My mother used to buy little cakes called Japs from the English bakers where we lived in Lancashire.
We both loved them.
I now know that the name is shortened from Japonais – which is French for Japanese style. How they came by this name seems to be a mystery.
Traditionally they were two circles of almond meringue sandwiched together with a butter cream (often coffee flavour), covered with more butter cream and nibbled nuts.
When I came across this recipe for an almond meringue cake, lots of memories came flooding back.
The proportions for the meringue are:
50g of caster sugar & 25g of ground almonds per egg white.
I used 4 egg whites in this version.
- 4 egg whites
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- Use the loose bases of two baking tin – 20cm in diameter.
- Lightly grease the circles.
- Cut a 2 x 20cm circles of grease-proof paper and stick them onto the metal circles.
- Place each circle on a large baking tray.
- Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
- Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
- Fold in the ground almonds.
- Spoon and smooth half the mixture onto each circle.
- Bake for 50 minutes (swap shelves half way through).
- Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside for 20 minutes.
- Take out and leave to cool completely before using.
- Place one circle onto your cake stand.
- Cover this with coffee or rum butter cream**.
- Place the second circle on top.
- Optional – add a few blobs of butter cream on top to decorate.
- ** You can use a lighter cream filling of your choice.
Coffee set by Royal Doulton – Pastorale – 1970 – 1990
Jug by Buchan Pottery, Portobello near Edinburgh – from the early 1960s.