Lemon Meringue3

It is birthday time again and occasion to bake a delicious birthday cake.  The lucky beneficiary?  My beautiful sister.

When it comes to desserts, my sister has a fondness for tart and spicy flavours (rather than the chocolately richness I adore).  In the past, I have baked cakes with flavours such as lime, passionfruit, ginger, and cardamom to satisfy her palate.  This year?  Lemon is to be the star ingredient.

I stumbled across the recipe for Lemon Meringue Cake by Martha Stewart while searching for a creamy lemon curd recipe.  I was interested in how the more traditional lemon meringue tart was deconstructed into cake form. 

The cake is quite simple to make, and only requires a little time planning for the few steps involved.  But it is all worth it.  When you get your torch out to brown the meringue, it is quite impressive.  If you love the taste of lemon meringue tart, you will love this cake. 

{ Lemon Meringue Cake } adapted from Martha Stewart

lemon-meringue-cake-slice* Ingredients *

Makes one 17.5cm or 7-inch layer cake

1 stick (125g) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
½ tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cups Lemon Curd
1 recipe Meringue

* Directions *

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F. Butter two cake pans. Flour pans, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand in pans until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove cakes from pans. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes. Slice each cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place one layer on a serving platter. Spread with lemon curd. Top with second layer of cake. Spread with curd. Repeat with remaining cake and curd, finishing with a layer of cake. Transfer to refrigerator until ready to use, at least 2 hours.
Remove cake from refrigerator. Spread a thin even layer of meringue over sides of cake. Mound the remaining meringue on top of cake. Use a handheld torch to brown meringue.  If you do not have a torch, pop the cake into the oven for 5-7 minutes (watch it carefully!).

{ Lemon Curd }

* Ingredients *

4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

* Directions *

Prepare an ice water bath; set aside. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the lemon juice, butter, and lemon zest. Place over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes. Transfer bowl to ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Transfer to refrigerator until completely cold, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

{ Meringue }

* Ingredients *

1 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
1 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

* Directions *

Combine the sugar, egg whites, and lemon juice in the bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to the mixer stand fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes. Increase to high speed and beat until stiff glossy peaks form, 10 to 15 minutes more.