22 October 2011

Lemon Meringue Cake



This melt-in-the mouth twist on a traditional recipe will have your fans begging for more. When I mentioned the idea to my housemates a couple of them had their doubts, but I've already had a stellar review from one of them. The sponge is a bit crumbly, so you may wish to add an extra egg to the recipe below.

Last week's banoffee cake was very moreish and I really liked it; my housemates didn't eat too much of it, probably because half of them don't like bananas and also because it was kept in the fridge rather than in plain sight, which can means it was probably forgotten. I therefore guiltily confess to eating the majority of it, but it was totally worth it!

L very generously brought a giant cupcake mould for me up from London, so naturally that's what's being made next week. I'm not sure what to do with the filling or decorations, so throw any ideas my way. I also bought a seive this week so there will be no more lumpy icing disasters.

I did intend to take a picture of a slice of the cake, but the filling blends in with the sponge because they're both yellow so it wasn't very picturesque; I just ate the slice instead. Tasty. I think the melt-in-the-mouth of the sponge also contrasts nicely with the crunchy meringue on top, adding all the more to the aesthetic appeal to the cake.

Before I show you how to make your own, I've made a post which gives details on all of the basics of baking that I could think of, so if you're a novice or aren't sure you're doing it right, take a look at that before embarking on this recipe. Let me know if you can think of anything else I should add, or indeed anything else you'd like to know.

I would also like to point out that NO mistakes were made in this recipe!!

Ingredients

For the cake:
200g Self Raising Flour
200g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
200g Butter
Juice and Rind of 1 Lemon
1 Tsp Baking Powder

For the lemon curd filling:
Juice and Rind of 2 Lemons
2 Tbsp Cornflour
275ml Cold Water
40g Caster Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
50g Butter

For the meringue:
2 Egg Whites
110g Caster Sugar

Recipe
  • Preheat oven to 180C; line two sandwich tins.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until they have a creamy consistency.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, to the mixture and stir until they are mixed thoroughly.
  • Add the flour and baking powder little by little until they have been well combined into the mixture.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and rind. If the mixture still isn't of a soft dropping consistency then add some more lemon juice from a shop-bought bottle (the ones that masquerade as lemons are found in the baking aisle and only cost about 30p).
  • Separate the mixture between the sandwich tins and put into the oven for 25 mins/20 mins for a fan oven until the cakes are golden on top and a knife comes out clean when insterted into the middle of each. Turn the oven down to 150C.
  • Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and leave them to cool while you prepare the lemon curd.
  • Take a small bowl and use some of the water to make a paste with the cornflour.
  • Pour the rest of the water into a saucepan with the lemon rind and bring to the boil.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cournflour paste.
  • Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Leave for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, egg yolks, sugar and butter, then remove from the heat.
  • The lemon curd needs to be thick, so if it is still very runny then sift in some more cornflour and keep stirring until it has the right consistency to be used as a filling.
  • Leave the lemon curd to cool for a few minutes. Take a look at your cakes: if they have big peaks on them then take a pallette knife (or a bread knife) and cut them off to make the cakes flat. This ensures that the topping and filling don't slide off.
  • Spread 2/3 of the lemon curd over one of the cakes. Put the cake on a plate (white will make the cake stand out more), then carefully place the second cake on top.
  • Push the cake down a bit to ensure that it won't slide off, then spread the other third of lemon curd over the cake.
  • To make the meringue, put the egg whites in a bowl and use an electric whisk to whip them up until they have soft peaks. Whisk the sugar in, little by little, until it has all been added and the meringue is white and glossy. A test to see if it is done is to turn the bowl upside-down - if the meringue is done it will stick to the bowl and nothing will fall out.
  • Spread the meringue over the top of the cake. I like to use the spatula to make little peaks all over the top to make it look more decorative, but you may do whatever you like.
  • Put the cake back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until the meringue has set. It will still be a little bit gooey inside.
  • Let the cake cool down before serving it, and take care when touching the plate after it's been in the oven!

I hope this cake goes down well; I'm really pleased with it. I'll let you know if it does next week!

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