Donna Hay magazine is such a treat to read and recently I went through some back Christmas issues and marked a couple recipes to make for the holidays. The first is this awesome sticky date cake. The cake part is moist and somewhat sticky (not as much as a sticky date pudding though) and the orange zest shines through...just the right amount. It's a delicious cake all on its own, but Donna Hay has taken it over the top by adding a fluffy meringue. I've made one other cake with a baked meringue and it's always been a favorite of mine, but this one seems perfectly suited for Christmas dessert. Yum.
Notes: Be sure to follow the meringue directions exactly. And remember to dip your knife in hot water before slicing into the cake so you'll have a nice smooth edge on the meringue.
Sticky Date Meringue Cake
Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 78
1/2 cup pitted fresh dates, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
50g unsalted butter, softened (slightly less than 1/2 a stick)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
2 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup (I used Karo)
1/4 cup slivered pistachios
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
confectioners sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9 inch round springform pan, line the base with non-stick baking paper and set aside. Place the dates, soda and water in a bowl and set aside for 10-15 minutes to soak. Using a hand-held blender, process until smooth and set aside.
Place the butter, vanilla, sugar and orange rind in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10-12 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, date mixture, almond meal, golden syrup and pistachios and beat until well combined. Spoon into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 350 F. Place the extra egg whites in the clean bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking for 30 seconds before adding more. Once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a further 6 minutes or until stiff and glossy. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the vinegar and cornflour and whisk for a further 2 minutes or until glossy and combined.
Spread the meringue evenly over the top of the cake and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is just golden and dry to the touch. Allow the cake to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before gently running a knife around the edge of the tin and removing the ring. Allow the cake to cool and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Dust with icing sugar to serve.