I’m a terrible baker, I think I’m too slap dash in the kitchen to really ever get it right. But to improve my baking I’ve been trying to do a bake at least once a week.
I was dreaming up lemon meringue cookies, more like smores I baked recently than your traditional lemon meringue cookie, but I feel like it’s a bit too early for me in these early stages of learning to bake to try and invent stuff. So I went on the hunt for some other lemon meringue thingy.
And boy did I find a thingy! Nigella’s lemon meringue cake is easy and delicious, even if you kind of fuck it up like I did.
My best guesses in fucked uppedness are that I added an extra yolk when the cake dough seemed too dry, and then also use the extra egg white for the meringue. And then maybe I also used a little less sugar than I was supposed to, because I ran out of fine sugar and couldn’t be bothered to reach all the way up for the 20 grams I was missing.
It looks pretty and tastes good though, so all was not lost. Recipe below is minus my cock-ups.
- 125 grams very soft unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs (separated)
- 300 grams caster sugar
- 100 grams plain flour
- 25 grams cornflour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 150 millilitres double cream (or whipping cream)
- 150 grams good quality lemon curd
Preheat your oven to a 180 degrees Celsisus and line and grease two springforms.
Now mix together the butter, yolks, flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb, lemon zest and a 100 grams of the sugar until well combined. Once combined add the lemon juice and mix again. You’ll end up with a thick dough.
Divide the dough in two and smooth each half out over the bottom of your springforms. Nigella says you should do this calmly but I felt rage and fear were much more suited for the occasion. The layer will look suspiciously thin but it’s going to be okay.
Once your freakishly thin layer of cake dough has been divided across the two springforms, make the meringue by whisking together the egg whites and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Then slowly start whisking in the remaining 200 grams of sugar. My meringue was very floppy and glossy, but I think you’re looking for something a little lighter and fluffier really. So be sure to go slow with that sugar and get your quantities correct.
Now spread half of the meringue across one of your disturbingly thin uncooked layers of cake dough evenly and one half across the other. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from whichever is the ugliest cake/ meringue half.
Construct your lemon meringue cake
Leave the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before you whip up the cream to soft peak stage. Do not add sugar as there is a ton of sugar inside the cake and meringue already.
Place your ugliest cake meringue side down on a cake stand, serving platter or whatever you’re planning to keep the cake on. Don’t forget to gently peel off the baking paper. Using a regular knife, spread the lemon curd evenly over the exposed bottom of your ugly cake. Be sure to get a little oomph going over the edges before spreading your whipped cream across the top of the curd.
This bits a little fiddly but now take your pretty cake meringue half, keeping it meringue side up, and peel off the paper from the bottom. Use whatever utensils you have handy to scoot your pretty cake gently onto the whipped cream. You should end up with a nice layered cake of meringue, cake, curd, whipped cream, cake and meringue.