Just had a major weekend of parties, I think I may now have more prosecco running through my veins than anything else. Despite the hours of sleep I can never recover, and the sense of impending doom that accompanies most of my 30-something hangovers, it's always worth it for the chance of a long, rambling catch up with beloved old friends. Had to make little cakes for them too of course, and as I've been dying to make some meringues I thought I'd make this my excuse.
Both cakes were 6" versions of this recipe (1 x that recipe made both these 6" 3-layer cakes), though I made Chris's yellow cake funfetti inside and Liz's pink one was three layers of different pink. The meringues were strawberry and black pepper from this recipe by the amazing Meringue Girls:
Strawberry & Black Pepper Meringue Kisses
150g egg whites
300g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
50g frozen strawberries
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
This recipe makes about 50 (I still have a whole tub of them and have eaten LOADS, but also hoping they'll double for toadstools around the gingerbread house I may never get round to making...) so you can definitely attempt less. Also I played around with different sizes, which is fine if you are keeping an eye on them whilst cooking.
Make the strawberry coulis by heating the strawberries with a pinch of sugar until they break down, then whizz them into a paste and cool.
Heat oven to 200C. Line a deep baking tray with greaseproof paper and heat the 300g caster sugar until the edges start to melt. This is apparently to help the sugar to dissolve into the egg whites. I am pretty sure I overheated my sugar because the edges were melted solid and I had to chuck them away. Still, it was only about 50g sugar and I just replaced it straight from the packet and all was FINE! Turn the oven down to 100C.
Wipe your mixing bowl & whisk attachment dry with lemon juice & paper towel to remove any possible grease, then add egg whites. Whisk slowly at first, allowing bubbles to form, then turn up the speed and whisk until you have medium peaks of fluffy meringue. At this point start adding the sugar spoon by spoon and continue whisking until you have a stiff, glossy meringue - about 5 minutes. Stir through the coulis and add black pepper to taste. I hardly added any black pepper and the taste was pretty strong, just as a heads up...
Turn a disposable icing bag inside out and paint some lines in red, pink - or, in my case, electric pink - up the side. Turn back the right way out (awkward!) and fill with yummy meringue. Cut a hole approx 1/2in in diameter and pipe meringue kisses onto a lined baking sheet. Mine came out great, but in hindsight I could have put a bit more into my stripes as some were very feint, so don't be shy with the gel colours.
Bake 30-40 minutes at 100C. To ensure they stay a bit mallowy in the middle, be sure to take them out as soon as they lift cleanly from the baking sheet.
I thought these were so easy to make, lots of fun and make fantastic cake toppers. Definitely going to experiment with more colours and flavours... in the imaginary universe where I have infinite spare time.
(yes, they do look like nipples)