Lemon meringue cake

Lemon meringue cake

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 2 hrs Cook: 1 hr

A challenge

Serves 16

Take lemon meringue to a new level with this caramel-infused sponge filled with lemon curd and topped with Italian meringue

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal557
  • fat22g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs83g
  • sugars67g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.6g
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    For the lemon curd

    • 75g unsalted butter, softened
    • 225g caster sugar
    • zest 3 lemons



      Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

    • 100ml lemon juice, sieved to remove any seeds and pith
    • 3 large eggs



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • 1 tbsp cornflour

    For the caramel sugar syrup

    • 85g caster sugar

    For the cake

    • 300g unsalted butter, softened
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 75g light muscovado sugar
    • 300g self-raising flour
    • 5 medium eggs, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • 25g cornflour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • zest 4 lemons



      Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

    For the caramelised lemon slices

    • 1 lemon



      Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

    • 175g caster sugar

    For the Italian meringue

    • 300g caster sugar
    • 6 medium egg whites
    • ½ tsp cream of tartar


    1. Start by making the curd. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together. It will look like it has curdled but don’t worry – simply put the pan over a low heat and stir constantly until it is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Leave to cool, covered with cling film. Put in the fridge until ready to use, preferably overnight.

    2. For the caramel sugar syrup, heat the caster sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat until it melts and starts to caramelise. Stir until smooth and a deep golden colour. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in 50ml boiling water. It will steam and spit a little, so take care. (If the sugar hardens, pop the pan back on the heat for 1-2 mins to melt again.) Stir, pour immediately into a heatproof jug and top up with a little extra boiling water (about 10ml) so you have 100ml of liquid in total. Leave on one side to cool.

    3. To make the cake, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 3 x 20cm sandwich tins, lining the bases and sides with baking parchment.

    4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Mix in 1 tbsp flour, then add the eggs, a little at a time, beating after each addition until fully combined.

    5. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients, the lemon zest and 1/2 tsp salt, then fold in to the butter mixture with the caramel sugar syrup. Divide the batter between the tins and level the tops with the back of a wet spoon. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peeling off the parchment. Leave to cool completely.

    6. Make the caramelised lemon slices while the cakes are baking. Slice the lemon into 5mm thick slices, discarding the ends. In a shallow non-stick pan, bring 350ml water and the sugar to the boil. Add the lemon slices, boil for 10 mins, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20-25 mins until the liquid has evaporated and the slices have caramelised. Remove from the pan and put on a non-stick A silicone mat or baking parchment to cool.

    7. To assemble the cake. Place a sponge the right way up on a cake board or presentation plate. Top with an even layer of curd but don’t go right to the edge, leave about 1cm uncovered. Gently put the next sponge on top and repeat the process, putting the last sponge upside down on top.

    8. To make the Italian meringue, put the sugar and 175ml water in a saucepan and B bring to a rolling boil over a high heat. Continue to boil until it reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer. Meanwhile, put the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl (a tabletop mixer is ideal if you have one). Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks (when lifting the whisk out, the peaks should slowly vanish back into the mixture). Whisk the egg whites at high speed and very slowly trickle in the hot syrup. The meringue will C begin to thicken and go glossy after about 10 mins. Continue to whisk until it is still just warm. Use the meringue immediately, as it is easier to work with while warm.

    9. Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of meringue around the side of the cake to level and square it up, then spread an even layer about 3mm thick on the top of the cake (see step-by-step for guidance). Put the remaining meringue in a large piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle and pipe vertical columns up the side of the cake, level with the top. Finally, pipe small meringue stars on the top of the columns. It’s easier to do this with the cake on a turntable.

    10. Brown the meringue using a kitchen blowtorch. Finally, cut the caramelised lemon slices in half and use to decorate the top of the cake. Will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    4th May, 2017
    A delicious and impressive looking special cake. Agree with suerobinson below - make a plan and don't attempt it in a rush. Would help if you're already confident making caramel, and I loved the caramel flavour in the cake, gives a depth in with the sweet and sharp of the sugar/lemon - great balance. It's definitely worth the effort - one that tastes as good as it looks, it you're wondering whether to go for it, I'd say do it!
    28th Dec, 2016
    This was nice, and certainly looked impressive, but next time I would omit the caramel - I felt it detracted from the overall flavour and made the cake seem heavier.
    10th Aug, 2015
    This was made for a 50th birthday party and it certainly had the wow factor. Important to read each stage thoroughly and plan the bake, allowing a couple of days to make the cake, curd and glacé lemon, then complete the decoration the next day. The meringue was a revelation; easy to pipe and stable. I used a thermopen to ensure accuracy as I think this is vital to its success. It survived a half hour journey and cut beautifully. Would really recommend for a competent cook.
    4th May, 2015
    Made this cake for my daughters birthday, it was delicious and we all enjoyed it. It did take a while but it was worth it!
    Annabel lowry-westwood's picture
    Annabel lowry-w...
    15th Mar, 2020
    What can you use if you don’t have a blow torch?
    Barney Good Food's picture
    Barney Good Food
    19th Mar, 2020
    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. A blowtorch is rather essential for the burnt meringue effect. If you don't have one it's probably best if you try another recipe.
    18th Aug, 2016
    I'm wanting to make this for a friend's birthday. How far in advance can I make the sponge? Ideally I would make the sponge two days before, and assemble the day before then refrigerate overnight - do you think this would be okay?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    26th Aug, 2016
    Hi mscookies, you can complete the cake up to 3 days before and refrigerate or if you prefer do as you suggest and make the sponge 2 days before - keep in an airtight container - then finish the day before and keep in the fridge. Hope that helps!
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