A 'Japonaise' is an almond meringue and this cake is made from almond meringue rounds sandwiched with cream, coffee glacé icing and strawberries and is intended to be a spectacular-looking dessert for a party.
This also makes an excellent dessert cake for serving outside at barbecues.
Strawberry JaponaiseServes: 6–8
Ingredients:90g (3 oz) ground almonds
180g (6 oz) caster sugar
3 egg whites
240g (8 1/2 oz) coffee-flavoured glacé icing
225g (8 oz) strawberries
150ml (3/5 cup) double cream
30g (1 oz) ground almonds, browned by lightly toasted
vanilla extract, for flavouring
Method:Mix the 90g ground almonds and caster sugar in a bowl them pass through a fine-meshed sieve to ensure that they are evenly blended.
Add the egg whites to a clean and dry bowl and beat with a whisk until stiff. Now fold the beaten egg whites into the almond and sugar mixture.
Divide the resultant meringue in two and spread into 15cm (6 in) rounds on two baking trays lined with greaseproof (waxed) paper. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC (320ºF, Gas Mark 3) and bake for about 55 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked. Once cooked, carefully lift the almond meringues onto a wire rack, turning it over so that you can remove the greaseproof paper. Set aside to cool completely.
Once the meringue is cold, coat the top of one round with the coffee-flavoured icing. Reserve a few strawberries for decoration, then slice the remainder and dust with a little icing sugar.
Lightly whip the cream, sweeten with 1 tsp caster sugar and flavour with vanilla extract. Arrange the plain round of japonais (almond meringue) on a serving plate or cake stand and spoon over the ream. Cover with the sliced strawberries then place the iced round of almond meringue on top. Press the toasted ground almonds around the sides of the cake.
Decorate the top with the reserved whole strawberries and serve.