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The Lemon Meringue Pound Cake


  • Author: Shani

Description

This lemon meringue pound cake has layers of perfectly-balanced lemon that will satisfy the most discerning lemon pound cake lover.  Whether it’s for a holiday table or a “just because” brunch, this cake is sure to wow a crowd with its looks and flavor.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Batter:

  • 384 g flour, plus 2 tbsp for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 230 g butter, plus 2 tbsp for greasing the pan
  • 500 g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 63 g whole milk
  • 188 g whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ~175 g (~1/2 c) lemon curd (recipe from Bakes by Brown Sugar)

For the Simple Syrup:

  • 85 g water
  • 67 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Meringue Topping:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 300 g granulated sugar

Instructions

Before the Batter:

  1. Prepare the lemon curd (recipe at Bakes by Brown Sugar) at least four hours in advance.  It needs time to set up (coagulate) in your refrigerator so that it won’t be runny in your cake batter.

To Make the Batter with a Stand Mixer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  It’s highly recommended to use an oven thermometer for this recipe, since proper oven temperature will impact the outcome of your cake.
  2. Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Sift the flour mixture into another medium bowl.  Add kosher salt to the flour mix and whisk to combine.
  4. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  (30 seconds)
  5. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (5-10 minutes)
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least 45 seconds after each addition.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (I usually scrape the bowl after the third and sixth egg).  Don’t skimp on this step because proper creaming helps your cake rise!  (7 minutes)
  7. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix until thoroughly combined.  (1 minute)
  8. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (30-45 seconds)
  9. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add all of the whole milk and whole milk ricotta and mix until just combined.  (~1 minute).
  10. Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (~1 minute)
  11. Using a rubber spatula, fully scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Then, stir the batter until it is smooth and consistent.  Make sure to fully scrape the bottom of the bowl during this step!
  12. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with the remaining butter and flour.
  13. Using a large ice cream scoop, cover the bottom of the bundt pan with full scoops of batter.  Once the bottom is completely covered, tap the bundt pan on your countertop to level out the batter.
  14. Make a well, about 1/2” deep, in the leveled batter.  Using a small spoon, fill the well with lemon curd.
  15. Using a toothpick, swirl the lemon curd in the batter, making sure that the lemon curd doesn’t touch the sides of the bundt pan in too many spots.  Wherever the lemon curd touches the bundt pan, it will substantially caramelize (and it might burn).
  16. Repeat the steps (ice cream scoop, tap to level, create well for lemon curd, swirl) with the remaining batter.  I usually end up with three layers in my bundt pan.

To Make the Batter with a Hand Mixer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  It’s highly recommended to use an oven thermometer for this recipe, since proper oven temperature will impact the outcome of your cake.
  2. Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Sift the flour mixture into another medium bowl.  Add kosher salt to the flour mix and whisk to combine.
  4. Place the room temperature butter in a large mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  (~1 minute)
  5. Add half of the sugar and mix until the sugar is just incorporated.  (~30 seconds)
  6. Add the second half of the sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (7-12 minutes)
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least 1 minute after each addition.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (I usually scrape the bowl after the third and sixth egg).  Don’t skimp on this step because proper creaming helps your cake rise!  (7 minutes)
  8. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix until thoroughly combined.  (1 minute)
  9. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (30-45 seconds)
  10. Add all of the whole milk and whole milk ricotta and mix on lowest speed until just combined.  (~1 minute).
  11. Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. (1-2 minutes)
  12. Using a rubber spatula, fully scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Then, mix the batter until it is smooth and consistent.  Make sure to fully scrape the bottom of the bowl!
  13. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with the remaining butter and flour.
  14. Using a large ice cream scoop, cover the bottom of the bundt pan with full scoops of batter.  Once the bottom is completely covered, tap the bundt pan on your countertop to level out the batter.
  15. Make a well, about 1/2” deep, in the leveled batter.  Using a small spoon, fill the well with lemon curd.
  16. Using a toothpick, swirl the lemon curd in the batter, making sure that the lemon curd doesn’t touch the sides of the bundt pan in too many spots.  Wherever the lemon curd touches the bundt pan, it will substantially caramelize (and it might burn).
  17. Repeat the steps (ice cream scoop, tap to level, create well for lemon curd, swirl) with the remaining batter.  I usually end up with three layers in my bundt pan.

To Bake the Cake:

  1. Bake the cake at a true 325°F for 60-70 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 210°F-215°F.  My preferred internal temperature for this cake is 212°F.  Alternately, the cake is done with a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and a fingerprint indentation bounces back.
  2. Allow the cake to rest for ten minutes while you make the simple syrup.

To Make the Lemon Simple Syrup:

  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and add lemon juice. Stir until incorporated.
  3. After allowing the cake to rest for ten minutes, invert it onto a cooling rack and carefully remove the bundt pan.
  4. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the lemon simple syrup over the entire cake.
  5. Allow the cake to cool completely.  (3-5 hours)

To Make the Meringue:

  1. Bring 2” of water to a low boil in a large (3 qt.) sauce pan.  Reduce to a simmer.
  2. Carefully separate five eggs, placing the whites in a clean, nonreactive metal bowl (either a stand mixer or large stainless steel bowl).  Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Place metal bowl over the top of the sauce pan while the water is simmering.  Whisk the egg white mixture over the sauce pan until all of the sugar is completely dissolved.  (~3 minutes)
  4. Remove the metal bowl from the stove.  Using the whisk attachment on either your hand mixer or your stand mixer, whisk the mixture on lowest speed until it is nearly opaque.  (~1-3 minutes)
  5. Increase the mixer to medium speed until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy.  (~4 minutes for stand mixer; ~5-7 minutes for hand mixer)
  6. Increase the mixer to highest speed until the meringue is done.  To check the meringue, remove the whisk attachment from the mixture and invert it.  If the meringue slowly folds down over the whisk attachment, it’s complete. (~2 minutes for stand mixer; ~3 minutes for hand mixer)
  7. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the meringue over the cooled cake.  If desired, use a butane torch to toast the meringue.

To Store:

This cake can remain on a countertop overnight, or then it can be stored in a refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

  • As with all of the pound cakes in this event, this is a big cake.  It is best to place a sheet pan underneath the cake while it bakes, for extra insurance against spills.
  • Take care in adding the lemon curd to the batter.  If lemon curd spills out of the well that you create and touches the sides, it will caramelize and possibly burn.  A small amount of this is okay, but you want to avoid it as much as possible.
  • An oven thermometer is strongly recommended to make sure that your oven reaches the correct temperature.
  • It is also strongly recommended to use a digital food scale to measure ingredients using metric measurement. It will seriously make your baking so much easier!
  • Make sure you take your time to cream the butter and sugar on the front end!  Once you add your flour mixture, you have to mix gently in order to avoid over-mixing.