I’ve been on a meringue kick recently and I especially love the old fashioned look of a meringue topped cake.
There’s just something beguiling about a meringue’s fluffy, cloudlike appearance. Wouldn't you agree?
Lemon Buttermilk Cake #2
adapted from Maida Heatter's Cakes
Maida’s recipe specified using a 9 x 3.5” tube pan but I don’t own one. I halved the ingredient quantities and used a 9’’ springform pan. She called for a lemon glaze but I skipped it since I was going with a meringue. More notes regarding baking with organic sugars: I made this cake with both organic cane sugar and regular cane sugar and didn’t notice any appreciable differences in baking time or cake crumb. However, when I made the meringue with organic cane sugar, it was a deflated, gritty mess. It seems that you just can’t achieve the light, airy, homogenous consistency that you want in a meringue with less refined organic cane sugar (or at least not with the organic cane sugar I find in stores here in Austin).
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 sticks (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on cake pan
2 medium sized eggs (or 1 ½ large eggs)
1/2 cup buttermilk
finely grated zest of 2 large lemons
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° Fahrenheit with a rack in the lower one-third of the oven. Butter a 9” springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and pan sides and sprinkle with sugar. Tap to shake out excess sugar. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
2. Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add the sifted ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, and beat until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula between additions.
3. Remove bowl from the mixer and stir in lemon zest and juice. Pour into the springform pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake until a tooth pick or tester gently inserted into the middle comes out clean and dry, 50-60 minutes.
4. While the cake is baking, make the meringue. Place the egg whites in the cleaned bowl of your electric mixer. Begin to beat the egg whites while slowly pouring the sugar in. It should take at least one minute to add the sugar to the egg whites. Beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy and forms arching peaks.
5. When the cake is done, remove from the oven and use a spatula to spread the meringue over the top of the cake. Use a teaspoon to create swirls in the meringue, if desired. Return the cake to the oven to bake the meringue for 10 minutes, keeping an eye out as it bakes. The meringue should toast to a light brown color but watch closely to ensure it doesn’t burn. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack for an hour before serving.