Ottolenghi’s Louise cake with plum & coconut

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The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

This recipe for Louise cake with plum and coconut comes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s incredible new cookbook called ‘Sweet’. This book ‘speaks’ to me in every way and not only because I published a book with the exact same name in 2015 – and obviously, I think it’s a perfect name for a book with this subject matter, but I adore baking and dessert-making.

This book, like all of Ottolenghi’s previous books – including the ones he collaborated with other people on are amongst my favourite of all time and is the ones that constantly inspire me. Flipping through the pages of ‘Sweet’ I wanted to make every single recipe.

The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

Not all the recipes in Sweet come from the Ottolenghi restaurant group – although some do. If they are available in one of the stores, the recipe will be a replica of what you will find there.

They frequently mix things up adding bold flavours and new techniques to traditional recipes and I’m all for that. You can always expect the unexpected with Ottolenghi and this is what is so inspiring. Like his Middle Eastern millionaire’s shortbread with halva and tahini caramel or his brûlée tarts infused with chai, everything in this book is fresh, lively, and delicious. 

The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

The Louise cake caught my eye because I’m unfamiliar with it and I loved the sound of the fruit, almonds, coconut, and meringue topping. Plums are incredible to bake with and this famous plum torte recipe is one of my favourites. The ingredient list is long here and there are a couple of stages but it isn’t difficult at all. You will need to wash the bowl of your stand mixer while the cake is baking to mix up the meringue.

The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

A traditional Louise cake is more of a slice with less meringue, but Yotam and Helen have made a showstopper with the amount of meringue they piled onto the cake and I love it. They make theirs in a loose-bottomed square tin, which I don’t have so I had to opt for a 23cm loose-bottomed round.

The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

The cake is better eaten on the day it’s made but is certainly fine the day after. The meringue loses some of its crunchiness the following day and the cake could get a little soggy from the fruit.

The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

The authors recommend using any seasonal stone fruit (peaches, apricots, or cherries being alternatives) and they need to be ripe but not too soft. The plums I bought were probably a little overripe but were not that sweet, so they gave the cake tartness which balanced out the sweetness. I think I would have preferred plums that were a little sweeter though.

The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook

Recipe from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh – published by Ebury Press (part of Penguin Random House UK).

More meringue and plum recipes:

Roast plum Eton mess with almonds

Easy plum tarte tatin

The famous purple plum torte

Roast plum ice cream with cinnamon & bay

The best easy plum muffins

Plum & frangipane galette

Rose meringues with pistachios

Pink swirl meringues with pomegranate syrup

Serves 9

louise cake with plum & coconut

The Louise cake by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh from their cookbook Sweet
Print Recipe
The Louise cake with plum & coconut from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh's Sweet Cookbook


  • 125 g butter at room temperature I always use salted even though the recipe calls for unsalted
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 1tsp
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 20 g desiccated coconut
  • 80 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 dark red plums ripe but firm (about 450g)


  • 60 g flaked almonds
  • 140 g egg whites I used 4 ½ egg whites but it all depends on the size of your eggs
  • 1/8 th tsp salt
  • 185 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour


  • Preheat the oven to 170c/150C fan.
  • Spread the almonds out on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Increase the oven temp to 185C /165C fan and line your 23 cm cake tin with baking paper or 20cm high-sided square tin with a removable base).
  • Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer with a balloon whisk until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks while the mixer is running one at a time making sire they are well incorporated before adding the next one.
  • In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together.
  • With the mixer on a low speed add the coconut and then add the flour and milk in alternating parts and mix briefly to combine. Do not over-mix.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom. Decant this into your lined cake tin and spread to even out the surface. Bake for 25 minutes and until it’s firm to the touch, lightly golden and when a skewer is inserted into the middle it comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, cut the plums in half and remove the pips. Cut each half into 4 pieces, so you will have 8 wedges from each plum.
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, arrange the slices of plums in a single layer over the surface of the cake making sure you do not double up in any areas.
  • Turn the oven temp up to 200C.
  • To make the meringue ensure your bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean. Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peak stage, about a minute. Add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time and then continue to beat for about 5 – 6 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is glossy. Add the vanilla, vinegar, and cornflour and mix to combine.
  • Fold the almonds through by hand and then pile this on top of the cake with the plum layer. Return to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 180C/160C fan and bake for 35 minutes and until the meringue has formed a hard crust. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for at least half an hour before removing it from the tin and peeling off the paper. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve when cool.


*NB Be sure to note that the Temperature goes up after the initial bake and then gets turned down again for the baking of the meringue. That increase in temperature will help form the crispy outer crust.
Author: Sam

Sweet is available in all good bookstores and will make the perfect gift for anyone interested in baking. 




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  1. I see my slice is waiting, plated …..will be round shortly 😉 Sounds awesome! Thank you for sharing xxxx

  2. gringalicioustori says:

    Omg, you’re pictures are incredible and this cake is making me want to bake at this very moment. Happy Holidays!

  3. Thank you so much and I know that feeling of really wanting to bake.

  4. Thanks, Linda and wish there was a way to share all the food.

  5. Such a gorgeous cake Sam. I’m very happy with the meringue to cake ratio as well!

  6. Ha ha yes, I think thats one of the best parts about this cake

  7. WOW, this is an incredible cake! I have the book it’s from but have never ventured to this recipe. Obviously I should!

  8. Looks lovely.
    Can granular sugar be used instead of caster sugar and is the corn starch in the meringue obligatory (is there a substitute)?

  9. HI Monika caster sugar is better and the cornflour gives the meringue stability. I really can’t say how those changes will affect the recipe as I haven’t tested it. Surely both are very easy to come by? better to stick to the recipe I would say.

  10. Catherine says:

    Hello Sam, I would love to try this recipe, but by cornflour do you mean cornstarch? I see that in some regions of the world it’s the same thing but in others, it’s not…

  11. Hi Catherine – yes cornflour is corn starch.

  12. My meringue didn’t go crispy and shrunk. Any ideas why. It was beautiful, thick and glossy when I put it in the oven.

  13. Hi Gloria – it could be that you over beat it or didnt add the sugar in slowly enough? Meringies are complicated but it is difficult for me to know for sure.

  14. Had I left the meringue for 35 Minutes at 200 degrees in the oven it would have burned completely!!

  15. Hi Lisa and thanks for pointing this error out. I have adjusted the recipe and made it clearer. After preheating the oven to 200C it gets turned down before the meringue layer goes in to bake. I appreciate the feedback.

  16. Ruth Dwyer says:

    As it’s summer, fresh plums aren’t available here in Aus. I’m thinking of using blueberries, or maybe strawberries? Any other ideas? Thx Ruth

  17. Hi Ruth – I think plums are best for this as I have not tried blueberries but you could give it a whirl

  18. 4 stars
    My meringue turned out beautifully, however I felt like the sponge cake had dried a bit after the second trip to the oven. Any thoughts on how to mitigate that? Also I substituted stewed rhubarb for the plums as it was ready in the garden- a nice flavor profile.

  19. Hi Shhnnon, I remember the spponge being a bit dry and chatting to a friend who had also made it and thought the same. I think sadly its not the best recipe in this regard.The rhubard would be so nice. I too like the concept of the cake but sponge can dry out to much so it might not be practical as a recipe

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