My parents were visiting this weekend and I always like to have a baked good of some sort to have with tea/coffee on Sunday morning. Both my parents like lemon, (Dad especially is a lemon fiend!) so something lemon based was decided upon.
I also wanted a chance to use the cooks blowtorch that they had given me for Christmas As luck would have it I have recently bought John Whaite's book and inside was the answer to all my requirements. A lemon meringue cake!
I tweaked the recipe a smidgen as I did not need a 3 layer cake for just the four of us, and I do not think it will keep long due to the nature of the frosting. I made one cake using 2/3s of the listed ingredients and cut it in half once cooked.
Lemon meringue cake
150g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract/paste
2 and 1/2 eggs
zest of one lemon
150g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
Juice of 1/2 lemon
lemon curd, to taste, but I used about 3 tablespoons worth
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
150g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160C140C FAN and grease and line the base of a loose bottom cake tin.
Beat the butter with the sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, continuing to beat the mix, add the lemon zest with the last bit of egg. Sieve the flour over the wet ingredients, add the ground almonds and gently fold in. Finally stir in the lemon juice.
Pour the mix into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until golden.
Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Once the cake is completely cool use a sharp serrated knife to slice the cake into two layers. Spread a generous layer of lemon meringue over one of the layers, don't sandwich the cakes together just yet though.
In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until semi firm peaks form.
Place the caster sugar in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Heat over a medium heat, without stirring until it reaches 118C, or the soft ball stage. I used my new thermospatula from Lakeland.
Once the sugar has reached the correct temperature remove immediately from the heat. With the electric whisk on a medium speed pour the sugar syrup onto the egg whites in a steady stream. Keep beating until the meringue frosting is cool. This will take between 5-7 minutes.
Spread a little of the frosting over the lemon curd and sandwich the second layer of cake on top.
Pile the rest of the frosting onto the cake, making sure to cover the sides. I used a palette knife to create peaks and swirls but you could use a piping bag to pipe the frosting on.
If you do not own a blow torch the cake looks pretty already.
If you do have a cooks blowtorch then the frosting can be lightly toasted for a dramatic affect.
This cake was declared a huge success all round. I kept in in the fridge and it was just as good the next day, the frosting had kept well, probably due to the cream of tartar.