Passionfruit Curd Meringue Cake. This is a cake that looks handsome on the plate. There are effectively six layers, but because the meringue-topped sponges are baked together, the assembly is simpler than it sounds.
The passionfruit curd recipe makes about 320 g (1 cup), which is plenty to fill the cake. But do consider doubling it; passionfruit curd is a good thing to have in the fridge.
125 g unsalted butter, softened
330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
4 large eggs, separated
70 g (¼ cup) Greek-style yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
150 g (1 cup) plain flour
25 g cornflour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
125 ml (½ cup) thickened (whipping) cream
icing sugar, to decorate – optional
55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk extra
60 g unsalted butter, cubed
pulp and juice from 4 passionfruit, strained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Grease and line two 20 cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tins.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and 110 g (. cup) of the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat to the consistency of pale yellow shaving cream. Granted, this does not sound especially attractive, but it’s the texture you want. Beat in the yoghurt and vanilla. Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder together and fold into the batter, then spoon half into each tin.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 220 g (1 cup) of caster sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is thick and glossy. Mix in the cream of tartar, then spread half the meringue over each cake base, swirling it to create a rippled surface. Bake for 25–30 minutes. Keep an eye on the meringue tops: if they seem to be browning too quickly, tent with foil. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the curd, put the sugar, eggs and extra yolk into a small heatproof bowl and whisk until pale. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and keep whisking as the mixture heats and starts to thicken. Add the butter, cube by cube, whisking until it melts and the mixture has a custard-like consistency. Add the passionfruit juice and lemon juice and keep whisking until it thickens up again.
Leave to cool. (If not using right away, transfer the curd to a lidded jar and refrigerate for up to a week.)
When both cakes and curd are cool, it’s time to assemble. Whip the cream until it’s nice and pillowy. Whichever cake has the least visually pleasing meringue top will be your bottom half: invert a cake plate over it and flip so it’s meringue-side down on the plate.
Spread with curd, going right to the edges, then top with whipped cream. Use a wide spatula to help you lower the top cake into position, meringue-side up. Dust with icing sugar, if you like.
Images and recipes from Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99 Photography: Rob Palmer