of white buttercream (1/8-inch thick) over the first cake layer.
- Repeat this procedure for the next layer, and finish by adding the third and final layer.
- In order to add a ‘crumb coat’, cover the sides of the cake in buttercream, as well as the top. Smooth around the sides with a scraper to remove any excess icing.
- Refrigerate your cake for an hour so it becomes firm and easier to manage.
- Color the remaining buttercream icing a shade of green to match your meringue swirls.
- Apply a very thin layer of green buttercream icing over your ‘crumb coat’.
- Refrigerate your cake once again, for 30 minutes this time.
Step Five – Christmas Tree Fondant Decoration
- Color some gum paste bright yellow.
- Roll your gum paste thinly and cut a Christmas tree shape using a cookie cutter.
- Cut a star, round decorations, and pot from red fondant and stick onto the yellow Christmas tree with a small amount of water.
- Allow the Christmas tree to dry.
- Turn the Christmas tree onto the reverse side and dampen a strip down the center of the tree with water.
- Place a lollipop stick on the dampened strip and cover with a strip of freshly cut yellow fondant to secure the stick onto the tree.
- Allow to dry.
Step Six – Decorating the Evergreen Cake
- Attach a gingham ribbon around the base of your cake and tie in a bow at the front of cake.
- Start ‘gluing’ your meringue swirls onto the cake with small dabs of buttercream icing on the back of each meringue. Position them close to each other above the ribbon in a row around the entire cake.
- Start your next row of meringues in a ‘gap’ (not directly above the previous row). Repeat this procedure for the next layer until you reach the top of the cake.
- Start another row of meringues on the top edge of the cake making your way into the center of the cake to finish.
- Insert your iced Christmas tree Decoration into the cake.