New Zealand Louise Cake

New Zealand Louise Cake

It’s been howling a gale the last two days, huge gusts of wind whipping through the valley, bending the trees sideways and turning the field into a sea of rippling and waving grass. I feel a bit sorry for the birds and bats flapping away day and night in the breeze! It’s definitely blowing away the cobwebs, though I have to confess, I wouldn’t mind a bit of sunshine this month.

Never mind. Weather like this is always a good excuse to get some baking done, and today I’m taking another trip down memory lane to the sweets and cakes of my childhood in New Zealand. Louise Cake is much beloved in NZ, star of many a country market and school fair, though it’s little known outside of the country. It’s made in three layers: crumbly buttery shortcake, tart berry jam, all topped with crispy coconut meringue.

This is real grandmother baking where I come from, and true to form, it’s very simple to make. It can be made entirely by hand, though you’ll find life easier with an electric beater to whip the meringue. I’ve modernised this recipe quite a lot by reducing the amount of sugar, but you’ll want to make sure to use a nice tart jam like raspberry to get a good flavour. I’d suggest crushing a few fresh berries into the jam, if you have them, to give it a lovely freshness.

I hope you’ve had a great start to the new month. Happy Baking! x J

New Zealand Louise Cake

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!



New Zealand Louise Cake

New Zealand Louise Cake

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Crumbly, buttery shortcake topped with a layer of tart berry jam and crispy coconut meringue. Louise cake is much beloved in New Zealand, but this old fashioned slice is little known outside of the Antipodes.

Ingredients

for the shortcake:

  • 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 50 g sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 150 g berry jam
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

for the coconut meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g desiccated coconut

optional:

  • icing/confectioners sugar, to dust

Instructions

Heat oven to 180°C / 350° F / Gas 4. Line a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 in.) baking pan with baking paper and lightly grease.

Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and stir well. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together, then stir through the butter mixture until you have a soft, pliable dough. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan.

Mix the jam and lemon juice together, then spread evenly over the base.

Clean your mixing bowl with hot water, wipe it out with a little vinegar to remove any oils, then add the egg whites and cornflour / cornstarch to the bowl. Whisk using an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating all the while, until the mixture is thick and glossy.

Fold through the coconut, then spoon the meringue evenly over the base. Bake in the bottom third of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the meringue is lightly golden.

Allow to cool in the tin before lifting out, slicing into 12 and serving. If you like, dust with icing sugar.

Notes

As this is a fairly sweet cake I’d recommend using a very tart jam. Raspberry is the classic, and even then I would still mix it with 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to contrast the sweetness a little.

This is the classic way to make Louise cake and results in a very moist, crumbly shortcake base. If you would like the base to be crunchier, you’ll need to bake the base and let it cool before topping with jam and the meringue mixture. Make sure to prick it all over with a fork, bake for 20 minutes, allow to cool and then proceed as per the recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 154mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 33gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I don’t like coconut. Can I leave it out?

Of course, just omit it from the recipe.


I like a very crisp base to my slice. Can I really bake this all in one?

This is the classic way to make Louise cake and results in a very moist, crumbly shortcake base. If you would like the base to be crunchier, you’ll need to bake the base and let it cool before topping with jam and the meringue mixture. Make sure to prick it all over with a fork, bake for 20 minutes, allow to cool and then proceed as per the recipe.


How long will Louise Cake keep?

3-5 days or so in a container. The meringue may soften after the first day.


GOLDEN ITALIAN EGG YOLKS MAKE THE MOST INCREDIBLE COLOURED SHORTCAKE DOUGH!

New Zealand Louise Cake
New Zealand Louise Cake
New Zealand Louise Cake

NEW ZEALAND LOUISE CAKE


Looking for more New Zealand Recipes? Why not try:

New Zealand Peanut Brownies

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