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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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 email@example.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).