A showstopping cake that makes any festive table shine. Always a popular light dessert during long Indian Summer days, this is a low-gluten dessert and if you exclude the sabayon, it's dairy-free as well.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (19 votes)


  • 140 g (5oz./1¼ cups) plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 280 g (10oz./1½ packed cups) soft light brown sugar
  • 14 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp orange zest

Swiss berry coulis

  • 450 g (1lb.) blackberries
  • 500 g (1lb. 2oz.) raspberries
  • 200 g (7oz./1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 allspice berries, toasted and ground
  • 2 cloves, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Caramelized peach coulis

  • 450 g (1lb.) fresh yellow peaches (or apricots), pitted and quartered
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • large pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper

To serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You can begin this recipe one day prior.

Cooling time 1 hour

Chilling time 3 hours or overnight

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). In a bowl, combine the flour with the ground cloves and half of the brown sugar. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a flat surface. Sift the flour mixture onto the parchment, then sift again back into the bowl. Repeat then set aside.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment on medium speed, or in large bowl using a whisk, beat the egg whites until foamy. Ensure all equipment is clean, dry and grease-free. Sprinkle in the cream of tartar then continue to beat the whites until tripled in volume. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the whites 1 tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the sugar is incorporated and the whites are thick and glossy. Turn the speed to medium–low and fold in the flour and sugar mixture in three additions. Finally, add the orange zest.

Spoon the cake batter into an non-buttered 25 cm (10-inch) angel-cake tin with a removable bottom. Run a knife through the batter to break up any air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden and the cake springs back when you lightly press the surface. Invert, in its tin, onto a cooling rack and cool completely, at least 1 hour.

To make the berry coulis, rinse and drain the berries, reserving about a quarter of each. Add the remaining berries to a large pan. Over low heat, add the sugar and spices and bring to a low simmer, stirring the sauce to break down the berries. Use a food mill or sieve to strain out the seeds then stir in the lemon juice. Cover and chill the coulis and reserved berries until needed.

Turn the cake right side up, then run a knife around the sides and centre tube of the tin. Release from the sides, then run a knife around the bottom to release. Slice the cake vertically into 2 cm (¾-inch.) slices. Set aside.

To layer the cake, have a spring-form pan, reserved berries and berry coulis ready. Lightly moisten the pan then line with cling film (plastic wrap), letting the side of the film (plastic) fall over the edges. Sprinkle a third of the reserved berries in the bottom of the pan then add a ladle full of sauce. Press a layer of cake slices onto the bottom, filling in the cracks to make a ‘patchwork-quilt’ layer. Repeat these layers two or three times, finishing with a little more sauce on top. Tuck the cling film (plastic wrap) over the top then add another layer of film over the top. Weight the cake with a flat plate and a 500 g (1lb.) weight or can on top. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To make the caramelized peach coulis, preheat oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Put the peach quarters in a large bowl, sprinkle in the sugar, ginger and allspice and toss to coat. Oil a baking tray and arrange the peaches on it, cut side up. Sprinkle with the salt and white pepper. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly and caramelized. When cool, run through a food mill to purée. Adjust seasonings, cover and chill until needed.

To serve, peel away the cling film (plastic wrap) from the top of the cake tin and cover with a cake plate. Flip over onto the plate then release the sides then the top of the spring-form pan. Peel away the film. Cut the cake in wedges and place on individual plates. Spread a generous spoonful of peach coulis onto each plate then spoon the lemon verbena sabayon over the edge of the cake. Garnish with fresh berries and edible flowers and/or verbena or mint leaves.


Recipes and images from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller. Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. (Murdoch books, $49.99 hbk). Read an extract right here.