The first time I was in Lima, it was a “small” city with only 4 million inhabitants (today almost 10 million people live there). In the very posh and quiet neigborhood of San Isidro, there was a lovely pastry shop called Capricho, that had the most amazing desserts I had ever tasted. One of them was a cake filled with layers of manjarblanco (dulce de leche), apricot marmalade, and covered with Italian meringue and flaked coconut. Such a delicacy!
When my love for albaricocada -this was the name of the cake– was in full bloom, I bought it often, not only for myself, but also to give as a present, or to bring with me every time I visited a friend (a good excuse to have a little piece without feeling guilty). Then, as time went by, this quiet neigborhood became a comercial emporium, and became crowded with offices and other business, which displaced my beloved pastry shop. The memories of this albaricocada are now somewhat distant, but every now and then I encounter a new version of this dessert.
Peruvian apricot marmalade is more tart than others; that was the trick to balance the sweetness of the manjarblanco, and the meringue. This is my version, just like I remember it. I hope you like it and enjoy it as much as I did.
- 3 eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup milk (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 cup manjarblanco
- 1 cup apricot marmalade
- Italian meringue
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 3 egg whites
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- Turn the oven on to 350 F.
- Sift the flour together with the baking powder.
- Beat eggs at the highest speed for about 5 minutes. They have to grow to about 3 times the volume (or more) from when you started beating them. Make sure your mixer is completely dry before you pour the eggs in it, otherwise they won´t grow. Same advice goes when preparing the meringue.
- Add the sugar little by little while still beating the grown eggs.
- Turn the beater down to slow speed and add a third of the flour, then a third of the milk, then a third of the flour, and so on, till all the ingredients blend completely.
- Transfer to a greased round baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in cooling racks.
- To make the Italian meringue: In another saucepan mix the sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat for 6 minutes without stirring. The syrup is ready when it forms a caramel thread when dropped from a spoon.
- At the same time beat the egg whites with an electric beater at high speed until soft peaks form (when you lift one of the beaters and it has a soft cloud of meringue foam around it).
- Add the hot syrup in a thin and steady stream, beating vigorously until the resulting meringue is cold.
- To assemble the cake: Cut the cake in three layers. Cover one of them with manjarblanco. Put the second layer over this. Spread this one with marmalade, and place the third layer over this.
- Cover the cake with the meringue and garnish with the flaked coconut.