Lemon puddings cakes are always a treat. These easy-to-make cakes separate into layers of fluffy cake and creamy custard as they bake, giving you two desserts in one! When my lemon tree is heavy with lemons, I tend to make these simple style of cake quite often. Like other pudding cakes, they don’t necessarily look very fancy when served by the spoonful from a large baking dish, but dividing them up into individual ramekins gives them a much more elegant look, though they are no more difficult to make.
These Lemon Meringue Pudding Cakes were inspired by lemon meringue pie, which features a luscious lemon custard filling and is topped with a fluffy meringue. Though the individual cakes are small, there is a lot of lemon flavor in each bite and a light vanilla-kissed meringue provides a nice contrast to the richer lemon beneath it. The cakes use two whole tablespoons of fresh lemon zest, as well as quite a bit of lemon juice, and the bold citrus smell will fill your kitchen as these cakes bake.
I used a cooked meringue to top these cakes, meaning that the egg whites are cooked with a sugar syrup. This creates a very fluffy meringue that will not weep and will hold its shape very well. Since it is cooked, it does not actually need to be placed bake in to the oven to bake, but I recommend placing it under the broiler for a minute or two to lightly brown it and give the puddings a beautiful finished look. I used a round tip, however you can use any size or shape of pastry tip that you like. The puddings are best served when they are still warm from the oven, but they can also be eaten at room temperature or chilled. This recipe makes just 6 servings, which makes it an excellent choice for a dinner party dessert when you want to serve something that looks like it took a lot more time to make than it really did.
Lemon Meringue Pudding Cakes
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup milk
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or lightly grease 6 8-oz ramekins and arrange in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest, vanilla extract, lemon juice and milk until very smooth.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, then slowly blend in the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and beat until meringue reaches stiff peaks. Fold meringue into the egg yolk mixture until the two are well-combined. Divide evenly into prepared ramekins, filling each about 3/4 full.
Fill baking dish with hot or boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until puddings are lightly browned on top and the tops are set.
Using tongs, remove ramekins from water and transfer to a flat baking sheet. Allow the puddings to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the meringue.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Without stirring, bring to a boil, then boil for 1 minute.
While the sugar boils, beat egg whites until very foamy. After sugar has boiled, slowly stream the sugar mixture into the egg whites with the beater on low speed. When all the sugar has been incorporated, increase speed to high and beat for 3-5 minutes, until mixture is very fluffy and has cooled to room temperature. Beat in vanilla extract
Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe several “kisses” of meringue on top of each pudding, until the puddings are completely covered.
Turn on the broiler. Cook puddings under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until meringues are golden brown. Allow puddings to cool slightly before serving.