With fluffy lemon cake on top and rich lemon pudding on the bottom, these unique lemon pudding cakes are a texture dream. For best success, read through the recipe and recipe notes before beginning.
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice, at room temperature (about 3 large lemons)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (41g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, divided
- optional: 1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting and/or fresh berries and lemon slices
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease 6-7 six ounce ramekins with butter or nonstick spray. Place into a large baking pan or casserole dish. The cakes will bake in a water bath inside the casserole dish.
- Whisk egg yolks, milk, melted butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Whisk in the flour, salt, and 3/4 cup (150g) of sugar until combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high high speed into soft foamy peaks, about 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup (50g) of sugar on top, then beat into stiff glossy peaks, about 1-2 minutes. (Stiff peaks hold their shape when you lift the beaters/whisk.)
- Spoon about 1/3 of the egg whites into the lemon batter. Working slowly and carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites, gently fold together until combined. Gently fold in another 1/3 of the egg whites until combined, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Batter will be thick and airy.
- Divide between greased ramekins, filling nearly to the top. In all my recipe testing, I got either 6 or 7 cakes from this amount of batter. (Depended on how much the egg whites deflated.)
- Add water for water bath: Without splashing into the ramekins, slowly pour hot water into the casserole dish around the ramekins, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. If it’s easier, you can transfer the casserole dish to the oven first, then carefully pour in the hot water.
- Carefully place the casserole dish/baking pan in the oven. Bake until the lemon cakes are puffy and lightly browned on top, about 35-40 minutes. Overbaking will cook the pudding on the bottom of the cakes, so I usually remove them at 35 minutes.
- Using tongs or an oven mitt, remove the cakes from the casserole dish and place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or kitchen towel to catch any dripping water. Cool cakes for 15-20 minutes before serving. You can serve warm or wait until they cool to room temperature.
- Garnish with confectioners’ sugar and/or fresh berries or lemon slices, if desired.
- Cover leftover cakes tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Warm in the microwave, if desired, before enjoying.
- Make Ahead Instructions: I don’t recommend freezing these lemon cakes because they will deflate and won’t reheat properly. For making ahead, you can prepare the cakes 1 day in advance. Bake and cool as directed. Once room temperature, cover cakes tightly and refrigerate until the next day. Warm cakes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish (no water bath necessary) in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 10-15 minutes. I don’t recommend preparing the batter ahead of time– it will deflate.
- Ramekins: I strongly recommend using 6 ounce ramekins. I used these (affiliate link) oven-safe pyrex bowls. If using larger ramekins, the bake time will be longer. If using smaller ramekins, the bake time will be shorter. I’m unsure how this recipe will turn out as one large cake, but the batter should fit into a 9-inch square baking pan. I’m unsure of the best bake time.
- Eggs: Eggs separate easiest when they’re cold. Egg whites will whip into fluffier peaks if they’re room temperature, so I suggest separating the cold eggs, then letting the separated yolks and whites sit for about 20 minutes before starting the recipe.
- Milk: Whole milk is best, but you can use a lower fat or nondairy milk if you’re in a pinch. The cakes won’t taste as rich. I don’t recommend half-and-half or heavy cream.
- Room Temperature: Make sure the cold ingredients (milk, lemon juice, egg yolks) are room temperature. If they’re cold, they will solidify the butter and/or possibly deflate the egg whites.
- Adapted from Fine Cooking. Reduced butter, milk, lemon zest & salt. Used more lemon juice and flour. Added vanilla. Method made a bit easier in just 2 bowls.
Keywords: lemon cakes, lemon cake, pudding cake, pudding