Monday, August 2, 2010

RHC: Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue CakeWe'll see if I can manage a coherent writeup of this week's cake--I baked the cake Thursday, composed it on Friday, and flew from Atlanta to San Diego on Saturday. Between the time zone change (3 hours), the temperature shift (20 degrees (F) or more), and a full day of sightseeing, details on the cake may have been lost. Oh, well, the extra days in San Diego before my meeting starts on Tuesday are worth it--such a lovely city, many many things to see, and wonderful weather.

This week's cake is Rose's interpretation of lemon meringue pie, as a cake. I wasn't expecting this one to suit many people in my family--it's not chocolate, has a pile of meringue (traditionally very sweet)--the only positive for most of them is the lemon. On the other hand, lemon is a real favorite, behind chocolate.

Lemon Meringue CakeStill and all, I opted to do a half recipe, so I brought out the 6" cake pans. Again considering family tastes I cut the (half) meringue recipe by a third to get a good layer of meringue but not the tall pillow that the full recipe would have made. My reduced version still had plenty, I thought. One nice touch was the addition of some lemon juice to the meringue, giving some lemon flavor to all the components of the cake. I also went with lemon curd from a jar.

Lemon Meringue CakeI slightly over baked the cakes, as they were pulling away from the sides of the pan at my first check. For this cake, though, that was no big deal as the cakes get a thorough moistening with lemon syrup as the cake is composed. My cakes were a little uneven so the stack looked vaguely topsy-turvy, the lemon curd was a little runny and bulged from between the cake layers, but the meringue covered all the sins.

Lemon Meringue CakeOne the meringue had been swirled over the cake, the directions were to put it in a 500 degree over for a few minutes until the meringue had browned. My oven was full at the time with a chicken pie (requested by the nephew upon his return from summer camp) and the weekly challah. Out came the propane torch, recently purchased for the making of creme brulee, as a substitute. I managed to not scorch the cake (probably left it a little light), and didn't set the cardboard round on fire either.

Lemon Meringue CakeTasting results: better than I expected. I liked it, and the small wedge from a 6" cake was just about the right amount to not cause sugar overload. Sister-in-law liked it, and she's normally very sensitive to the sweetness level of desserts--the lemon balanced the reduced amount of meringue very well, she thought. Older niece enjoyed it, though she was really jonesing for chocolate. Younger niece said the meringue tasted sort of like a lemon marshmallow (which I took as somewhat positive). She ate all of a very small slice, but in the end said she didn't like it. Nephew ate a full piece and echoed his sister that he didn't like it. <g>


  1. wow you have a hardcore propane torch! i'm gonna need an upgrade, it seems...

    i like the look of your meringue swirls all toasted up; great job!

  2. i love that swirls on your meringue too!!

  3. gorgeous swirls .. I meant to have swirls like yours, seriously!

    propane torch .. sigh! I want one.

  4. Beautiful cake with your swirls and lemon garnish.

  5. "and didn't set the cardboard round on fire either." Funny! Propane torches are scary things and yet, I covet one for the same reason as you, creme brulee, especially after reading The Pioneer Woman's recipe the other day. Your cake looks lovely with the swirls.

  6. Wow, very brave of you using propane torch. I would be afraid of setting the house on fire!
    I love the swirls on your cake, and your meringue topping is nice and even (mine was a little tall in the middle).