Cradle Cake

I just checked my “heavenly cakes” photo folder, and it looks like this is the 63rd cake I’ve made from Rose’s Heavenly cakes. That’s a lot of cake! This week’s selection was the “cradle cake”. I gather the name comes from the layer of dacquoise that lines the loaf pan, in a cradle shape, with a buttermilk butter cake batter nestled inside. My aunt and uncle were here for dinner and a visit on Friday night, so we took the opportunity to share this little cake with them. They made some commentary on the name, wondering aloud if it had a double meaning. Now that they’re grandparents, I think they want to be great-aunt and great-uncle, too. I think they’re already a pretty great set of aunt and uncle, and don’t need any help in that respect.

Yum!

Mise en Place for cake batter

I started by getting all of the ingredients out, as usual. This time, it was more important than usual, because you want to have the batter just about ready to go before you make the meringue. I also toasted the pecans, chopped the chocolate, and let both cool, while I was getting the rest of the ingredients ready. Once those are both cool/chilled, you process them until fine in the food processor.

Ground pecans and chocolate

Once everything’s ready, this comes together really quickly. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, gradually add the sugar, beating to stiff peaks. It makes a very stiff meringue. Fold in the chocolate and nuts.

Nuts & chocolate folded into meringue

Spread the meringue in the bottom and up the sides of a loaf pan (sprayed with baking spray and lined with parchment on the bottom).

Dacquoise (meringue) lining the loaf pan

Mix up the butter cake batter, using Rose’s usual technique, only with buttermilk instead of milk, and only using the yolks (which were leftover from the meringue — I love recipes that work out like that!). Spread that in the pan with the meringue.

All set for the oven

Bake for 45-55 minutes. I think I overbaked mine, because it was a bit drier and crumblier than I’m used to with Rose’s butter cakes.

Isn't it cute?

I loved the crunchy meringue shell on this. The tang from the buttermilk in the cake part adds a nice flavour contrast to the sweet and chocolatey meringue. Really quite a tasty cake, and as I said, it comes together super quickly once you have everything ready. I actually managed to make this after I got home from work and before my guests arrived on Friday evening. It was a nice finish to our meal of butternut squash & sausage soup, accompanied by Gewürztraminer, with a side of romaine & kale salad, followed up (and started) with cheese, crackers, and more wine! We had a great visit, good breakfast the next morning, then got to tag along on a Working Iron delivery on Saturday. We helped deliver a custom iron and stone bench/towel tree to a spot next to a hot tub in a beautiful snow covered backyard overlooking the Grand River. That link will take you to a page of benches, but not a picture of the actual one we delivered. It was much bigger and more elaborate than the rest of the “vine stone benches” on that page.

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