Rich and luscious Strawberry Meringue Cake with clouds of orange flavored mascarpone cheese and whipped cream filling layered with chewy toasted pecan meringue.
Strawberry Meringue Cake
1 cup pecans, toasted
1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 large egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
3 cups whipping (heavy) cream
1 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
3 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec (or substitute orange juice)
Tip: Use a citrus zester for fresh zest.
About 3 cups hulled sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec (or substitute orange juice)
About 1 cup halved fresh strawberries with stems for the top of the cake (use the prettiest berries)
- Preheat oven to 250o degrees F. Prepare 2 large baking pans, such as 11x17x1 inch Jelly Roll pans; cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan. Draw two 8-inch circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper over and secure the paper in the pans with tape.
- In a food processor or small food grinder, process the toasted pecans, ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt until the pecans are finely ground. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula; gently fold half of the pecan mixture into the egg whites, then fold in the remaining pecan mixture.
- Gently spoon the egg white mixture onto the parchment paper circles, dividing the mixture evenly between the four circles. Use a rubber spatula, offset spatula, or the back of a spoon to gently spread the meringue to the edges of each drawn circle.
- Bake for 1 hour, rotating the baking sheets after 30 minutes. At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and, without opening the oven door, leave the meringues in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight to let the meringues dry and become crisp.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest; use an electric mixer and beat together until mixture is smooth. Add orange liqueur and continue to beat 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and fluffy. Mascarpone filling should be used immediately, or refrigerate until needed.
- Place the sliced strawberries in a large bowl. Sprinkle orange liqueur over the berries and stir.
- Gently lift one of the meringue circles from the parchment paper and place on a serving plate. Tip: If the meringues spread into each other, use a sharp knife to gently cut apart. If the meringue seems stuck to the paper gently slice a metal spatula or offset spatula underneath to loosen. Don’t worry if the meringue cracks, it will still taste just as good.
- Spread ¼ of the mascarpone filling, about 2 cups, over the top of the meringue circle. Sprinkle top of filling with 1 cup of the sliced strawberries. Repeat with the next two layers. Place the last meringue circle on top and cover with remaining mascarpone filling.
- Place halved strawberries around the top edge of the cake.
- Cake is best served immediately. Or refrigerate up to two hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.
Adapted From: Southern Living, April 2012
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