This week, it had been unseasonably hot – the sun growing stronger by the day shining its bright and warm rays. It was the kind of hot temperature that demanded fresh foods, light dinners and cool, icy treats.
I was so excited that the first signs of the summer season had finally begun to show as it marked the beginning of the upcoming December holiday period – a time for gift-giving, gatherings with friends and family and ample time for relaxation.
However, as quickly as this hot summer weather arrived, it had disappeared just as fast – replaced with heavy rain and humid thunderstorms. I have no patience for a seasonal tease, I like my seasons all out on the table – not confused and muddled together.
Inspired, I embraced the past heatwave by eating quintessential summer foods and creating summer inspired desserts. Recently, I’ve been playing around with elaborate, multi-step desserts, in particular decadent cakes. I love a good layered cake. Nothing compares to the instant gratification one feels when a slice is cut for the first time and the layers are stacked and perfectly intact.
This Three Layered Lemon Meringue Cake brings a little reminder of the upcoming summer into my life. It brings memories of sunshine filled times spent lazing languidly and humid nights doing absolutely nothing. This cake is fresh and bright, with a pure lemon flavour that can be appreciated even by those who do not have a palette for tart tastes.
Lemon Meringue Cake is comprised of a basic vanilla cake batter that is infused with freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest. It has three lusciously light and moist cake layers that have just a little hint of tartness.
Between each aerated layer is an oozy, smooth as silk and out of control lemon curd that just wants to sneak out of its confines. The cake is then smothered in a sweetly sugared Italian meringue, torched and topped with dried pineapple flowers – which brings the appearance from ordinary, to extraordinary.
Triple Layer Lemon Meringue cake is a true celebration of lemon… and summer. This cake has become etched in my heart, and I am certain I could not forget its taste even if I lived for a thousand years. The bright citrus taste turns this simple cake into one that will remain in your heart forever. It is best enjoyed in the warm afternoon, when the sun is bright and thoughts of summer are on your mind.
- 1 ½ cups butter, at room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp lemon zest
- 6 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour
- 3 ½ tsps baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 4 egg whites
- 370 g caster sugar
- 100 g water
- 1 x quantity lemon curd
- Dried pineapple flowers (optional)
- Preheat an oven to 170 C (350 F). Grease and line 3 x 20 cm cake tins.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs on at a time, beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and add to the dry ingredients.
- Beat the wet and dry ingredients together until just beginning to combine. Add the milk and mix well.
- Divide the batter between the three tins and bake each for 25-30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and set to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, level any domed tops.
- Over medium heat, combine the 300 g of the caster sugar and water in a saucepan. Watch careful and bring it to 115 C (240 F).
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites on a slow speed until foamy with a pinch of salt. Add 70 g of the remaining caster sugar, gradually increasing the speed until it reached soft peaks.
- Once the syrup is at a boiling temperature, pour the syrup down the side of the bowl to mix in with the egg whites. Increase the speed and whisk until the bowl no longer feels hot to the touch and the egg whites have become thick, sticky and hold their shape.
- Set aside for assembly.
- Place a levelled cake layer base side down on a cake platter. Spread a thick layer of the chilled lemon curd over the top. Sandwich with a second cake layer with the cut levelled side pressing onto the curd. Spread another thick layer of lemon curd over the base of the second layer and then sandwich with the last cake layer, base side facing upwards.
- Spread the Italian meringue with a spatula across the cake top and sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then add another layer of Italian meringue over the first.
- Gently torch the tops and sides with a blow torch.
- (At this point I piped a ring of Italian meringue over the top of the cake and rested my dried pineapple flowers ontop).
- Chill for 15 minutes before serving.