I literally, shamefully, broke a sweat trying to reach that danged "stiff peaks" stage. I stopped to give myself short breaks. I shook out my wrist. I tried switching hands but ambidexterity is a gift God apparently did not give me. After what I think was half an hour, I was tantalizingly close but the eggs were refusing to become anything beyond a very thick foam. I knew I was committing a baking sin, but I was past caring; I went ahead and folded in my inadequate egg whites and put the cake in the oven. The result tasted fantastic -- an incredible dark gingerbread -- but, predictably, it barely rose at all.
Maverick that I am, I made another decision to deviate from Nigella's game plan. Her cake is baked in a bundt pan and then topped with royal icing (knowing Nigella, this was probably solely so that she could work "snow" into the title). Mine was too dense and thin to be enjoyed as a cake, but it still tasted wonderful...I realized it would make a delectable bread pudding! And as I stood in the kitchen contemplating my course of action, I noticed some tart Bramley apples that need to be used up before we go home for the holidays. Apple pairs so well with gingerbread spices, so I decided to try making a spiced apple compote.