Lemon Pudding Cake

Lemon Pudding Cake

Makes 6 individual cakes or 1 2-quart cake

These little cakes are one of my favorite desserts for company.  They're so surprising- the light, almost souffle like cake rests atop a silky smooth sauce at the bottom like a layer of pudding or curd.  They are bright and tart, a perfect use for the winter citrus and just the right sort of pick me up on grey days.  The cakes can be made in ramekins for individual servings or in a single baking dish to serve family style.  One tip: don't skip the step where you rub the lemon zest into the sugar.  It really is the key to getting as much lemon flavor as possible into the cake.

 

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbs lemon zest 

3 eggs, separated

2 tbs butter, room temperature 

1 cup milk

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup all purpose flour


Also needed: several cups of hot water and a roasting pan.  


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 6 6-ounce ramekins or a 2 quart baking dish.


Mix together the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl.  With the tips of your fingers gently rub the zest into the sugar to release all of the oils in the zest.  Set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer (this can also be done by hand) whisk together the egg yolks and butter until the butter is well blended.  Add the sugar mixture to the bowl and continue whisking until the mixture lightens in color and  becomes thick.  Mix in the milk and lemon juice just until incorporated and then stir in the flour.


In a clean, separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter being careful not to deflate the air in the egg whites.  Pour the batter into the ramekins or baking dish.


Set the ramekins or baking dish into the roasting pan and pour the hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of your baking dish/ramekins.  Carefully so as not to get water in the batter, place the roasting pan in the oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  The tops will be golden and puffed and feel just firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack.  Serve warm.
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