JW Lemon Meringue Cake

Method

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 3.

2. Start by making the cakes. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until much paler in colour and lighter in texture. You could do this with a wooden spoon, but it will be quicker and easier with an electric whisk.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well incorporated, adding the lemon zest with the last egg. If the mixture starts to look a little curdled, add a tablespoon of the flour.

4. Sift the flour on to the eggy mixture, then add the ground almonds and lemon juice, and fold in gently.

5. Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins.

6. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean, or the cakes have stopped ‘singing’. (By this I mean they have stopped making a gentle crackly bubbling sound). If both cakes don’t fit on a single shelf, switch them around halfway through to ensure they bake evenly.

7. While the cakes are baking, make the drizzle. Place the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and set over a high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and allow the syrup to simmer for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and set to one side.

8. Remove the cakes from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes in their tins, then leave on a cooling rack to cool completely.

9. Make the Italian meringue. Place the egg whites
in a heatproof mixing bowl (preferably metal) and whisk using a hand-held electric mixer. Beat the egg whites until they are at soft peaks, when you lift the whisk out of them they just hold a peak, albeit a floppy one.

10. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat and clip the sugar thermometer in place. If your thermometer doesn’t have a clip, simply hold it. Do not stir the mixture at any point, just leave it to boil and bubble away. When the thermometer reads 118°C or ‘softball stage’ – after about 5 minutes – remove the pan from the heat immediately, being careful not to burn yourself.

11. Turn the mixer for the egg whites back on to medium speed and gently pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Continue whisking on medium until the meringue has cooled to room temperature. This will take about 6 or 7 minutes.

12. Place one cake bottom down, on a cake stand. Spoon half the drizzle over and allow to soak in for
a minute. Spread with the lemon curd. Fill the piping bag with meringue and pipe one third of it on top. Take the other cake and place it upside down on top of the meringue, so you have a flat top to the cake. Spoon the remaining drizzle on top. Pipe the rest of the meringue in spikes all over the cake, and finally, for a professional and dramatic finish, burnish with the cook’s blowtorch.

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Ingredients

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 5

  • For the cakes

  • 225g salted butter
 at room temperature

  • 225g caster sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • zest of 2 lemons

  • 225g self-raising flour

  • 75g ground almonds

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • For the lemon drizzle

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 75g caster sugar

  • For the Italian meringue

  • 4 egg whites

  • 225g caster sugar

  • 3tbsp water

  • For the filling

  • 4 tbsp home-made Lemon Curd or best quality shop-bought