Vanilla Meringue Layer Cake filled with Cranberry Orange Cream Filling
Trace sweater template onto the parchment sheets. You'll need 2 parchment sheet and trace the template 4 times. Turn the parchment upside down so the ink side is facing down. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 175F, or the lowest oven setting.
Use grease free bowl and tools when preparing meringue.
In a clean, heat proof bowl of your mixer grease free bowl combine egg whites (9 egg whites), granulated sugar (2cups) and freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice(or use white distilled vinegar) (2tsp).
Heat the egg white mixture over the pot of simmering water. Whisking constantly heat the mixture till all of the sugar is dissolved. To check if sugar is dissolved rub the mixture between your finger. If you feel no grainy particles you can remove the bowl from the heat.
Mixer will be white and soapy, this is normal.
Return bowl with heated egg white mixture to the mixer and beat on medium speed for about a minute then increase speed to medium high. Beat until medium peaks are formed. Beat in Vanilla Extract (2tsp) and then beat in corn starch (2tbsp). Beat until stiff peaks are formed.
Then color meringue with electric pink food coloring. Whip till just combined. Don't overbeat.
Fit a piping bag with a star tip #21. Fill the piping bag with stiff pink meringue. Secure parchment sheet with sweater template outline onto the baking sheet. Into each corner pipe a small amount of meringue and then glue parchment on it.
Pipe shell border following the sweater template outline. Then fill the inside with meringue by piping straight lines across. Pipe 4 meringue layers.
On one of the meringue layers pipe knitted pattern as see in instructions. Using star piping tip #21 for shell borders and a round piping tip #3 for small details. Sprinkle white nonpareils over bottom and neck hem.
Bake meringue layers in the preheated oven at 175F for 4 hours. After this time turn off the oven and let the meringue cool in the oven as the oven cools, 2-3 hours. Then remove meringue layers from the oven. Peel of the parchment and store meringues immediately in an airtight container. Prepare meringue layers up to 4-5 days ahead.
In a sauce pan combine cranberries (12 oz, 340grams), granulated sugar (1cup) and water (1/2cup). Bring to boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Until cranberries pop and become soft.
Process mixture in a chopper until smooth. Strain cranberry puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds. Let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate over night. Cranberry puree can be prepared ahead, up to 5 days ahead.
In a clean bowl beat chilled heavy whipping cream (3cups), beat until soft peaks are formed. Then gradually beat in powdered sugar (1/2cup or to taste) and Vanilla Extract (1tsp). Then beat in orange zest. Beat till stiff peaks are formed.
Take about a cup of whipped cream and fold in cooled and well stirred cranberry puree. Add cranberry mixture to the remaining whipped cream and fold just till half way combined. Cranberry streaks are awesome!
Fit a piping bag with a large star piping tip 6B. Fill the bag with cranberry orange filling. Pipe filling on meringue cake layer, then place another meringue layer on the top and continue until you have a knitted meringue layer on the top. Filled cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 hours.
Meringue Layers - 4 days ahead
Cranberry Puree - 4 to 5 days ahead
Assembled Cake - 4 to 6 hours ahead, stored in the fridge.
Extra fat in Heavy Whipping Cream makes for a stronger whipped cream. If you don't have or can't find Heavy Whipping cream you can use Whipping Cream in place of heavy whipping cream.
However if you plan on filling the cake ahead of time I'd recommend you prepare stabilized whipped cream either using gelatin or ready to use Whip It Cream Stabilizer.
If you don't have any gelatin or Whit It Cream Stabilizer Packet you can use 1/2 cup full fat sour cream or Greek Yogurt. It adds a bit of tangy flavor and it helps to stabilize whipped cream.
Extra fat in Heavy Whipping Cream makes for a stronger whipped cream.
Store baked meringues in an airtight container with a small bowl or bag or dry raw rice.