This cake started because I needed to run to the store to get cash back for the kids so they could per-order their teachers and friends flowers for Valentines Day at school. It easier to run down to the store and get cash back, then to go to the bank. I know it sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through, but I am just not a cash carrying type of person. Before heading out, I texted my husband to see if he needed anything. His response was “no, but maybe dessert for tonight.” And that is pretty much what transpired a lemon meringue cake all cause I need 10 dollars for the kids. I not sure who’s fault this is the kids for needing money or the husbands for dropping the hint of dessert, either way this mama isn’t going to complain at being able to bake something.
My husband loves Lemon Meringue Pie, I love cake. It only made since to put our two loves together.
The cake has 3 main parts to it, the cake, lemon curb and meringue topping.
First start with making the cake. Preheat the oven to 325°, Now I baking my cake a 350° learn from my mistake and lower the temp. I should have know better as this cake is a vanilla/ white base cake and it would brown before it was done. So my cake is a little browner then I prefer. Also grease a 13 by 9 cake pan, or glass baking dishing.
For this cake I used the dream cake method. I have made this cake before just as a vanilla cake and cupcakes turns out perfect every time very moist. If you are looking for a moist vanilla cake I highly suggest the Vanilla Dream Cake.
Start out with 1 1/2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 6 tablespoons of butter, stir until melted. Set the mixture a side to cool, or in the fridge to speed the process up. (Once cooled you will be adding 2 tablespoons of oil, a 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 eggs.)
While the water sugar mixture cools, get the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Measure out 2 1/4 cup of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and baking soda along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. The batter can easily be mixed by hand so you really don’t have to use a stand mixer. I did but to be honest its habit for me.
Zest 2-3 lemons and set a side. You will use the lemon zest in the cake batter and also in the lemon curd. I do not zest any part of the lemon more then once. Just zest down once and turn the lemon and zest down again, you do not want the white part as that is bitter.
Time to squeeze some lemons. You will need 1 cup of lemon juice total. 1/2 cup for the cake and the other half for the lemon curd. If a lemon is firm then rolling it onto the counter top will help break of the fiber and make it easier to juice.
Now that all that is done the sugar water should be cooled, It doesn’t have to be cold, just cooled enough for when you add the eggs you do not cook them. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 cups of lemon juice, 2 pinches of lemon zest and 2 eggs to the cooled sugar water Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Next pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. If using a stand mixer do not over mix just until everything is combine and a low to medium speed. The cake batter will foam up and that is okay, it is just a reaction of the lemon juice and baking soda. Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake at 325° for 20-30 minutes. My cake took 25 minutes but that was also baked at 350°, so with a lower temp it may take longer. Just start checking the cake after 20 minutes and go from there.
While the cake is baking start the lemon curd and also set aside the egg whites for the meringue. For the lemon curd you will need 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks. For the meringue you will need 6 egg whites, 2 of the eggs white can be from the 2 eggs yolks used for the curd. Set the eggs white as side, make sure the eggs are at room temperature by the time you make the meringue, it just turns out better if the egg are not cold. I hope it make since as to which eggs go where, I felt rushed at this point, as you can probably tell by the egg shells thrown on the counter. My step mom would have a come apart if she seen the raw eggs on the counter. We always give her a hard time calling her the food police, she works for the State as a food specialist so she knows the ins and outs of food safety. It works out for me though, whenever I have a question about food prep or how long something can be out for I have the personal hook up! (Don’t worry mom no counter tops went unsanitized in the making of this cake!)
To make the lemon curd, you will want to use a double boiler. I however do not have one, so I just boil a medium pot of water and place a glass bowl over top. Make sure the bowl sits just inside the pot but is not touching the water. Before you place the glass bowl on top of the pot, mix the eggs with 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1-2 pinches of lemon zest. Place the bowl over the boil water and mix the lemon curd until it become thick but is still pourable, it that a word? If you take the spoon out and run your finger down the back of the spoon and the mixture stays separated than its done. I would say this took about 10 minutes, it felt like 20 minutes having to stir the whole time, but reality tells me 10 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of real butter and stir until melted. Leave the pot of water boiling you will use it again in a few minutes for the meringue
Once the cake is done, poke holes into the cake. Now I know what you are thinking, this is nothing but a poke cake. Yes and no, to me a poke cake is a mix from a box, baked, a can poured over it and something whipped on top. Are poke cakes good you bet, are they easy, yes. I have eaten and made my fair share of them and that is why I felt that this cake was a step or two beyond that.
Now that we are passed poke cake or not, pour the lemon curd over top of the cake. Smooth the curd out and bang the cake pan on the counter a few times or a few hundred which every suits your needs. The goal is the get more curd down the holes then having it laying on top of the cake.
Next the meringue, grab your bowl that has the 6 eggs white just hanging out and relaxing next to the mess of egg shells. (Don’t worry mom at this point I have cleaned that up and sanitized) Add a 1/2 cup of sugar and place the bowl over the boiling water. Mix the egg whites slower to dissolve the sugar and heat the egg whites. The whites will foam up, not a big deal just mix slowly so you don’t over spill them. Once the sugar is dissolved and the eggs whites are hot to the touch, pour them into your stand mixer fitting with the whip attachment.
Whip the egg white on high until they are glossy and will hold up on their own. Now there is a fine line between under whipped and over whipped, don’t ask me where that is because I really don’t know. I just go by looks, if its glossy, holds its shape and airy its done!
Spread the meringue onto of the cake, I always smack, slap, pat the meringue with the back of a spoon to give it texture and for looks. You can also char the peaks like it did with either a kitchen torch or under the boiler for a few minutes. If I do the boiler I don’t even close the oven door, I just stare at it until it’s done. The boiler can get away from you! Next place the cake in the fridge and chill, best if overnight to let all the flavors get to know one another and hang out, but if you can not wait that long at least give it 2-4 hours.
See below for printable recipe.
Lemon Meringue Cake
Lemon Meringue Cake
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 T real butter
- 2 T oil
- 1 T vanilla
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yokes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 pinches lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons real butter
- 6 egg white (room temperature)
- ½ cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 325° F, grease a 13×9 cake pan
Start out with 1 1/2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 6 tablespoons of butter, stir until melted. Set the mixture a side to cool, or in the fridge to speed the process up. Once cooled add 2 tablespoons of oil, a 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 eggs, whisk to combined.
In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl add the dry ingredients mix to evenly combine. Add the cooled sugar water, mix on low speed or stir until combine, do not over mix. Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Poke holes into top of cake, a round wood spoon handle works best, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Prepare lemon curd while cake is baking. Use a double boiler or a medium pot of boiling water with a glass bowl on top. Mix the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar together. Cook, stirring the whole time until thick, about 10 minutes. Pour lemon curd over top of cake and gently but firmly bang the cake pan on to the counter to help the lemon curd down in the holes of the cake.
Next make the meringue, use the same double boiler or glass bowl. Heat the egg whites and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch. Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg white until glossy and forms peaks that hold their shape.
Spread the meringue over top off cake, use the back of a spoon to slap the meringue to add texture. Optional, you can use a kitchen torch or boiler in oven to brown/ char the peaks. Refrigerate cake 2-4 hours, or best results overnight.