Spinning Cake: Really foolproof meringues

Alright, so it’s not cake as such, but they are damn good, and really, really easy. Not to mention faster than your average meringue.

I recently unearthed this recipe from an old hand-written book of mine that dates back to A-Level Home Economics circa – 1970. Copyright info is long since lost, but I believe that the original recipe was in the part work “Cordon Bleu Cookery Course” published by Marshall Cavendish (if memory serves correctly.) EDIT: it seems the publisher may have been Purnell

These little meringues have been a huge success at spinning group and several of the ladies have asked for the recipe. Seeing as I had to type it up anyway, the blog might as well have the advantage of it.

Here is the recipe as written down in my book – it’s pre-metric, of course.

Meringues Aux Amandes

  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 4½ oz Icing Sugar
  • ¾ oz Chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Coffee Essence

Whisk egg whites and sugar over hot water. Fold in almonds and essence. Place in rough spoonfuls on prepared baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes, or until dry.

Succinct, eh? well, I knew what I meant at the time that I wrote it down!


  1. The recipe is called Meringues with Almonds, but it works equally well (if not better) with other nuts. I have been making these recently with chopped walnuts and getting excellent results . Pecans and macadamias work well too.
  2. You can do your own metric conversions, I am feeling lazy – the 325 is Fahrenheit, obviously. I have been using 150°C in my fan oven.
  3. Not very PC... but excellent for a quick iced coffee, or these meringues
    Not very PC in the old style... but excellent for a quick iced coffee, or these meringues
  4. To be honest, I have never worked out the coffee essence part, never having seen little bottles of coffee essence equivalent to vanilla/almond etc. In the past I used Camp coffee and chicory essence – with good results. In the last few weeks I have added two teaspoons of very strong freshly-made espresso instead.
  5. I use an electric hand-mixer nowadays as the RSI in my shoulder prevents me from beating the hell out these with a wire balloon whisk – better results come from the balloon whisk, in my opinion.
  6. I beat the whites over a saucepan of gently simmering water – not the best Health & Safety option but it suits my impatient nature. Removing the pan from the heat and beating in a bowl over that is not just safer but will most likely yield a better bulk as well.
  7. Beat until the mix is snowy white and glossy and holds a peak well. It doesn’t take long.
  8. Fold in the nuts and coffee flavour carefully, in the usual manner.
  9. I dollop about a dessert spoonful onto rice paper or baking parchment. The heaps can be quite close together as the mixture is good and stiff and is, let’s face it, part-cooked already.
  10. The cooking time is pretty accurate. I call these done once the meringues lift cleanly from the paper.
  11. To be honest, these are at their best when not fully dried out – they have a wonderful chewiness to them.

I have never, ever, known these meringues to fail or to weep. I call them fail-safe meringues.

I defy you to eat just one. Make double quantities, they don’t last long…


  1. SpinningGill
    February 1, 2009

    I can vouch for the ‘not being able to eat only one’ bit! LOL

  2. SpinningGill
    February 1, 2009

    … Or two, given half a chance!

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