When I was younger I remember my Nan (my Dad’s mum) baking regularly. She would always have the tins filled. An entire range of goodies on offer whenever we came to visit – a cake, a slice and some kind of biscuit. My Nonni (Mum’s mum) on the other hand never baked, but always had cake in her cupboard – usually an Ernest Adams Madeira Cake or Sultana Cake or something similar.
My Mama baked for us, but I don’t really remember specific things, except Louise Cake. She loved it which is why she made it I’m sure and we loved it too. Her middle name is Louise so it always felt like her cake. Maybe that’s why she loved it? I’ll have to ask her.
For Mother’s Day a couple of weeks back, my brothers and I arranged to go to Mum’s place with afternoon tea and spend a quiet afternoon with her and our Nonni. My sister was on holiday in Raro so it was just me, the boys and their beautiful ladies. Shane gave me the afternoon off and took the kids to visit his mum and it was so nice (and a rare change) spending time with my Mama and siblings alone. To accompany my gift, I decided to bake Louise Cake, but to switch it up a little and sub some of the ingredients with less refined ones. I don’t usually change classic recipes too much but I do like challenging myself sometimes.
My family eats pretty healthy for the most part and I knew Mama & my health conscious acupuncturist brother would appreciate my efforts to make it slightly ‘cleaner’. My other two-minute-noodle-loving brother wouldn’t care less about the changing of ingredients and he’d eat it too!
This is not technically clean, and not 100% refined-sugar free because I used regular Anathoth Raspberry jam in the centre, but I replaced the regular caster sugar with coconut sugar, and plain flour with spelt.
The colour of it makes it much more wholesome looking, the texture was very different from the original and the flavour altered, but it was still moreish, no one stopped at one piece!
One of my brothers and his gorgeous girlfriend bought an delicious cheese board to nibble on and as a savoury option for afternoon tea and as we sat down to eat someone handed Nonni a cracker with a piece of Brie. She took one sideways look at it and said “What is this dear?”. “It’s some cheese on a cracker” we replied. She giggled awkwardly and handed it to me without saying a word.
I replaced the cracker in her hand with a piece of this slice and she was a happy camper. That’s my Nonni – lover of cake!
We took some snaps to commemorate this lovely afternoon. When you’re almost 96 it’s a good idea to take lots of pictures.
I love the way my Mama is looking at her Mama in this photo.
Then we took a selfie – she can not fathom how technology works so each time we meet, I take a photo and then show it right back to her. She’s always in awe!
Anyway, here’s the recipe:
- 125g butter, softened
- 3/4 C coconut sugar
- 2 large free range eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 1¾ C spelt flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ C coconut sugar
- 1 C desiccated or long thread coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ C raspberry jam
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease and line with baking paper a 30cm x 20cm tin.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in one egg yolk at a time then sift in flour and baking powder.
- Mix well until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and press mixture evenly into prepared tin. Use the back of a metal spoon to get it even and compressed.
- Bake for 10 mins then remove from oven to cool 5 mins. Increase oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius.
- In a bowl beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Add the sugar a little at a time beating continuously until the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Gently fold in the coconut and vanilla.
- Spread the raspberry jam over the prepared base then spread the eggwhite/coconut topping on top and smooth.
- Bake for 15-20mins until the egg white topping is golden brown.
- Cool in the tin then remove and cut into squares.