My husband LOVES Lemon Meringue Pies, almost as much as he loves chocolate. He cannot go half a day without eating chocolate, so you get the idea how much he likes it. I can't always be bothered making pastry case for a Lemon Meringue Pie/Tarts so decided to make one with a sponge base instead.
I wanted a light sponge as there is plenty of sugar and fat in the lemon curd and meringue so used half the amount of flour and sugar I would normally put in the sponge and left out the butter entirely. The result was a light as air sponge which complimented the lemon curd and meringue perfectly. You could use a jar of good quality lemon curd instead of making your own, it will still taste fab.
The cake went down very well indeed. My 6yo said "It's like eating a cloud with a zingy bit in the middle". There is now none left, my husband devoured a third of the cake before declaring he felt a little full. Oh dear! I gave some to the neighbours to spread some joy and also make sure we didn't eat it all.
Lemon Meringue Cake
225g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice from 3 lemons
4 free range eggs
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs into the butter until well combined. Keep whisking continuously whilst the curd thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat just as it is about to boil vigorously. Pour into a bowl to cool for a couple of minutes then put a piece of clingfilm over the curd, touching the surface so that a skin doesn’t form. When the curd has reached room temperature, transfer it to the fridge. You can store the lemon curd in a the fridge, just keep it covered. I put mine into sterilised jars topped with cellophane and a band. The curd will thicken considerably in the fridge and will keep for 2–3 weeks.
4 free range eggs
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour
4 free range egg whites
250g caster sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
To bake the sponge:
Line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper or a liner. Preheat your oven to 180C/fan 160C. In a stand mixer or bowl using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla together for at least 5 minutes until the mixture very thick and pale. I whisked mine for about 8 minutes to the ‘ribbon stage’. Sift in the flour then gently fold it through, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. The sponge should be risen, golden, and should spring back when pressed lightly in the middle. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the sponge has cooled preheat your oven to 200C/fan 180C. Put the sponge cake onto a baking tray and spread the lemon curd over the top.
To make the meringue:
Make the meringue by whisking the egg whites with half the sugar until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and the cream of tartar whilst whisking. You should end up with a very stiff meringue mixture. Carefully spread the meringue over the cake, make sure you cover the lemon curd completely and that the meringue forms a seal around the edge of the cake. Rough up the meringue with a spoon to make peaks on the top. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the meringue is golden. Keep an eye on it as it can go from golden to burnt very quickly. Cool for 10 minutes then chill in the fridge for half an hour to an hour before you serve it as this makes it much easier to cut neat slices.