The Great British Bake Off is one of my all-time fave guilty pleasures and the most fun and addictive baking competition to watch on TV. And hubby loves to watch it with me! It was originally hosted by the utterly lovely, Mary Berry with “he who knows all about bread” baker with the most gorgeous blue eyes, Paul Hollywood. Mary Berry is the queen of cakes and tarts – what she doesn’t know about baking cakes simply isn’t worth knowing! Proficient in the most dire and technical bakes, Mary Berry also truly understands the joy of easy baking. It’s her stated mission to “Get everyone baking”!
The recipe for today’s coconut meringue sponge cake slices is courtesy the legendary Mary Berry. It’s simple, taking only an hour to make, delicious and makes the perfect coffee or tea-time treat. Oh, and if you haven’t yet watched The Great British Bake Off, I suggest you immediately start. I see some binge watching in your future. Now, “On your marks, get set, and bake!”
BAKING STUFF YOU’LL NEED
A 28 x 18cm baking tin, also referred to as a “brownie-pan” plus baking paper.
I want to add a note here regarding baking paper. Baking paper, or parchment paper as it is sometimes referred to, is grease-proof paper. It is ideal for baking and cooking as it provides a heat-resistant, non-stick surface to bake on. Wax paper has a layer of wax which can brown and smoke in the oven, and is generally thinner than baking paper making it 100% unsuitable for baking. So, where a recipe calls for baking paper, make sure you use the real thing or I assure you there will be tears. This was a lesson I learned the disappointing way.
INGREDIENTS (Makes 16 slices)
For the sponge cake base
75g cold butter, cubed
100g caster sugar
2 large organic egg yolks
2 tablespoons whole milk
A few drops of good quality vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
175g self-raising flour
For the coconut meringue topping
2 large organic egg whites
50g desiccated coconut
100g caster sugar
20g raw flaked almonds
About 25 minutes to prep, 35 minutes to bake
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Fan-on and line the base and sides of your 28x18cm brownie-pan with non-stick baking paper.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until soft. Beat in the egg yolks, milk and vanilla extract. Lastly fold in the flour one very generous dessert spoon at a time. The mixture will be quite stiff – in fact, to me it resembled more of a pastry dough than cake mixture!
Now this is where some patience is required. You need to carefully spread the mixture in an even layer over the base of your baking tin. This proved quite challenging because the cake mixture is so stiff. After I managed to spoon the mixture into the pan, I attempted to smooth it over the base with a spatula. That didn’t work very well so I eventually resorted to placing a layer of baking paper over the mixture, then gently smoothing it over with a spatula. Once done, I removed the baking paper and was left with a lovely smooth and even layer.
To make the coconut meringue topping, place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until the stiff peak stage. Add the caster sugar, a generous dessert spoonful at a time. Finally, fold in the desiccated coconut. I do this was a metal dessert spoon to avoid knocking all the air out of my meringue mixture. Spread the meringue topping mixture over the cake mixture in the pan and sprinkle with the raw flaked almonds.
Bake in the middle shelf of your preheated oven for 35 minutes. The meringue should be firm to the touch and a pale golden brown.
Leave to cool in the tin. Once cooled, carefully lift the cake out of the tin and place on a board. Slice into 16 rectangular slices and enjoy!
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(RELATED POST: Find more of our Sinful Sunday recipes here.)