It’s Easter! And what perfect timing it is, because I have spent the entire week craving (and eating) chocolate, and now I get a free pass to stuff my face with even more of it. I do have a confession. We might have eaten Easter eggs last weekend because my mum couldn’t control herself and encouraged us all to eat them as well. But shh, keep it secret.
Anyway, given that it’s now time to eat lots of chocolate and given that I also stocked up on loads of mini eggs, I thought it only appropriate to present you with… Lemon meringue cake. Yeah. Didn’t see that twist coming, did you? I don’t know what happened, to be honest. One minute I was looking at Nigella’s Easter Egg Nest Cake and the next minute I was staring at this wonderful creation. It was so pretty, flaunting all its layers at me like a brazen hussy (I don’t even know), and I was totally mesmerised. So. Lemon meringue cake. Its layers consist of meringue, lemon cake, lemon curd and whipped double cream. Do with it what you will. Preferably make and eat it, like. Anything else might be a bit weird.
Just so you know, this is the easiest thing to make, ever. Stick some stuff in the food processor, whisk some egg whites, job done sorted. Oh, and it tastes bloody good too. But I wouldn’t post it if it didn’t, would I?
P.S. Fear not, a cake which utilises those mini eggs is on it’s way!
Lemon meringue cake
Serves 10-12 (Nigella says 8, I say you’ll have tummy ache)
125g/4.4 oz soft butter (I used lightly salted)
4 eggs, separated
300g/10.6 oz/1 + 1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar (plus an extra 1 tsp for sprinkling)
100g/3.5 oz/ 3/4 cup + 1 tsp plain (all-purpose) flour
25g/0.9 oz/3 tbsp+ 1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
0.5 tsp cream of tartar
150ml/5 fl oz/ 2/3 cup double (heavy) cream
150g/ 5.3 oz lemon curd
Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) fan oven/200C (390F) conventional oven. Line and butter two 20cm sandwich tins.
In a food processor, process together 100g/3.5 oz/scant 1/2 cup of the sugar with the egg yolks, butter, flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb and lemon zest until fairly smooth (shouldn’t take more than 20 seconds). Add the milk and lemon juice and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides and process briefly again.
Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and spread to an even layer in each tin. This is going to be quite thin, so don’t panic if you think it doesn’t look very much. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually whisk in the other 200g/7.1 oz/scant cup of sugar (I added it in 4 batches) until glossy. Divide between the two tins, spooning straight onto the cake mixture and spreading evenly. Smooth the top of one and use a spoon to create peaks on the other one (the smooth one will be the base, the peaked will be the top).
Sprinkle 1 tsp of caster sugar over the peaked meringue and then bake both for 20-25 minutes (mine took 24 minutes in a 180C fan oven).
Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool completely in the tins on a wire rack.
Once cooled, remove the flat topped one from the tin and place meringue-side down on your serving plate. Spread with the lemon curd. Whisk the cream until thick (but not too stiff) and spread over the lemon curd. Top with the peaked cake (meringue-side up this time!). Marvel at it for a few seconds, then stuff your face.