Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose... (Tuesdays with Dorie BwJ: Cardinal Slice)

A Cardinal Slice is supposed to be a traditional Austrian dessert of meringue/ lady fingers layered between a caramel/ coffee pastry cream.

The only thing Cardinal about my dessert was the one that may have been needed to say a prayer for it once I realized that I left out a key ingredient in my lady finger batter.

It was going along swimmingly up until that point.

I had researched the recipe and had a plan. Since I knew that meringue and foam batters were a nemesis of mine (and this recipe required both to be baked into alternating strips - at the same time), I was going to do whatever I could to be successful.

I woke up early on Sunday morning to beat the humidity.

I pre-measured all the ingredients and had them at the correct temperature.

I made the burnt caramel/espresso syrup.

Precut my parchment strips.

Had piping bags and tips ready.

My meringue came out looking great and piped out beautifully.

The ladyfinger batter was a bit runny, but I figured it was just me... So I piped it out anyway. I placed the pans in the oven, turned around and immediately saw the bowl with the flour still sitting on the counter.


The best made plans of mice and men, and all that.

At that point, there wasn't much to be done but forge ahead and make the best of it. Heck, with all those eggs and sugar it couldn't be all bad, right?

Fortunately, there was enough structure in the meringue stripes to keep this from becoming a total loss. Once the whipped cream was sandwiched between the meringue layers, the dessert looked less disastrous.

At this point, I had a house showing in less than two hours that I needed to start cleaning for, so I tossed it all in the freezer and crossed my fingers.

When it came time to serve the dessert, I threw some macerated strawberries (with a little Triple-Sec thrown in for good luck) on top of the slice and topped it with the espresso flavored whipped cream. I decided that the fact that the dessert was supposed to be three inches taller could remain the cook's secret... All's fair in love and baking, right?

Closing thoughts:

1) I enjoyed the process of this dessert. I will probably never (ever) attempt to make it again, but I am glad I tried it.

2) Mise en place only works if you use it...

3) Strawberries and whipped cream can save almost anything.

This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie. A version of this classic Viennese show stopper can be found here. I appreciated the journey that one man took to perfect this dessert.


  1. Well bravo for the effort for sure! Sorry it wasn't a huge success but it sounds like you made it work in the end!!

  2. I didn't even attempt this one so kudos to you for giving it a go! When I read about the troubles and realized that it was way too humid here to even hope for success, I gave up before I even started. I am glad it worked out okay for you, and YES, whipped cream and strawberries fix everything!

  3. having gone through the house selling process, I can understand why the flour was still sitting on the counter! if you never make the cake again, that's okay but the would be a shame to never try that again!

  4. Ha! Mis en place can be overrated! Glad it still tasted great! Too much trouble for it not to.

  5. It looks delicious, regardless! Looking forward to Saturday here too.

  6. drat! but yes, strawberries and cream made this tast anyway, I'm sure.

  7. yes. strawberries and cream can save anything! :) I have made many a disastrous cake and just covered it with strawberries and cream in the end.


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