Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

What’s that big, glowing orb in the sky? IT BURNS! After several weeks of wet, wet, wet, the sun has finally returned. With sunshine comes thoughts of lemons and with…um…well, any day of the week comes thoughts of cake. So here’s a very lovely lemon meringue cake, courtesy of Nigella Lawson: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/lemon-meringue-cake-109

It’s a cross between a lemon meringue pie and a cake, with chewy crisp meringue layers, a sponge base, and a squidgy sweet lemon curd and whipped cream filling. Oh yes.

It sounds odd and truth be told, it looks a little odd as you’re putting it together. The cake looks thin like it hasn’t risen properly, the meringue is haphazard and cracked, and it doesn’t exactly look magazine-ready when you’re done. But my goodness, does it taste good. The sponge cake gives it a little extra “bulk” (otherwise, it’s essentially just lemon curd Eton mess – not that there’s anything wrong with that) and makes it more of a dessert that you’d serve to guests or take to a friend’s house.

I love how Nigella advises that you “spread [the batter] calmly”, because you will think it’ll never cover the bottom of the tin. You absolutely need to line the cake pans and grease them well, because the meringue makes the two halves very sticky. You can make your own lemon curd if you’re willing and are in an extra-productive mood (it’s not actually that difficult to make), but there are a lot of very nice ones on the market. Just don’t choose something cheap, and you should be fine.

This is a light, but deeply satisfying cake that still tastes good if you steal a forkful of it out of the fridge later on. Not that I did that.

Lemon Meringue Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125g) very soft unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cup (300g) plus 1 teaspoon superfine or granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (100g) flour
  • 1/4 cup (25g) cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup (150ml) double or whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup (150g) good quality lemon curd

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200C. Line and butter two 8” round cake tins.

Put the egg yolks, 1/2 cup (100g) of the sugar, butter, flour, cornflour/cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest in a food processor and mix.

Add the lemon juice and milk and process again.

Divide the cake mixture between the two pans.

Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form and then slowly whisk in 1 cup (200g) of sugar.

Divide the whisked whites between the two tins, spreading the meringue straight on top of the cake batter.

Smooth one side flat with a metal spatula, and with the back of a spoon, peak the other and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the peaks.

Put the tins into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

With a metal skewer or toothpick, pierce the cake that has the flat meringue topping to check it's cooked through. (It will flatten a little later.)

No cake mixture should stick to the tester.

Remove both cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely in the tins.

Unmould the flat-topped cake on to a cake stand or plate, meringue side down.

Whisk the double cream until thick and set aside.

Spread the cake with the lemon curd and  then the whipped cream. Finish by placing the peaked meringue cake on top.

Serves 4-6

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