This Lemon Meringue Cake is a simple layered cake, filled with homemade lemon curd and whipped cream and topped with a cloud-like meringue. It makes a dramatic and gorgeous celebration cake.
Yesterday was Sugar Salt Magic’s 3rd birthday. Yep, SSM is officially a toddler now and this Lemon Meringue Cake is how I decided to celebrate.
This is such a gorgeous celebration cake that combines a few of my favourite things – Meringue and Lemon. I also love pavlova and lemon meringue pie so this cake was an absolute no brainer.
The Lemon Meringue cake broken down into it’s glorious parts is;
- Fluffy vanilla cake
- Filled with my homemade Easy Lemon Curd and whipped cream
- A pavlova top (with a little more curd and cream for good measure)
This is inspired by Chocolate Brownie Meringue Cake however I made it slightly differently. For this cake, the cake is baked separately to the meringue top and then all assembled at the end. The assembly part takes less than 5 minutes so it’s actually a pretty easy cake to make.
The Lemon filling
This is my own lemon curd recipe that is rich, super tangy and sweet just like it should be and it takes less than 15 minutes to make.
That is topped with some simple whipped cream. This cake is best sliced cold from the fridge but, once sliced, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 1/2 an hour for it to relax and soften. Cakes always taste better when they aren’t completely cold.
The layered vanilla cake
This is a very simple cake recipe, nothing too exotic in there but I do like to use good quality vanilla bean paste in my baking. Get the best you can afford as you don’t use a huge amount but it really makes a difference in flavour. Also, make sure to buy ‘extract’ and not ‘essence’. Vanilla extract is au natural vanilla flavour, whereas essence is a man-made product.
Cream together the butter and sugar
Add the eggs two at a time, adding the vanilla with the last 2, and mixing well between each addition.
Add the dry ingredients and stir through until just combined.
Divide evenly between 2 x 8 inch tins and bake for 25-27 minutes
The Meringue top
This is actually my favourite part and I could happily have had just a pavlova topped with cream and lemon. I am seriously addicted to meringue. I use the same recipe for my pavlova as I do my meringues like these Massive Chocolate Swirl Meringues and my Peppermint Meringues. Meringue is incredibly easy to make but you do need follow a few simple rules for that crispy and marshmallow perfection.
- Make sure your bowl is perfectly clean. Even go so far as to run a slice of lemon around the inside, then dry it with a clean kitchen towel before whipping your eggs. This will make sure there is no other residue left inside the bowl. The same goes for the whisk attachment you are using.
- Make sure only egg whites go into the bowl at the start. Even the slightest drip of yolk or anything else in with the egg whites and they won’t whip.
- Whip the egg whites to soft peaks first, then add the cream of tart (sifted) which acts as a stabiliser in the baked product
- Add the sugar just a spoonful at a time and beat for 20 seconds between each. This gives the meringue time to dissolve the sugar without it getting deflated by a whole 3/4 cup of sugar all at once. Then beat it on high until it’s glossy and holds stiff peaks.
- I baked my meringue in an 8 inch cake tin but make sure to grease and line the tin, then grease the baking paper really well too. This will stop it from sticking when you try to remove it. You can also bake the meringue on a flat baking tray, by just shaping it into a circle about 2cm smaller than the cake tins, as it will expand as it bakes.
- Bake low and slow – 130C / 265F / 110C fan forced. This will not only create a nice soft centre and crispy exterior but also will stop it from colouring.
Whipping the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the cream of tartar (sifted)
Slowly add the sugar while beating and then beat for a little longer until glossy and at stiff peak stage. Transfer to a greased and line 8 inch cake tin & bake for 1 hour.
I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all my followers that make this blog so special to me. I started waaaaaaay back on the 29th October, 2015 with these Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. I’ve celebrated my blog birthdays with my Vanilla Lemon Butter Cake with Salted Caramel and this Blackberry Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Curd. What a wonderful ride this is, spending my spare time doing something I love so much and with my unbelievably supportive hubby, I’m a truly lucky girl.
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For the vanilla cake
- 260 g / 2 cups / 9.2oz plain (all-purp) flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 226 g / 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 + 1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 1 tablespoon vanilla - (notes)
For the meringue
- 3 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ cup / 150g / 5.3oz caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream, cold
- 2/3 cup lemon curd
For the vanilla cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line 2 x 8 inch cake tins with baking paper. Now grease the baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, mix, then set aside.
- Beat together the butter and sugar. Add 2 eggs and beat until incorporated. Add the last 2 eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth (it may look split but that’s ok). Finally add the dry ingredients and mix through with a spatula until just combined.
- Bake for 25-27 minutes. Do not open the oven door before 20 minutes or the cakes may sink.
- Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.
- Immediately turn the oven down to 140C / 285F / 120C fan forced.
For the meringue
- Make sure your oven has cooled to 140C / 285F / 120C fan forced. Grease and line an 8 inch cake tin with baking paper, then grease the paper well with mild vegetable oil.
- Sift over the cream of tartar and beat through. Now add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the egg whites are thick and glossy and at stiff peak stage (another 5-7 minutes).
- Once all the sugar is incorporated, test the mixture by rubbing a little between your finger and thumb. It should be smooth. If it is still grainy, keep beating until it is smooth when you test it.
- Tip the meringue into the prepared tin and spread out so that it is basically level, but then you can add some waves here and there if you want some added interest.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour (see notes). Turn off the oven and wedge open the door and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven.
- Spread most of the curd over one of the cakes.
- Whisk the cream until whipped then spread half over the top of the lemon curd.
- Top with the second cake, then spread a thin layer of lemon curd over the top (just enough to stick the meringue to the cake. Sit the meringue on top then carefully spread over the remaining cream.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales like these are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- You can use shop bought lemon curd or homemade. My Easy Lemon Curd recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make.
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