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Lemon Meringue Cake

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Lemon Meringue Cake

The days are warming up and the sun has been peaking out to bring some bright, cheerful days to the Pacific Northwest. I say this just as I see the weather forecast predicts a cloudy weekend, however, the past few sunny days has me thinking about this radiant, lemony cake. By far, the star of this cake is the lemon curd. It is rich, zesty, and truly lemony.

Lemon Meringue Cake

The secret to the richness of this lemon curd is to use egg yolks instead of whole eggs. I have made lemon curd using whole eggs in an attempt to minimize waste, however, it simply does not hold a candle to this recipe.  It really is worth finding something to do with the leftover egg whites. Half of the egg whites can be used in the Italian Meringue frosting which is a divine, billowy, marshmallowy, fluff of deliciousness. The other half? Well, maybe an egg white scramble for breakfast because you will want to save some calories for this delectable dessert later in the day.

Lemon Meringue Cake

The sponge cake is moist and flavorful by itself, however, adding the lemon syrup truly makes this a zesty, lemony slice of heaven. This cake has several components to it and the lemon curd definitely takes some time and patience to prevent curdling it, however, the technique of creaming the yolks with the sugar and butter will help minimize your chance of curdling.  Do not make the Italian Meringue until you have the cake layered and ready to frost otherwise it will lose its spread-ability

Lemon Meringue Cake

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Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A three layer sponge cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with a billowy Italian Meringue.

Ingredients

Sponge Cake

  • 2 ¼ cups (225 grams) SIFTED cake flour (sift before measuring or you will have too much flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
  • 5 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 10 Large egg yolks
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar (250 grams)
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • zest of 2 lemons

Lemon Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup lemon juice

Italian Meringue Frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 large egg whites

Instructions

Sponge Cake

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease 3 eight-inch cake pans with butter and line them with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Place the milk and butter in a saucepan, heat over medium-high heat to melt the butter. Bring the milk and butter to a bowl then reduce the heat to low to keep it warm while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Rinse a mixing bowl with hot water to warm the bowl up then dry it (the warm temperature will maximize the volume faster) Place the eggs in the bowl and begin whipping on high speed until frothy. Slowly add the sugar and continue to whip the eggs for 8 to 10 minutes until they have tripled in volume. The mixture will turn pale yellow and fall in a ribbon-like pattern when the beater is lifted.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the vanilla and hot milk mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated.
  5. Pour evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Lemon Curd Filling

  1. In a large saucepan, beat the yolks, sugar and butter with an electric mixer until blended well then add the lemon juice and salt. Cook slowly over medium low heat stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should be between 192° and 195°). Be patient and do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle, the process will take 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Once thickened, pour the mixture into a strainer set over a bowl and discard any cooked egg bits that may be left in the strainer. Stir in the lemon zest, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The mixture will thicken more once chilled.

Lemon Syrup

  1. place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil then set aside to cool.

Italian Meringue Frosting

  1. *Make the Italian Meringue Frosting only after the rest of the cake components are made and the cake is ready to assemble.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Allow to cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  3. With the mixer on medium speed, carefully pour the hot syrup down the side of the mixing bowl in a steady stream. Be careful to avoid getting the hot syrup on the beaters or it will fling against the side of the mixing bowl. Increase the mixer to high and whisk for 2 to 3 more minutes

Assembling the Cake

  1. Drizzle each of the sponge cakes with the lemon syrup. Place one of the cakes on a cake plate then spread half of the chilled lemon curd on the first layer of cake. Top the lemon curd layer with a second cake and spread the rest of the lemon curd on it then place the last sponge cake on top. Spread the Italian Meringue Frosting onto the top and sides of the caked. Use the back of a spoon to create dips and mounds in the frosting. Use a brulee torch to brown and caramelize the peaks of the meringue frosting.

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Hazel

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

I made this for a work baking competition and won!

(It's definitely the type of cake that you only need a tiny slice of. So sweet!!!)

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

Congratulations Hazel. That's exciting to hear. Thanks for the comment

Marie

Sunday 26th of April 2020

This was a great cake. Thanks for making my birthday special!

Dahn Boquist

Sunday 26th of April 2020

Oh Happy birthday ;) I'm glad you liked it

Cora

Friday 23rd of May 2014

I love the meringue on the outside!

Dahn

Friday 23rd of May 2014

Cora this is the Italian Meringue I showed you how to make when we were at Grandmas house :)

Kathi Kirk

Friday 23rd of May 2014

Oh man you are killing me! How am I supposed to get these next 10 pounds off if you keep posting this stuff :) This looks sooooo good! Kathi

Dahn

Friday 23rd of May 2014

Sorry Kathi but you know a girl looks good with some curves :)

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