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© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F.
Place almonds on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and just golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a food processor.
Reduce oven temperature to 250°.
Add 1/4 cup sugar to the almonds; pulse until finely ground. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until stiff. Gently fold in the almond mixture.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw an 8-inch circle in the center of each to use as a guide; turn the paper over. Evenly spread about 2 1/2 cups of the meringue into an 8-inch round on each baking sheet. Bake the meringues on the upper and lower racks for 1 hour.
Reduce oven temperature to 200°. Switch the positions of the baking sheets and continue baking until the meringues feel firm when gently touched, about 1 hour more.
Turn off the oven and let the meringues sit with the door ajar until cool, about 1 hour. (The exterior may crack in spots as they cool.)
When ready to assemble the cake, whip cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Carefully transfer one meringue layer to a cake plate and spread with 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Top with half of the strawberries and another 1/2 cup of whipped cream. Place the second meringue layer over the filling and top with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Just before serving, arrange the remaining strawberries on top of the cake.