The other day while strolling around Facebook, a post by the Lemon Ladies for a Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake appeared in my Newsfeed. It looked really good, and I had some Meyers in the fridge so I investigated further. To my delight, I had all the ingredients here at home! Score! It was a done deal.
Pudding cakes are like magic to me. How else do you explain how a single batter splits in two, yielding a light as air cake atop a creamy pudding. Well… science. I was curious to learn more, and found this Fine Cooking article which explains things:
If you’ve ever made a soufflé, you might think my pudding cake recipes look familiar. Traditional dessert soufflés are made by combining whipped egg whites with a thick base that’s usually precooked. By contrast, pudding cakes are made by stirring whipped egg whites into an extremely thin uncooked batter. So essentially, a pudding cake is a soufflé with too much liquid. The additional liquid allows the air bubbles from the whipped egg whites to move freely in the thin batter during baking. As these bubbles expand, they float to the top of the baking dish and create a spongy cake layer, while the starch and eggs cook slowly and set the batter. With the air bubbles moved to the top, the bottom layer thickens into rich custard.
And the great thing is, the cake does this all by itself, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Even the whipped egg whites in this recipe are foolproof because they contain sugar, which stabilizes the foam so it’s nearly impossible to overbeat them. And baking the cakes in a water bath ensures that the tops won’t crack and the custard won’t curdle.
It really is a thin batter—this recipe only contains only 1/4 flour along with over a cup of milk and 3 eggs as liquid. It has occurred to me that this could be made gluten free because of the small amount of flour (though I’m not sure what replacement one would use, perhaps just a pre-made GF flour). It takes on a beautiful pastel yellow color and is a little fluffy with all the whipped egg whites in it. It takes beautifully to a soufflé pan, and when it comes out of the oven, it has a wonderful golden color on top.
I will say, this is not one of the most photogenic of desserts but it makes up with seriously delicious taste. I love how the cake develops a little crust on top, and the Meyer lemon pudding on the bottom is not overly sweet. It’s really two desserts in one.
I can see making this cake every year. I do wonder if it would do well with other citrus fruits, like key limes or blood oranges. I guess I’ll have to give it a try sometime! I’m also on the hunt for a chocolate pudding cake, too, which I expect would be awesome, especially with some vanilla ice cream.
Here’s the recipe: Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake on Culinary Colleen.