Cherry, al­mond and choco­late drip cake with mini meringues

Country Life Every Week - - Kitchen Garden Cook Cherries -

Method

Pre­heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚f/gas mark 4, then grease three 8in­di­am­e­ter cake tins with but­ter and line the bases with bak­ing parch­ment.

In a mix­ing bowl—or, ideally, a stand mixer to make light work—cream the but­ter and su­gar to­gether to cre­ate a pale and fluffy mix­ture, then drop in the beaten eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Pour in the al­mond essence and mix again, be­fore gen­tly fold­ing in the ground al­monds and self-rais­ing flour un­til just mixed. Di­vide the mix­ture between the three tins and bake for about 30–35 min­utes—i sug­gest ro­tat­ing the tins at half time and wait­ing un­til a fork comes out clean—then turn out onto wire racks to cool.

Whisk the egg whites with an elec­tric whisk and add the su­gar just be­fore the mix­ture be­gins to re­sem­ble stiff peaks. Spoon into a pip­ing bag and pipe small, peaked cir­cles onto a lined bak­ing sheet. Bake the meringues for 45–50 min­utes at 140˚C/275˚f/gas mark 1, then set aside to cool.

Mean­while, make the but­ter­cream ic­ing by mix­ing to­gether the ic­ing su­gar, cream cheese and but­ter and a lit­tle red food colour­ing if you want. Then, mak­ing sure to re­serve a hand­ful of whole cher­ries with which to dec­o­rate the top of the cake, stone and halve the rest of the fruit.

To as­sem­ble the cake, spoon some of the ic­ing onto the first layer and scat­ter with a hand­ful of chopped cher­ries. Re­peat with the next layer, then place the fi­nal cake on top and spread but­ter­cream, as evenly as pos­si­ble, all over the en­tire cake with a pal­ette knife. Re­frig­er­ate for a few hours (or overnight), be­fore ap­ply­ing an­other layer of ic­ing and re­turn­ing it to the fridge.

To make the drip ganache, heat the cream to near boil­ing, then pour it into a deep bowl—over the bro­ken pieces of white choco­late—and stir un­til melted. Re­move your cake from the fridge and spoon evenly spaced amounts of ic­ing around the top so it driz­zles down the sides.

Fi­nally, cover the top of the cake with more ic­ing and dec­o­rate with fresh cher­ries, mini meringues and a few (in­sect-free!) flow­ers from your gar­den. Serve with copies of Chekhov’s The Cherry Or­chard.

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