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Rhubarb Louise cake

The New Zealand cake-slice hybrid, reimagined with soft baked rhubarb.

By Cynthia Adey
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 10 mins cooking (plus cooling, setting)
  • Serves 12
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Close-up image of a meringue-topped slice, with a rectangular piece showing a cross-section of a biscuit base, baked rhubarb and soft coconut meringue.
The Louise cake, of New Zealand origin, is more of a slice than a cake. Classic recipes slather the base with raspberry jam, but here we've opted for tart baked rhubarb for an autumnal twist.

Ingredients

  • 750 gm rhubarb stalks (about 2 bunches), cut into 10cm lengths
  • 1½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 125 gm butter, softened
  • 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 260 gm (1¾ cups) plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
Topping
  • 4 eggwhites
  • 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 150 gm shredded coconut

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm x 30cm cake tin and line with baking paper (extend paper 5cm over the sides to make removing slice easier).
  • 2
    Rinse rhubarb under running water, shake off excess water and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper, then sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons sugar. Bake until rhubarb is tender but holds its shape (20 minutes). Cool on tray.
  • 3
    Reduce oven to 170°C. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Fold in flour and baking powder until combined, then press evenly over base of prepared tin. Bake until light golden and firm (15 minutes). Cool base slightly (15 minutes), then arrange rhubarb on top, in a single layer.
  • 4
    For topping, whisk eggwhites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then gradually add caster sugar, whisking continuously until mixture is thick and glossy (5 minutes). Fold in vinegar and cornflour. Transfer two-thirds of the meringue to another bowl; fold in coconut. Spoon coconut meringue over rhubarb smoothly. Place remaining plain meringue in spoonfuls, using the back of a spoon to create swirls. Bake until light golden and a crust is formed (35 minutes). Cool completely in tin before slicing into squares to serve.

Notes

Best made on day of serving.