Christmas being a feast day, people won’t have much room for dessert — hence the greatness of the Christmas cookie! — but if you are looking to make something a little different, this recipe suits the bill — a lovely light buttery cake with meringue and whipped cream, yum.

Some people put strawberries in the middle and on top of it, but I think I have made my position on strawberries abundantly clear, and I like it just as it is:

4 large egg yolks
1 c sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tspn vanilla
1/4 c milk

4 large egg whites
1/4 tspn cream of tartar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 tspn vanilla

Whipped Cream for Topping and Filling (optional):
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 tblspns granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 standard round cake pans. Separate the eggs — yolk in one bowl, whites in the other — and let them come to room temperature before using.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the vanilla.

On lower speed, alternate flour mixture and milk until well blended. Try to end with with the flour, not the milk. I don’t know why, that’s just what my pal Victoria said to do, and I always do it her way. Divide the batter into round cake pans. Set aside.

In a new bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, then gradually add the sugar, then beat in the vanilla until soft peaks form.

Divide the meringue atop the two pans of batter and bake for approx. 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. The meringue layers will be lightly brown and crisp to the touch. Do not remove these cakes from the pans until they are completely cooled. While the cakes are cooling you can clean up and make your whipped cream.

Then you’ll invert the first cake onto a plate (yes, meringue-side down), use 1/2 the whipped cream for filling. The second layer layer can be meringue on top or on bottom – I’ve done it both ways – and then use more whipped cream on the top. Meringue on top looks prettier, and if you MUST have strawberries on the thing, they look nice with the cream. Chocolate covered strawberries look even better. If you choose to put the meringue into the center, use the whipped cream on top or just sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar and save the remaining whipped cream for the coffee!

As you can see from the pic, this can be served without any creme or filling at all. I have also seen people use Nutella for the filling, but to me that makes it heavy. The whole point of this cake is that it’s LIGHT.

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