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I know it’s slightly weird for me to be posting on a Monday, but boy do I have a recipe for you today!! This Eton Mess Cake is completely over the top and I made it to celebrate the start of this year’s Wimbledon championships!
I am so excited for Wimbledon I almost can’t bear it. I’ve been planning my work for weeks to make sure I can be in the living room working and watch as much of it as possible! Mr AN is fully prepared to come home and find tennis on the television every single day for the next two weeks.
I say prepared… He is, but I’m not sure he’s ecstatic about it. I think he took it as more of a warning!!!
For me, Wimbledon screams Summer and even though the weather here has been very wet, I still think of warm days spent sipping Pimms and eating strawberries and cream.
SO, the natural thing for me to do? Make a hybrid dessert with a crazy amount of strawberries and whipped cream. Oh.. and meringue! Please say hello to my Eton Mess Cake! 😀
I headed to my local Sainsbury’s to pick up the ingredients and I was so happy to see these little meringue swirls down the sugar aisle because I wanted this cake to be approachable for anyone and I know some people have problems making meringue.*
*Me included. Sometimes it’s great, other times it’s a terrible, weeping mess!
I also needed to buy about 4 packets of beautiful, juicy strawberries and a huge carton of double cream. The strawberry obsession has hit hard this year.
I want to make all the strawberry things and sit in front of the TV cheering on the Brits at Wimbledon! Is it frowned upon to take two weeks off work just to watch tennis?
Now, let’s talk more about this beautiful cake. I took the traditional strawberries and cream that everyone enjoys at Wimbledon and then thought about another Summer favourite in this country: Eton Mess.
Eton Mess is strawberries, whipped cream and meringue, so I thought the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of Wimbledon was to combine the two and make this three tiered, naked cake!
And let me tell you; it might look like a show stopper, but it’s actually really simple!
Just look at those layers! ^^ 😀 😀
Because the cake isn’t fully iced and decorated, it’s so easy. I think hands on time for the “decoration” was less than 30 minutes.
All I did was make three vanilla sponge cakes, then fill them with sweetened whipped cream, strawberry halves and crushed meringue.
I saved a few whole strawberries and meringue shells for the top and that’s all there is to it!
See? Simple! But this is one cake that’s bound to get a ton of “ooohs” and “wows” when you show it to friends and family!
The fact it’s really easy can be our little secret! 🙂
Here’s a quick GIF to see how easily the cake is built!
Note: It looks like there’s a lot of steps to this recipe; but I’m just explaining in detail how I layered up the cakes; it’s actually very simple! Just wordy to explain!
Eton Mess Cake
- For the cake:
- 1 3/4 sticks (200g) unsalted butter or margarine*
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups (420g) plain flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt, ONLY if using unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
- For the filling:
- 2 cups (480ml) double/heavy cream
- 3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
- 2 cups (250g) strawberries, halved
- 16 meringue swirls
- 6-7 whole strawberries, for decoration
- 4 straws to act as dowels for the cake, I used big straws instead of small little ones to help with the stability of the cake. I got my straws from IKEA
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and line three 8 inch round cake tins. I spray them with Wilton Bake Easy and then line the base and sides with grease proof paper.
Place butter/margarine and sugar into a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, and beat until light and fluffy. 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.
Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, and mix on medium-high speed until well incorporated and smooth, around 1 minute.
Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, if using, and mix on low until the mixture starts to combine. Then add the milk and continue to mix on low-medium speed until everything is combined and smooth.
Divide the cake batter between the cake tins. I use a 1/2 cup measurements and place 1/2 cup of batter in each tin, then repeat until all the batter is in the tins.
Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until risen, lightly golden and a skewer into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the pans completely. At this stage you can wrap the cake layers in cling film and leave them overnight before decorating.
Once the cakes are cool; place double/heavy cream and icing sugar into a large bowl and whisk until soft peak. You want it to hold a peak when you pull the whisk out, but for the tip of the peak to bend over on itself. You need it to be easily spread over the cakes!
Place all but 5-6 of the meringue swirls into a medium sized bowl and crush. Either with your hands or a rolling pin.
To assemble: Place a small amount of cream into the centre of a plate/cake board and then place one cake layer onto the plate. For the first layer, I put them flat side down, so the base of the cake is flat and sticks to the plate.
Use a small angled spatula to spread a 1/4 inch layer of cream on the top of the cake.
Place half of the halved strawberries on top of the cream. I placed them around the edge with a 1/2 inch gap between them and then placed a few in the centre.
Sprinkle some of the crushed meringue in between the strawberries.
Take another cake layer and place a little cream on top of the cake; just a thin layer to help it stick to the layer beneath it. Flip the cake so the flat base faces upwards and then place it on top of the cake covered in strawberries. Press lightly to stick the cake to the strawberries below.
Spread another 1/4 inch thick layer of cream on to the second cake, then repeat the above steps with strawberries and meringue.
Take the final layer of cake and spread a thin layer of cream onto the top. Flip it so the flat base faces upwards and place it on top of the second layer and press lightly to adhere it.
At this stage, cut your straws to the height of the three cakes and push them through the cake. I placed mine a few inches in from the edge in a square shape. Just make sure they're fairly evenly spaced.
Place a 1/4-1/2 inch layer of cream onto the top layer of cake and spread into an even layer.
At this stage you can decorate the top how you like: I placed 1 strawberry in the centre and then placed 5 around it in a circle. Then in the gaps between the strawberries, I placed the meringue swirls around the edge of the cake. To finish it off I sprinkled some more crushed meringues over the top.
If there is any cream leaking over the edges, just wipe it away with a clean finger or a small spatula, it doesn't matter if you see cream around the edges of the cake; it adds to the look of this naked cake!
Eton Mess Cake will keep covered, in the fridge, for 2 days.
*For vanilla sponge cakes/cupcakes I use margarine as I prefer the result. Ordinarily I would only use butter in recipes, but I really do like how margarine makes vanilla cakes taste! You can use butter or margarine, but don't add extra salt if you use margarine!
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