The first pie I learned how to make was lemon meringue, straight from the recipe on the box of the Jell-O pudding. It was my favorite for years and I loved having it for my birthday instead of cake. Making the meringue was like watching a magic trick as the egg whites turned into the silky puffs of pure white fluff. I recently saw a recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine that featured a lemon meringue cake. I was instantly intrigued to try it. The recipe offered a simple sheet cake topped with meringue. So very lovely and lemony. That recipe was the inspiration for the cake you see pictured above.
The recipe shared below builds from a 9x13-inch sheet cake, cutting it into thirds, to stack into layers glazed with raspberry preserves. The entire stack of layers is enrobed with thick meringue, lightly browning the peaks. The resulting cake is gorgeous. But again, it is a magic trick that even a beginner baker can do.
Lemon Meringue Cake with Raspberry Glaze
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), melted
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain yogurt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup raspberry preserves for glazing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13-inch baking pan by spraying it with baking oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 3-inch overhang on the long sides. Pinch or crease the parchment paper to keep it from falling back into the pan. Spray the parchment paper with baking oil. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the eggs and sugar, whisking for 4-5 minutes until thick and pale yellow. Turn off the mixer, add in the flour mixture. Resume mixing, slowly at first, until just combined. Add in the cooled melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla, mixing to combine. Add in the plain yogurt, mixing until just combined.
Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be slightly domed and golden. Remove the cake from the oven to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the cake from the pan to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the Meringue Frosting:
Working with a clean mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment, add the egg whites and cream of tarter. Whisk on high for 2-3 minutes to form soft peaks. Slowly add in the sugar beating for 4-5 minutes to form stiff peaks. Set aside to assemble the cake.
How to Assemble the Cake:
Once the cake is completely cooled, place the cake onto a cutting board. Using a large serrated knife, trim off the cake edges by cutting away 1/2-inch around the entire sheet cake. Next, make 2 cuts across the cake to make 3 4x8-inch pieces. I use a ruler placed along side of the 12-inch length and cut at the 4-inch mark and the 8-inch mark.
Place one of the cake pieces onto a sheet tray. Spread 1/2 of the preserves over the top, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the outer edge. Place the 2nd cake piece on top of this first piece. Top it too with jam. Place the last cake piece on top, creating 3 layers of cake.
Using a large spoon, place large spoonsful of the meringue over the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, carefully connect the spoonsful to cover the cake, including draping the meringue down the sides of the cake. Once the cake is completely covered with meringue, using your fingers or a soup spoon, make peaks and swirls with the meringue in a decorative fashion. Using your fingers is great fun and a bit messy. But it makes awesome peaks.
Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the meringue peaks toasting decoratively. Alternatively, set the oven broiler on to High. Place the sheet pan into the oven on the bottom rack. Broil for about 30 seconds to lightly brown the meringue. Be careful with this method as the meringue will brown very quickly.
The frosted cake is best enjoyed the day it is assembled.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine
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