It’s a pie! It’s a cake! It’s…It’s…

When it comes to dessert and baking, I generally think of myself as a less-is-more kind of girl.  I don’t believe that an extra layer of frosting, nuts, foam, candies or a trip to the deep fryer automatically makes something better.

But, every once in a while, I like to get a little crazy.  And this is one of those times.  Plus, the recipe includes the element of fire…which really…who can resist?

We’ll start with a loafed version of butter cake.

The batter is thick and rich going into the oven.

Golden brown and dense coming out.

And usually, this is where I stop.  On its own, this loaf cake is pretty wonderful.  It has a nice dense crumb and would be delightful paired with a cup of coffee and some fresh berries.  I like to make loaves like this and freeze them.  I have an as-yet-to-be-realized fantasy that someone will stop by unannounced and that I’ll serve them some nice cake and iced tea.  You know what the reality of this little fantasy is?  A freezer full of cake.

And vodka.

Every time I clean out the freezer (which is quarterly because, well, I’m  me), I am always delightfully surprised with at least two or three full or nearly so bottles of the stuff.   I think what happens is that  be planning a get together, I’ll look in the bar, see no vodka, think we are out of it, then buy more and stuff it in the freezer.  And then, I repeat the whole thing the next time people are coming over.

Perhaps there is a cake and vodka party in our near future.  But, I digress.

So, if you aren’t serving your butter cake with a shot of vodka, you could cut it lengthwise like so.

And fill it with lemon curd, like this.

And whip up some eggs whites and sugar into a stiff meringue as such.

Then, cover the layer cake with a nice thick white blanket of fluffiness.

Hey look–it’s an albino porcipine.

A little toasty toasty under the broiler.  Or better yet, get out the butane torch.

And you’ve got yourself a completely over-the-top lemon meringue cake.

Sometimes more actually is more.


Jimmy Buffet.  I thought this might be a parrothead worthy recipe.

Lemon Meringue Cake

Sunset Magazine, May 2009



  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • About 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon zest

Lemon curd

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks


  • 1 cup egg whites (about 8 eggs)
  • 1 cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and 1/2 cup butter until creamy. Crack eggs into a small dish (do not beat) and add vanilla. Add eggs to the butter mixture 1 at a time, scraping down the inside of the bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir zest into batter.
  2. Butter and flour a 5- by 9-in. loaf pan and pour in batter.
  3. Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then invert cake onto a rack. Remove pan and let cake cool to room temperature, at least 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make lemon curd: In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, melt butter with lemon juice over high heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and yolks. Slowly whisk hot lemon butter into egg mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer lemon curd to a glass or plastic container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  6. Make meringue: Whisk whites and sugar together in a medium metal bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar feels dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  7. Scrape whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on high speed until light and fluffy and the side of the bowl feels cool to the touch, about 2 minutes.
  8. Assemble cake: Preheat broiler, positioning oven rack about 7 in. from the heat source. Using a serrated knife, trim brown exterior from sides and top of cake. Slice cake horizontally into 3 even layers.
  9. Place 1 cake layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with half the lemon curd mixture. Repeat with second layer and remaining curd. Top with last layer. Using a spatula, cover the entire cake with the meringue.
  10. Broil cake just until top is golden brown, being careful not to burn it, about 1 minute. Using 2 large pancake turners (sliding 1 under each side of cake), transfer cake to a serving plate.

3 thoughts on “It’s a pie! It’s a cake! It’s…It’s…”

  1. Wow, a lemon curd baked Alaska! Gorgeous!

    PS I made coconut meringues on Friday and thought of you. They were a hit with whipped cream and roasted pineapple.

  2. Ann-Your meringues sounds fantastic! A little bit of paradise in the middle of winter.

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