No summer gathering, whether it’s a pool party or a barbecue, is complete without a dessert. But no one wants to eat something heavy and hot at the end of a long, sunny day. That means a lot of our usual go-to dessert recipes that we rely on in the fall and winter are out the window. Luckily, Martha Stewart, the queen of Cake Perfection, always has a solution to our culinary woes. She just shared a summer dessert recipe that not only looks fabulous, but is also super easy to make, thanks to a store bought ingredient that makes up much of the recipe.
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It’s a tropical meringue and sorbet stack cake that’s loosely based on an Appalachian stack cake, which traditionally features layers of a rustic gingerbread-like cake and a spiced apple filling.
This version is much more summery, and easier to prepare. Rather than layers of cake, Stewart calls for layers of crispy meringue. And, instead of a warming, spiced apple filling, she relies on a few different flavors of store bought sorbet in tropical flavors.
If you have a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, making the meringue is really easy. Whip egg whites, lemon juice, salt, and sugar until stiff and glossy, then bake on low heat for an hour. Then, let the meringue dry in your oven for at least two hours, and up to one day.
As far as summer baking goes, this is perfect – the oven never gets past 250 degrees, and by the time you open the oven door to get your meringues out, the heat has dissipated, so your kitchen won’t become an inferno.
Next up, spread softened sorbet on each meringue layer, stacking as you go, until you have a cake-like meringue and sorbet structure. For the best visual impact, you should use sorbets that have bright, contrasting colors – Stewart recommends mango, blood orange, and blueberry-passionfruit.
Place the cake in your freezer for a few hours until it firms up. Then, you top the cake with homemade unsweetened whipped cream. You can garnish with fresh berries, shaved toasted coconut, and chia or hemp seeds, then serve immediately, or pop the cake back into the freezer until the whipped topping is firm, too.
The result is a frosty, fruity, sweet, crunchy layer cake that’s bright and cheery. It looks so impressive, no one will even care that you used store bought sorbet, and the crunchy layers of meringue will impress even the most snooty cooks at your table. It’s a summer dessert win!
Before you go, check out our slideshow below:
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