We’ve all been made to taste lemons as kids. Our parents must have had a good laugh at our expense. But while the tartness of the lemons must have scarred us for life, here’s a novel way to turn that sharp flavor into a sweet and soft cake. In this article, we’ll go over how to make lemon dream cake at home.
How to make lemon dream cake at home
There’s a reason why the lemon dream cake is called that. This isn’t just a cake. This is a warm, sweet, divine experience that’ll carry your taste buds to dreamland and back.
Is your mouth watering already? Here’s how to make this heavenly cake in the comfort of your kitchen.
But before you start—know that this recipe takes about 40 minutes to prepare. It yields 12 servings.
Ingredients for lemon dream cake
You’ll need four sets of ingredients to make lemon dream cake: ingredients for the sponge cake, the lemon curd, the meringue, and for the final assembly.
1- Ingredients for the sponge cake
- 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 4 eggs
- 1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 2 1/ 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
2- Ingredients for the lemon curd
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/ 4 cups caster sugar
- 1/ 2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 lemons, zested
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3- Ingredients for the merengue
- 6 egg whites
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/ 2 cups caster sugar
4- Ingredients for the assembly
- 3/ 4 cups plus 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon double cream
- Pure icing sugar, for dusting
For the lemon curd
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a heatproof bowl to combine them.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk everything well.
- Place a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water itself. If you see the water in the saucepan begin to boil, turn it down to a simmer.
- Lightly whisk every 5 minutes or so, to prevent the curd from cooking too quickly around the outsides of the bowl.
- Let the curd gently cook for 30 minutes. Look for the consistency of thick whipped cream.
- Remove the curd from the heat and let it cool until tepid.
- Start adding the butter a little at a time, whisking after each dollop. Do so until the butter is completely incorporated into the curd.
- Your curd is now finished! Cover it in plastic film and place it in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
You can keep this curd in the fridge for up to 6 days.
For the sponge cake
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F).
- Line two 8 ½ inch-diameter springform cake tins with baking paper.
- Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for about 3 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula now and then to make sure the egg and butter incorporate properly.
- Once all the eggs are added, whisk the batter again it’s pale and fluffy.
- Sift the flours and baking powder together twice, then turn the machine off and remove the bowl.
- Fold half the dry ingredients through the butter mixture, then repeat with the other half.
- Add the milk and fold again.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, and repeat a few turns until the batter is done.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins.
- Smooth the surface with a spoon or a palette knife.
For the meringue
- Make sure your mixing bowl is completely clean; you don’t want to contaminate your egg whites.
- Add the egg whites and salt to the bowl and whisk on medium speed until soft ribbons form.
- Start adding the sugar gradually, and continue adding a little at a time over 2 minutes.
- Keep whisking until the meringue is thick and glossy.
- Divide the meringue between the two tins, dotting it evenly over the cake batter.
- Smooth the surface of the meringue. One layer will be the decorative top of the cake, so make it a bit swirlier.
- Place the tins in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, turning them halfway through if you know your oven doesn’t cook evenly.
Because of the meringue layer on top, you can’t really tell if the sponge is cooked properly. You’ll have to trust the timing. Set the tins aside to cool completely.
For the assembly
- Whip the cream into soft peaks and set aside.
- Spread the cake you’ve chosen to be the bottom layer with the lemon curd and then top evenly with the whipped cream.
- Place the top cake layer on the cream and dust the meringue with a little icing sugar.
And you’re done!
Your lemon dream cake is ready to send your taste buds into blissful dreamland. Just remember that this yellow dessert is best eaten the day it’s baked, but you can store leftovers in the fridge.
As you proudly knife your teeth into the softness of your lemon dream cake, you’ll probably be surprised. This cake looks so sweet it’ll take a year off your dental health—but this just isn’t the case. It’s sweet, yes, but the tartness of the lemons balances this off.
Did you see your friends or family ascend to a dream state when you served them lemon dream cake? Let us know in the comments down below!