Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cake

Every year our church  throws a lawn party and invites the entire neighborhood.  It's a great way to get to know our neighbors and it's one BIG PARTY.  There is a greased pole with money attached,  and other activities like face painting, fish ponds, games, a bounce house, pony rides, music (this year it's a banjo player), popcorn and snow cone machines, a cake walk and dinner of course.  The party goes on until dark.  The cake walk is popular but the kids tend to eat their cake by the fistfuls and many cakes never made it home.  This year they decided to give out sugar cookies for prizes at the cake walk and to draw names for the cakes instead.  What a great idea! 
I was asked to bring a "county fair-like cake that displayed well".  And I thought it might be even better if the cake tasted great and this cake does.  It's similar to a pound cake so don't be alarmed by the weight of it; it's supposed to be heavy.  The buttermilk makes for a tender moist crumb and the coconut cream is subtle.  And I can't even begin to describe how amazingly good the lemon filling is.   It's my favorite part of the cake. 
The tart lemon curd is a nice contrast to the sweet icing.  The shredded coconut adds a nice textural element.  This cake is one of our favorites and was my contribution to the cake table.  I altered the batter recipe from Foster's Market Cookbook.  The rest of the cake is a "play" on a lemon meringue pie.  And as always, you'll want to adjust the cake for your individual altitude (it's easy; I always adjust for my high altitude), as this recipe is written for sea level.
I made 8-inch cakes instead of the 9-inch cakes as per the recipe so I had extra batter and made a small loaf cake as well.   I cut the loaf into two halves and sliced those into 2 layers.  If you freeze the layers for 1 hour before cutting they won't crumble and break; it will make the slicing so much easier.  One recipe of batter made two miniature two-layer cakes and one 8-inch four-layer cake. 
Here...I cut you a piece from one of the small cakes.  Have you got a fork at the ready?  (OK, so WE ate the small one before the dinner, I'll admit it).  SOMEONE (not naming any names) wasn't very happy that the cake was going to a new home.  In fact he asked how he could win it in the raffle and was happy when I pulled a very small cake from the refrigerator for us.

Lemon Meringue Cake

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoons of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cup of granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of buttermilk
¼ cup of  *canned coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez)
1 cup of Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
1 cup of sweetened flaked coconut to garnish the sides of the cake
1 recipe of Seven-Minute Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir by hand to mix well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and coconut cream. Stir just until all the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Do not over mix.

With an electric mixer whip the egg whites in a separate bowl for 2-3 minutes, until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake 40 - 45 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and no crumbs stick to a test wooden skewer or pick after you insert one into the middle of the cakes.. Cool the cakes 10 – 15 minutes and remove from the pans. Cool and slice each layer in two.

Place the first layer onto a serving plate and spread with 1/3 of the lemon curd.   Repeat with the remaining three layers. Spread the Frosting on the top and sides. Carefully press the shredded coconut on the sides of the cake.  I like to torch the top of the meringue as well, but you don't need to.  It's still pretty.

*Canned coconut cream is often found in the market aisle with the drink mixers or possibly in the Latin section of your supermarket.

Bonnie’s Pucker-Up Lemon Curd:
2 cups of granulated sugar
12 large egg yolks
1 cup of lemon juice
2 Tablespoons of lemon zest, yellow part only
4 ounces (1 stick or ½ cup) of butter, cut into pieces
½ tsp. of pure vanilla extract

Wash and zest the lemons. Juice them. In a heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum pan mix the egg yolks with the granulated sugar. Whisk in the lemon juice. Cook the mixture on medium-low heat until it coats the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter cubes. Strain.  Add the lemon zest and mix well. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

This curd can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or frozen for 3 months. The texture will be slightly softer after defrosting.

Seven-Minute Frosting:
2 large egg whites
1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
¼ cup of cold water
1 Tablespoon of Light Corn Syrup (Karo)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites, sugar, water, and corn syrup in a double boiler set over simmering water over low heat. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer 3 - 4 minutes
 on low speed. Increase speed to high and mix 3 - 4 minutes longer, until icing is shiny and forms soft peaks.

Remove from heat, add the vanilla, and beat on high until the mixture becomes thick.

This cake is best served the day it is made as the icing will form a "crust" the next day but the cake is still fabulous.  I've never had anyone turn down a day-old piece.

*Cook's Note:  If you decorate your cake with flowers/herbs, make sure that they they are impeccably clean and have not been treated with any kind of pesticide, even if they are not intended to be eaten.


  1. That is one gorgeous cake! Your church is not only blessed, they're lucky to have you! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I love the idea of extras for family too, so they don't miss out. Good thinking! :)

  2. What a gorgeous cake! Thanks for sharing that recipe. Your church is not only blessed, they're lucky to have you. I love the idea of extras for family too, so no one feels left out. :) lara

  3. What a beautiful cake! I have some serious "lemon lovers" in the family so this would be perfect to make for a family gathering. Thanks! I've pinned it to try soon.

  4. Wow! That is a beautiful cake! Thank you for the recipe!

  5. Oooh YUM Bonnie! That looks like a wonderful cake. Your neighborhood celebration sounds like fun too -- I love that stuff. That's why I love the 4th in Manti so much!

  6. This sounds divine! My husband's favorite pie is lemon meringue and now I know what I'll be serving him on his birthday. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Not only does it look amazing. I'm sure it tastes amazing!

  8. Yum, yum yum and super yum! You make it like I do - stacked high and filled well. This makes me salivate all over the keys!

    So what is the money on the pole thing? Sounds exciting!

  9. Jacqueline, You asked about the greased pole.

    It is about a 25 foot heavy metal pole which the men sink into the ground. It's anchored by 3 large metal cables from the top of the pole also anchored into the ground (think tent ropes). It is greased with shortening and dollar bills are lashed to the pole at intervals, with the biggest bills ($20.00 and $50.00)at the very top. The kids try to climb it and reach the money which they get to keep. It's the most popular event at the lawn party. The climbing is sort of like climbing a very slick palm tree only one that is metal and greased. It's a lot of fun.

  10. Oh. My. Goodness!
    This is the cake I want to eat now and in Heaven. Now you have my mouth watering and I've got no cake!


  11. What an absolutely pretty and ymmy looking cake. I love lemon in every way possible and this is a recipe that I will be keeping.

  12. Oh wow! That looks heavenly -- must try it asap.

  13. This cake is beautiful, Bonnie and sounds delicious! What a great combination of flavors. We had a greased pole one year at a Pioneer day event. My daughter (12 at the time) just shot right up! Her dad, uncle and cousin tried it but couldn't make it past the halfway point:)

  14. That cake looks so beautiful and it sounds like pure yummmmm. The greased pole is a hoot to watch I bet


  15. Bonnie -- this is one delicious cake -- it is a looker and a good taster. I have some lemon curd, but I am a little bit nervous about the seven minute frosting! Sounds like a fun time. Joni