On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Lemon Meringue Cake

4 Comments

When my December 2013/January 2014 dish magazine arrived I had no time to flick through the pages. It was some weeks later that I browsed the recipes and came across the Lemon Meringue Cake. I was sold. This was going to be my suggestion for lunch, given we were having a more casual meal for Christmas Lunch.

Ready for chilling

The recipe itself was dead simple. You toss all the cake ingredients into the cake mixer at the same time, so obviously the better has to be soft, very soft, but not melted (it explains in the recipe).

I converted the recipe from an 8” cake to a 9” cake. There would be 13 of us for lunch and I thought the 8” cake wouldn’t go the distance.

Baking the cakeI cooked the cakes on fan forced with the temperature reduced because a fan oven is hotter. I had the cakes on two racks. While they looked to be baking beautifully, in the final 10 minutes they caved, one was worse than the other. I posted photos on my Facebook page but I didn’t take any photos using the dSLR camera.

I continued preparing food for Christmas day all the time being really uncomfortable with the cakes. I had to torte both of them to get a 4 layer cake, and I could see that I’d end up with donuts because the cakes sunk so much that if I torted them in half (based on the outside height) then the middle would be hollow.

Eventually I did what I wanted to do, I made another cake. This time on bake and in the middle of the oven. And you know what? It still dipped, but not as bad, but still enough that on the day once I’d cut a slice you could see the middle of the cake was caving in.

Lemon curd

Assembling the cake was easy. The lemon syrup was lovely and it soaks through nicely, but keep the cut side up as it soaks much quicker that way rather than with the bottom of the cake up (as I did for one layer).

I weighed the filling and then placed the cake onto the scales and scooped an equal third on each of the 3 layers. I like them to be even and the same thickness. Applying the meringue was simple. It was sort of like crumb coating a cake. With one HUGE difference. This time I had to deliberately make peaks and an uneven texture. I didn’t want smooth. And I think I might have spent a fair amount of time trying to get nice peaks all the way around and on top. Baking the meringue worked nicely on the top but the sides were a bit faint, or had no browning at all. My guess is the photo of the cake in dish was having used one of those torches, or they have a way better oven with even heating all around.

Assembling the cakeDid the cake taste good? Yes.

Was the cake easy to make? Yes.

And will I make it again? I’m not sure. If I do, I’ll change the method for making the cake batter. I think the “throw the lot in” was probably a way to speed things up and simplify the recipe, but I think it was also setting it up to fail/flop.

I’ve never had Ricotta cheese in a sweet thing before, only with the Lasagne roll ups, so I was a little apprehensive but it worked well, and I expected it would.

Ricotta Lemon Curd fillingThere ended up being loads of cake left over. Enough even on Boxing Day to have more left over. Though we were slicing the slice in half, that is having just 2 of the 4 layers per person. The cake was a monster!

The meringue was still looking quite good on Boxing Day, but it had begun to seep a little around the base.

MeringueI also think that I’d make an Italian Meringue. Given there’s very little baking of the meringue, and using raw egg whites, the Italian Meringue would be safest.

This is one cake that bugs me (the caving) so I suspect I’ll make it again just to see if I can resolve that problem. Some things I have trouble letting go of 🙂

If you like lemon, then definitely give this cake a crack, but you’ll have to buy the magazine (or ask nicely ontotheplate@gmail.com) to get the recipe.

I’ve just found a photo I took from my phone’s camera after we cut a few slices. This demonstrates the problem of having a softer filling when a layer of cake doesn’t have the same thickness all the way through (where the cake caved in those last minutes of baking and cooling).

2013-12-25 13.56.38

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4 thoughts on “Lemon Meringue Cake

  1. This is lovely, and the cakes are sliced so evenly!

    • Thanks Charisma. I just tuck my elbow into my side to try and keep my slicing as steady as possible while turning the lazy Susan. I’ve just found a photo of the cut cake taken from my phone’s camera. I’ll upload it, then it’s very clear what happens to a layer that’s not even (because it caved during baking) with a soft filling. But the cake was still tasty and if I weren’t full from over eating, I’d have had more!

  2. looks lovely! i am sure it tastes lovely too!

    • Hi there, yep, it was very tasty. I love lemon anything 🙂 I found a photo I’d taken after we cut into the cake. It’s now posted at the bottom of the blog. The problem of a cake that caves while baking/cooling is very evident, but it didn’t detract from the flavour 🙂

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