She went on about the unusual texure, the way the cake was sweet (but not too sweet) and hearty with apples. Then the meringue layer on top (so unusual, for a cake!) was crisp and airy, but where the two layers met it turned to a jellied pudding, sweet and moist. I was hooked. My mouth was watering, in fact And I clearly remembered this recipe too, a featured recipe at Food52, where the photo of a plain brown cake with a cracked brown sugar meringue looked both simple and intriguing. I liked the looks of it so much it ended up here, which is where my mother found it.
And then I found it again, and baked it. And oh boy, this is a keeper. It's an unusual recipe, with a simple chunky apple cake as the bottom layer, and that crackly brown meringue on top.The first time I made it (the instance seen in the photos here) I doubled the recipe for a dinner party, and I made the cake in a full 13x9-inch pan. However, I made the minor mistake of also doubling the meringue, when I really only needed to increase it by 50% or maybe not at all.
So the meringue floated up over the top of the cake, at least as deep as the cake itself, all pocked with air bubbles and crisp cracks. It looked slightly monstrous, but also beautiful, in a completely rustic way.
And the taste, oh it was that good. Not-too-sweet cake below, with a darkly sweet and sticky meringue, and that gooey pudding-ish bit where they meet. My guests groaned. I ate it for breakfast. It was gone very, very quickly. It's not the prettiest cake in the box, but it is utterly moreish.
All that to say, listen to your mother when she recommends a recipe, and make this cake.
• Get the recipe: An Old-Fashioned Apple Spice Cake at Food52
Have you tried this yet? Or have you ever made other cakes that have a meringue on top?
(Images: Faith Durand)