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Hmm. I think I see a pattern here.

I must really love lemons.

I was waffling between making a lemon meringue pie or a lemon cake for dessert one day, and thought to myself, “Why not have both? Surely, there must be such a thing as lemon meringue cake.” And it looks like I was right.

Courtesy of Nigella Lawson, I present to you the lemon meringue cake.

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This cake’s got personality. It’s upside-down, it’s right-side-up. It billows like a cloud and oozes with delight. At its surface are turbulent waves; at its center, sunshine.

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You start by making two lemon cake layers, spread thin onto the bottom of each lined cake pan. Then, you top the layer off with a fluffy meringue, one decorated with peaks and one without. Bake. After these meringue cakes are cool and ready, turn the undecorated layer up on its head, onto the cake platter. Slather on some lemon curd (see lemon curd recipe from a previous post), and then some whipped cream. Top with remaining meringue cake. What you have now is pure whimsy and deliciousness, crisp at the edges.

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Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Meringue Cake
adapted from here (measuring units converted)

1/2 cup (1 stick) soft unsalted butter (left to soften at room temperature)
4 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar (original recipe calls for caster sugar, which is a finer sugar)
3/4 cup flour
1-3/4 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup whipping cream (I only had 1/2 cup on hand, so ended up with less whipped cream than desired)
2/3 cup quality lemon curd

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line and butter two 8 to 9 inch cake pans.
2. Whisk egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar, butter, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest. Mix in the lemon juice and milk.
4. Divide the mixture between the prepared pans. You will think you don’t even have enough to cover the bottom of the tins, but don’t panic. Spread calmly with a rubber spatula until smooth.
5. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form and then slowly whisk in remaining 1 cup of sugar. Divide the beaten whites between the two sponge-filled tins, pouring or, more accurately, spreading the meringue straight on top of the cake batter.
6. Smooth one flat with a spatula, and with the back of a spoon, peak the other and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the peaks. Put the pans into the oven for 20–25 minutes.
7. With a cake-tester, pierce the cake that has the flat meringue topping to check it’s cooked all through. (It will have risen now but will fall back flattish later.) No sponge mixture should stick to the tester. Remove both cakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely in their pans.
8. Unmold the flat-topped one on to a cake stand or plate, meringue side down.
9. Beat the whipping cream until thick but not stiff and set aside. Spread lemon curd onto the flat sponge surface of the first (upside-down) cake, and then spread whipped cream over the curd. Top with the remaining cake, with peaked meringue facing up.

Note: This cake is best eaten the same day. The meringue flattens out over time, and tends to get a little soggy.

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