Eton Mess Cake

*Eton Mess Cake*
Makes one 8 by 12 inch cake
(15 servings)

ohhhh . . . Nom Nom!  Just perfect for June!

175g of unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (3/4 cup)
5 TBS double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour (1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS)
100g of ground almonds (1 cup plus 3 TBS)
1 tsp baking powder
200g of golden caster sugar (1 cup)
5 large free range eggs
400g of fresh strawberries, half roughly chopped
and half sliced (about 1 pound)
4 meringue nests, roughly broken up
icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 160*C/ 325*F/ gas mark 3.  Butter a deep 8 by 12 inch baking tin.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, almonds and baking powder.  Set aside.

Melt the butter.  Whisk in the double cream and vanilla.  Set aside.

Place the sugar and eggs into a large bowl.  Beat together with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes, until very thick and foamy.  Pour in the butter mixture.  Mix lightly.  Add the flour mixture and whisk briefly until even.  Stir in the chopped strawberries.  Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level off the top.  Scatter the sliced berries over top along with the meringue pieces.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until risen and golden brown.   A skewer should come out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.  Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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