Lemon Manque

This cake has an amusing history and is, despite its name, quite delicious. It is believed to have been invented by mistake. A famous French pastry-cook was preparing a classic cake mixture which failed. Not wanting to waste the mixture, he renamed the cake Manque (mahn-kay) which means ‘failed’ in French.

1 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter, melted

1 oz. plus

2 tablespoons flour eggs, separated

4 oz. castor sugar grated rind and juice of

2 lemons

2 tablespoons rum

3 egg whites

6 oz. castor sugar grated rind of

1 lemon

2 oz. pistachio nuts, crushed

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180 C). Lightly grease a 9-inch moule a manque (mool ah mahn-kay) cake tin (a round tin similar to a sandwich tin, with sloping sides, 1 1/2- to 2-inches deep) with the teaspoon of butter. Sprinkle the tin with the 2 tablespoons of flour, knocking out any excess. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a wire whisk or rotary beater until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in colour. Add the lemon rind and juice and continue beating until well mixed.

In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form stiff peaks.

Using a metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, sifting the remaining flour in at the same time. Quickly mix in the remaining butter and rum. Turn the mixture into the cake tin. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen and is lightly browned and the centre springs back when lightly pressed with the fingertips.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 6 to 8 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the tin and reverse the cake on to a wire cake rack, giving the tin a light tap on the bottom. Turn the cake over immediately so that the top is uppermost. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before covering it with the meringue.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450°F (Gas Mark 8, 230 °C).

While the cake is cooling, prepare the meringue. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they are almost stiff. Add

1 tablespoon of the sugar and continue beating for

1 minute or until the egg whites form stiff peaks. With a metal spoon, quickly fold in the remaining sugar and the lemon rind.

Using a spatula, cover the outside of the cake with the meringue mixture. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the meringue.

Place the cake in the centre of the oven and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the meringue turns a pale golden colour.

Serve cold.

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