As far as lemon cakes go, this lemon meringue cake takes the cake! One of my all-time favorite lemon cake recipes and it’s from my cookbook, The European Cake Cookbook! And what’s not to love about this beauty?! It’s made with zesty, lemon cake layers; the best homemade lemon curd made even better with meyer lemons; and a mountain of the fluffiest meringue frosting, torched to perfection. If you love lemons, you have to make this cake!
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Making the Best Lemon Cake!
The reason why I love lemon flavor for cakes is simple – the zestiness helps breakup the sweetness of the cake and frosting. Lemon really helps balance out the flavors, in desserts and savory dishes alike. For this recipe, I just happen to have a box of meyer lemons. They are simply the best! If you are able to find meyer lemons for this cake recipe, make sure to use them! They have a remarkable lemon flavor without being overly sour.
To add the most amount of zestiness to this recipe, I add fresh lemon zest straight into the cake batter. I like to use at least two extra large lemons for the optimum amount of flavor. I used my ‘Basic Vanilla Cake’ for this recipe. Watch me make this cake in a separate video. I also like to add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the meringue once it’s reached stiff peaks – the little bit of lemon juice makes a huge difference!
Making the Meringue Frosting
This lemon cake is coated in a layer of super fluffy and delicious meringue frosting! And no need to worry about raw eggs in this recipe. The egg whites are mixed with super hot sugar syrup which cooks the egg whites instantly!
- Make sure your mixer bowl is SUPER clean when making the meringue. I recommend washing your bowl and whisk attachment with vinegar and a degreasing soap. Even a tiny amount of oil/fat will make the meringue fall flat and you’ll never get those stiff peaks.
Homemade Lemon Curd
The best lemon filling for any cake is homemade lemon curd and and my easy recipe is out of this world! It’s so good and you’ll never want to buy lemon curd again! Make sure to watch my video recipe on ‘How to Make Lemon Curd’ for an in-depth tutorial! And make sure to have some extra on the side when serving the cake!
How to Make a Lemon Meringue Cake
Here are a few tips to follow to make this lemon meringue cake perfect!
- Allow the cake layers to cool completely before slicing them in half and using for this cake.
- Allow the lemon curd to cool completely, too. Make sure to cover the lemon curd with plastic to prevent a film from forming on the outside. The lemon curd can be made the day before, or even a few days beforehand.
- Use a long serrated knife to split the cake layers in half. Spread about 1/4 cup of the meringue onto each layer, then pipe a barrier ring of meringue around the edge of the cake layer. Fill the center with about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of lemon curd. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining meringue, adding a heaping amount of the meringue on the top. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the meringue.
- Allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator before attempting to move it or serve it. The meringue will be very soft at first, but will set more.
Enjoyed this delicious lemon cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- My ‘Lemon Mousse Cake’ is the lightest and fluffiest lemon cake!
- One of my favorite cheesecakes – Triple Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is packed with lemon flavor!
- You’ll love my ‘Raspberry Lemon Cake’ with cream cheese frosting!
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake – the best lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon poppy seed cream cheese frosting!
- Lemon Meringue Pie – the ultimate lemon dessert with flaky crust, zesty lemon curd and a mountain of fluffy meringue!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- These 8-inch aluminum cake pans are my favorite! And I love to use pre-cut parchment paper sheets to save time.
- This is the same kitchen torch I use in my kitchen. Make sure to also get the butane fuel!
- My classic KitchenAid stand mixer is a must for every kitchen.
- And this simple candy thermometer is all you need to make any sugar syrup. Also great for deep frying!
Lemon Meringue Cake Recipe (video)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 egg whites, or 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk, or buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- zest from 2 large lemons
For Lemon Curd:
- 2 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven 350F/177C and line two, 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans with parchment paper. Prepare one recipe of my ‘Basic Vanilla Cake’; recipe linked above in the post. Once you have the batter ready, add the zest of 2 large lemons to the batter and fold in gently. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans. Bake the layers in the preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, prepare the lemon curd. Place the eggs and egg yolks into a small sauce pot; save the egg whites for the meringue. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale. Strain the freshly squeezed lemon juice of all pulp and seeds, then add to the mixture. Heat the lemon curd over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, for 4 to 5 minutes until the curd thickens. The curd needs to thicken until it holds its shape on the back of a spoon.
- Remove the lemon curd from heat once thickened and add the vanilla extract and butter. Whisk until the butter is completely melted. Cover the lemon curd with plastic to prevent a film from forming. Allow the curd to cool completely in the refrigerator.
- Once the cake and lemon curd have cooled, prepare the meringue. Make sure to start with a super clean mixing bowl and whisk; I wash mine with vinegar and degreasing soap first. Place the egg whites into the mixer bowl and whisk til soft peaks form. Prepare the sugar syrup in a small sauce pot: combine the sugar and water and do not stir! Cook the sugar over medium-high heat until it reaches 238F, about 5 minutes.
- As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 238F, turn the mixer to medium speed and pour the syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg whites. Once all the syrup is added, turn the mixer speed to high and whisk on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until stiff peaks form the meringue cools down. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice last, and whisk for about 30 seconds, until incorporated. Transfer a few cups of the meringue into a pastry bag tipped with any large tip.
- To assemble the cake, first use a long serrated knife to split the cake layers in half. Spread about 1/4 cup of the meringue onto each layer, then pipe a barrier ring of meringue around the edge of the cake layer. Fill the center with about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of lemon curd. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining meringue, adding a heaping amount of the meringue on the top. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the meringue.
- Allow the cake to set for a few hours in the fridge before cutting and serving the cake.