Have you ever had someone ask you if you were a cake or pie person? The few times I've been asked I've been unsure what to say. After sitting and staring blankly for a few minutes I usually respond, "Ummmm, both?" Does liking them mutually exclusive? I just don't discriminate between my desserts, folk. I'm an equal opportunity dessert eater.
There are some people, though, that are definitely more on one side of the fence than the other when it comes to choosing cake or pie for dessert. I would like to see what they would think of this cake, though, because it combines the best of all worlds, in my opinion. A fluffy, lemony cake topped with some lemon curd and "frosted" with a light-as-air meringue topping. It's incredible, folks. Its impressive presentation prompted an unsolicited, "That cake looks awesome." from my husband and it tastes just as good as it looks. The from-scratch cake layer is delicious, fluffy, and easy. It isn't overly buttery or dense. The lemon curd is just sweet and lemony enough, and the meringue topping is nice and thick. Put all together, it was one of those desserts that I had to hide from myself to keep from eating an extra four servings. Whether you are a cake, pie or "both" person, do yourself a favor and make this cake soon.
Lemon Meringue CakePublished 03/25/2013
For the Cake:
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg, plus 2 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
- 1 cup plain white flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
For the Filling:
- 2 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
For the Meringue:
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Heat oven to 350. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg yolks. Mix together the flour and baking powder and then beat into the creamed mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in the vanilla and lemon extracts, mixing in well.
- Butter and flour an eight inch round cake tin. Pour in the batter, level off and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let sit in the pan for five minutes then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling
- For the filling combine the flour and sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Mix together the lemon juice, water and egg yolks and then stir into the flour/sugar mixture along with the lemon zest. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool five minutes, then stir in the butter until melted. Set aside until cool. (The filling can be done in the microwave, stirring every minute, until the curd is cooked. There is a greater chance that you will get a slightly grainy curd from cooking the eggs too quickly but it is much faster.)
- Place the cake layer on a plate (one that can handle some heat) and spread the lemon filling over. Beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until the mixture begins to turn foamy, then continue to beat slowly adding the sugar until mixture is stiff, but not dry. Spread over the sides and top of the cake. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake until the meringue browns, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Serve at room temperature, cutting slices with a wet knife. This helps to prevent the meringue from tearing as you cut it.
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook time: 35 min
Recipe Source: Adapted from ayearfromacottage.org