Lemon meringue cake

by mimithorisson

Ah, the Almafi coast! Ravello, Positano and Capri have the most amazing views, turquoise sea and old-school glamour, that is why it has always been our favourite family holiday destination. This lemon meringue cake is a souvenir of what I love most on the Amalfi coast – lemon trees and delizie limone, a local speciality sponge cake filled with lemon cream. Whenever I want to splurge, spoil and be spoilt, this is the cake I have in mind. I love how the voluptuous baked meringue icing wraps the entire cake like a fluffy cloud, as if there was a secret message inside saying that you have achieved sweet nirvana. For this is what this cake is all about – heaven.

Ingredients:(serves 6)

For the sponge cake:
6 eggs (separated)
200 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180°C/350 F. Butter and flour two cake pans (approx 20 cm/8-inch). Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold in very gently to the egg yolk mixture. Finally, sift the flour, add the baking powder and fold in to egg mixture. Spoon batter gently into cake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and test-knife comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then remove from pans and set aside to cool completely. When cool, slice each cakes with a long knife to make 4 layers of cakes. Set aside.

For the lemon custard
2 eggs
150 g sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 1 lemon
40 g unsalted butter

In a large saucepan or double boiler combine sugar, lemon juice and zest over simmering water. In a bowl, beat the eggs and add to the sugar/lemon mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened (about 8 minutes). You can alternate and take on/off heat while whisking away. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside to cool completely and refrigerate for one hour.

For the meringue topping
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 lemon juice
220 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large glass bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, add lemon juice and vanilla extract. Gradually add the sugar until egg whites become glossy with stiff peaks.

Assembling the cake:
200 ml double cream – whipped

Preheat the oven to a 240°C/ 460 F

Whip cream until stiff and incorporate to lemon custard. Place a layer of the cake on parchment paper, generously spread a layer of lemon filling on cake, add the other cake on top. Repeat procedure for each layers. With a spatula, spread meringue mixture covering cake entirely, forming decorative peaks by lifting spatula as if you were forming waves.

Place cake in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until meringue browns slightly on top. Check constantly as the browning can be very fast. Take the cake out and place on a serving dish. Chill before serving.