Lemon Meringue Cake

Imagine a beautiful layer cake with all the flavors of a lemon meringue pie. In this class, we'll learn how to make vanilla cake, layer it with tangy lemon curd and frost it all over with an easy meringue. Find out how to torch the frosting to show off all the dreamy swirls and get that toasted marshmallow effect.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 10 servings
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Ingredients

Cake:

1 1/2 sticks (170 grams/6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces and chilled, plus more for greasing

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 whole egg, at room temperature

1 cup (170 grams/6 ounces) whole milk or full-fat buttermilk

2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups (450 grams/15 ounces) cake flour, sifted

2 cups (480 grams/16 ounces) sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

12 ounces (340 grams) homemade or store-bought lemon curd

Meringue Frosting:

3 large egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Special equipment:
a kitchen torch
  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter three 6-inch round cake pans then line the bottoms with parchment.
  2. In a large jug or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, milk and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. (You can also do this by hand)
  4. Add the cold butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture has a fine, crumbly texture.
  5. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients in 2 batches, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition, and mix on medium speed until light, fluffy, homogenous and well incorporated. Fold once or twice with a rubber spatula to ensure the batter at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, 25 to 35 minutes. Check the cakes at 25 minutes and judge the timing from there to avoid overbaking.
  7. Meanwhile, wash and thoroughly dry the stand mixer bowl.
  8. Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes, then remove them from the pans and peel off the parchment.
  9. Carefully slice each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife to make 2 even layers. Generously spread lemon curd between the layers of the cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around and stack the layers on a cake stand or platter. Set aside.
  10. For the Meringue Frosting: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold the stand mixer bowl above the water. Place the egg whites and sugar in the stand mixer bowl and whisk by hand to combine.
  11. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch about 3 minutes.
  12. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until medium-stiff glossy peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
  13. Immediately spread the meringue frosting all over the cake with an offset spatula and make swirls all around. Toast the meringue frosting, as desired, with a kitchen torch. Serve immediately or store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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