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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eat. . . Louise Cake

Louise cake with plum jam, baked 12.04.11
This is a real Kiwi classic. I had never even heard of it till moving to New Zealand back in 2002. Oh, horrors - 31 years without Louise Cake in my life! I was almost put off it forever though, when I first saw it on sale at a café. The label in the chiller cabinet proudly proclaimed "Lousie Cake" and I wondered why on earth anyone would want to eat it if it was so lousie! Always one for living dangerously, I braved a piece and was smitten! It is a tray-baked slice with a tender shortcake base, spread with a tart red jam and topped with a lightly browned coconut meringue. It's a big hit with all of us in our family, and one of Sonny Jim's friends came round to play yesterday and he loved it too.

There are so many recipes for Louise Cake available, but the following one is my favourite. It's from Alexa Johnston's wonderful book of traditional NZ home baking: "Ladies a Plate." I highly recommend that book by the way, it is one of my most frequently used recipe books. Alexa gives lots of details in her book re the social history of this recipe (and all the others she shares), but here are the basic details. . .


For the base:
2.5 oz/70 g butter
2 oz/55 g sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tblsp lemon juice
5 oz/140 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the topping:
5 tblsps raspberry jam (or other tart, red jam - I used my homemade plum jam this time)
2 egg whites
4 oz/115 g caster sugar
2 oz/55 g desiccated coconut

  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease/line a shallow 12 x 8 "/30 x 21 cm tin. Soften the butter.
  • Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add lemon juice, sift flour and baking powder over and mix to stiff dough.
  • Press dough evenly into prepared tin. At this stage it will only be a thin layer, but it puffs up during cooking. Spread the jam evenly over the base.
  • Beat egg whites till stiff, then gently fold in caster sugar and coconut using a metal spoon.
  • Spread coconut meringue mixture over the jam, trying to keep it an even thickness. Sprinkle with a little extra coconut if you like. 
  • Bake for 25 mins or until the coconut meringue is just turning golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and cut into squares or fingers while still warm. Leave in tin to cool. Store airtight. 
If you haven't tried this before, give it a go ;-) It's number 6 in the Edmonds Cookbook "New Zealand's top 10 favourite baked goods" according to something I read on the internet. And you know you can always trust what you read on the internet, eh?!


  1. Mine is in the oven now :-) I tasted something similar the other day with a lemon filling, but didn't know what the recipe was called- so very happy to first have found your blog only yesterday, and now to find your post this morning! :-)

  2. Hi Bel, glad to hear my blog post was so timely ;-) Hope your Louise cake works out well. What did you use for the filling? Lemon filling or jam?

  3. I used plum jam, and it was yummy :-) Even DP who is not the biggest fan of coconut went crazy over it!

  4. Thank you for your post. I put up a post about gluten free Louise Cake and one of my British readers said she had never heard of it. I was surprised as I was guessing that Louise Cake was British in origin and then I found your pot. I have linked to it. http://sleepinghorse.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/gluten-free-louise-cake/#comment-2519