Louise Cake, with its shortcake crust slathered with raspberry jam and crowned with a delicately crisp coconut meringue, has been part of the New Zealand landscape for a very long time.
Where does it come from?
Its origins aren’t very clear, but rumour has it that it was created for the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise. The recipe for Louise Cake (which is now more a slice than a cake) was more than likely brought to New Zealand by British settlers. Since then it has become one of our most beloved slices, but in recent years has suffered the indignity of being called ‘old fashioned’.
Thankfully, you can never keep a good thing down and this little stalwart of New Zealand culinary history is making a bit of a comeback, even turning up in trendy cafes. And why wouldn’t it? It’s a fabulous slice that combines wonderful flavours and textures. Yes, it’s quite sweet, but when paired with a dollop of cream and even some fresh berries on the side, it’s truly delectable. It’s also a breeze to make and this lovely recipe comes from one of the doyens of New Zealand cookery – Alison Holst.
Take it from me, you’ve got to try this out!
Louise Cake Slice
For the base:
- 3.5 oz softened butter
- 1/2 cup ugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 cup standard (plain) flour
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup good-quality raspberry jam
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup coconut shreds, divided
- Heat oven to 160°C (320°F). Line the sides and bottom of a pan about 18x28cm (7x11inch) with baking paper, allowing enough extra paper on the sides for lifting the cooked slice out, or spray a 23cm square loose-bottomed pan.
- For the base, put the softened butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until combined.
- Add the two flours and pulse a few times until evenly crumbly – if you pinch the mixture, it should hold together.
- Tip the mixture into prepared pan and press down firmly and evenly.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Once done, take out the pan (but don’t turn the oven off) and set on a rack to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
- While the base is cooling, beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy, then add the sugar gradually and beat until not quite stiff (the tips of peaks should droop when the beater is lifted from them). Then fold half a cup of the coconut evenly through the meringue.
- Spread the jam over top of the warm base. Drop the meringue in spoonfuls on top, then spread evenly with a knife or spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the meringue feels just lightly crisp on the outside and is evenly and lightly coloured (the coconut on the top should be lightly toasted).
- Cool completely before cutting into pieces, during which time the base will firm up. Serve as is, or with a dollop of cream.
38 thoughts on “Louise Cake Slice”
Yummmmm it’s been so long since I’ve had Louise Cake! I would love to know more about its origins – can we truly claim Louise Cake as our own?
Yes, it’s a blast from the past isn’t it! Louise Cake is said to have been created for Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter in the 1800s. It would have most likely come to NZ shores with our English forebears.
I adore Louise Cake!! Saw this over on Food Foto Gallery – another NZ food blogger here 🙂
Yay! Hi Nicole – always great to hear from NZers!
Love louise cake and your home made version looks definitely delicious. Craving a slice right now!
Thanks Thalia – it was better than I remembered it from all those years ago – will definitely be making it again!
Alison’s recipe for Louise Cake is one of my all time favourites!! Such a great way to use up those last bits of jam that hang around in the back of the fridge too… I didn’t know the royal origins though – very fancy 🙂
Thanks Jessica – yeah, it’s an oldie but a goodie eh. I intend making it lots more!
Hi! Just dropping in the say thank you for this recipe. I used it over a year and a half ago and it turned out to be such a success, but never got around to commenting! I had a hankering for Louise Cake this afternoon and happily found this page in my bookmarks. Love your blog. x
Hi Josie. Thanks so much for letting me know and great to hear you liked it so much! All the best.
My Mum use to make a slice she called Easter Cake. It was a biscuity base, not shortbread, and then a hard crisp meringue topping with flaked almonds on top. I loved it, but unfortunately no one else in the family remembers it. Do you know of it ?
Hi Claire. No, I’ve never heard of it either. I did a quick Google search and found something that looked similar – is this is?
cut the sugar by half as it was a little too sweet for my liking with the jam being so sweet already. only used a couple of Tblspns in the meringue. turned out just lovely.
Great, glad to hear you adapted it to suit, and that you enjoyed it!
Yum. Remember my mum used to make this. I’ve passed the recipe onto my Aussie daughter in law to make me some!
Haha.. very clever! I hope you enjoy and it brings back happy memories!
Hi Susan, another Kiwi here too, just made your lovely Louise Cake but replaced the jam with lime curd ……..oh its so good!!!
Hi Morag! Always great to hear from a fellow Kiwi! And yes using lemon curd as a filling is very popular too. I did it recently and thoroughly enjoyed it!
I never heard of Louise Cake, but that looks wonderful! I’ll have to give it a try! 🙂
You’re in for a treat!
I made this today and will definetly give it a go again. Thank you for sharing! I had trouble with the base though, I think maybe it wasn’t crumbly enough after I added the flour because when I sliced it the base was undercooked. Even putting it back in a hot oven later with just the bottom element heating, it still didn’t cook through. It remained like a cookie dough consistency, maybe I had too much butter? Will also reduce the sugar next time, I agree with Malou it’s sweet enough with the jam.
Hi Macca. Sorry to hear you had problems with the base. I’m not sure why it didn’t work for you – it could have been to do with measurements, or oven temperature? The other possibility is over processing perhaps? It just needs to be pulsed until it is combined and still crumbly. All the best.
Hi, my topping didn’t look like the pictures. It seemed there wasn’t enough meringue mix over the jam. A very thin layer at best. Am I the only one finding this?
Hi Mish. Sorry to hear the meringue didn’t work for you. Meringue is a finnicky thing and can be affected very easily by things like humidity, age of eggs, etc. The egg whites should be very voluminous and there should easily be enough to cover the base.
I’ve always loved this slice and often substitute the jam for lime marmalade. You don’t get the colour difference, of course, but the tangy lime and sweet meringue are divine 🙂
Sounds scrumptious! Must try it!
Greetings from the Rock of Gibraltar. I came across your site and tried this; fabulous! Thank you, and thank you also for your non-fluffy, no-nonsense site.
Hi Jacqueline – wow that’s a long way away!! Lovely to hear from you and thanks so much for your very kind comment. You’ve pretty much described me!! 🙂
Hi from Israel
Loved the recipe. First, it has New Zealand origin. Second, it’s so simple to make.
Hi Shoshi! Great to hear you enjoyed it! All the best.
Hi, Thank you so much for this recipe.
I have some question. What is the shelf-life of the product at room temperature and in refrigerator?
Hi. You can store in an air tight container (or in fridge) for up to 2 weeks. Otherwise it freezes well.
Visiting my daughter in Oz and she wanted Louise Cake but was astounded that her Edmonds cook book doesn’t have the recipe!! Used yours and it is the best one I have ever made. Gave some to the neighbours and they loved it, so did my sister who has a local cafe and has demanded some for her customers. Also made your Choc peppermint biscuits as a slice and it disappeared fast. Thanks Kiwicook you are now my go to for recipes. Lou
Wow Linda! That’s too cool for school! Great to hear!
Hi Susan, I was looking forward to this as I needed to use up some jam. Unfortunately my meringue didn’t cook crispy enough and I had to take it out because the coconut was browned already. I think if I did it again I would just put all the coconut in the meringue and cook it till crunchy which is what I was hoping for. And yes agree with other comments it is super sweet so would cut the sugar down also. Thank you Carolyn
Thanks Carolyn, good to know. 🙂
Made this today, yummy, looks great. It wasn’t in my Edmonds book so had to google and found your recipe. My mum made this all the time. Thankyou.
Great to hear Ethel!