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Salted Caramel Meringue Cake Slice

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I have incorporated my love of salted caramel with my new invention “the cake slice”, which I accidentally hit upon when making a slice recently. A cake slice, in my definition, is a traybake or slice in which the base is “cakey” and the topping quite soft and maybe a little bit gooey!

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This Salted Caramel Meringue Cake Slice was inspired by a recipe of my grandmother, “German Biscuit” previously written about in this blog: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/27/german-biscuits/

That recipe combines a rich shortbread base with an apricot jam and meringue topping – I substituted the jam for a salted caramel filling in my version, plus I tweaked some of the measurements.

Ingredients

Shortbread and Meringue

2 tbls butter
1/2 cup sugar + 1/3 cup for meringue
2 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
Enough self raising flour to make a stiff dough (or plain flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder)

Salted Caramel Filling

I used some Dulce de Leche in a jar – enough to cover the shortbread. I added a tablespoon of butter and also of demerara sugar and blitzed in the food processor to combine to loosen the caramel. I think that the additions may not have been needed as the mixture was a little runny. Add sea salt to taste for the “salted” effect.

Method

Cream butter and sugar in a food  processor. Add beaten egg yolks and a little water. Mix in sifted flour. Roll out to about 1/2 cm thickness and place in a baking tin lined with baking paper and greased. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 160 degrees C  or until biscuit is cooked and golden.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Spread the biscuit with the salted caramel to cover.

Beat egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating mixture until of meringue consistency.

Spoon the meringue over the caramel, creating rough peaks. Bake in a slow oven (130 degrees C) to dry the meringue for about 15 minutes. The meringue should feel firm but spongy.

Remove from oven and when cool, cut into “cakey” slices.

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Salted Caramel Cake Bar

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Salted caramel cake bar began life as a blondie, but on making it for the first time it was clear that the baking powder and the eggs make it much more cake like, and I have re-named it. Maybe it’s a cakey slice? Or a blondie cake?

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup salt reduced butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups light brown sugar
2 free range eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel * (warmed in microwave)
Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line a 22 cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Put melted butter and brown sugar in a food processor and whizz until completely dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and fold gently with a rubber spatula into the mixture.

Press half of the mixture into the prepared tin (it will be quite soft), smoothing the top with a spatula.

Stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt over the caramel. Pour the  caramel on top of the mixture and spread in an even layer, leaving about a 1centimetre of space around the edges.

Drop the remaining mixture in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread with the spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the mixture with a little sea salt if you want a really salty  taste.

Bake the cake bar for about 20 minutes, or until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the bar comes out with just a thin coating of caramel. Cool the bar to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into squares to serve.

*Nestle Top Fill is great for the caramel.

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Pavlova with Salted Caramel and Berries

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I’ve made lots of pavlovas over the years, and this recipe is a winner! It’s from delicious. Love to Cook, by Valli Little, the recent 2013 cook book from delicious. magazine.

The pavlova is crisp on the outside and has a lovely marshmallow centre. The salted caramel sauce goes very well with the pavlova, and is a sweet contrast to the slightly acidic berries.

Thank you to my talented colleague Gez for the title photograph.

See http://www.gezxaviermansfielddesign.com/ for more of his photography and designs.

Ingredients

Pavlova

6 egg whites

350 gms caster sugar

1 tbs white balsamic vinegar

1 tbs cornflour, sifted

50g icing sugar, sifted

600 mls thickened cream

500 gms mixed fresh berries – raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries work well.

Salted Caramel

550 gms caster sugar

300 mls thickened cream (at room temperature)

1/2-1 tsp sea salt flakes, to taste

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Pavlova before the salted caramel

Method

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C, non fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Place egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 3-4 minutes to soft peaks.

Add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, whisking until mixture is glossy. Reduce speed to low, then add balsamic vinegar, cornflour and icing sugar, beating to combine.

Spread mixture over the baking paper in a round or oblong shape, fairly high, making a slight indent in the centre. Reduce oven to 125-130  degrees C depending on how hot your oven is, and bake pavlova for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1-2 hours until cooled completely.

Remove from oven and place on a serving plate or board.

For the salted caramel, combine sugar with 125 mls water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and cook, without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush, for 8-10 minutes until a golden caramel forms.

Remove from heat and pour in cream – be careful, as mixture will bubble fiercely. Return saucepan to low heat, add salt to taste and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

To serve – whisk cream to soft peaks, then spread over pavlova. Scatter over berries When ready to serve, drizzle with the salted caramel that has been gently warmed.

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Pavlova with salted caramel drizzle

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