Lemon Pudding Cake

Light and airy lemon pudding cake, baked till golden on top and a soft lemony pudding forms below. Think this, all at once, in a single bite: soft, warm, crisp, sweet, tart, fluffy and creamy. The first recipe in a collection of my mother’s recipes to celebrate Kitchen Parade's 50th anniversary in 2009.

My mom kept a special collection of recipes she called 'Desserts for When Supper's a Little Skimpy'. This old-fashioned lemon dessert was one of her favorites, and mine, too.

“This pudding looks like a thin cake batter when you put it in the oven. When you cut into it, you discover there’s a sponge-like cake at the top and a lemon custard at the bottom. We like it baked in a wide shallow bowl so there’s lots of browned cake.” ~ Kitchen Parade circa 1960, written by my mom, Shirley Kellogg

As girls go, I was no girlie girl. My pixie cut was cropped so short, no ribbons could stay put. My mother made all my sister’s and my clothes, no pink ruffles for us, instead think plaid jumpers with piping and corduroy pants lined with flannel.

But for my sixth birthday, nothing would do except a princess theme, with me, of course, the reigning princess. A cowlicked neighbor boy, Albert, was my assigned and most-reluctant prince. (Home movies show his arrival, dragged by the hand by his mother.)

(But the food, Alanna, get on with the food.)

Did my mom ice a cake with princess-worthy flowers and furls? Who knows, maybe, though I doubt it, my mom was ill suited to mothering a princess. What is certain is that most birthdays, for the family party, the pixie-cut non-princess asked for – and got – her favorite dessert, this lemon pudding.

Lemon pudding isn’t ‘pudding’ at all except in the English sense meaning dessert. But it is ethereal stuff, with light-as-air sweet sponge cake that miraculously appears atop a tart and sloppy custard on the bottom. It’s perfect for princesses, pixies and parents, all.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
Do you have a favorite recipe from your childhood that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com.
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My favorite dessert as a girl – and a grown-up!
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 6

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter six one-cup ramekins or a low ceramic baking dish that fits inside a larger oven-safe container such as a roasting pan. Bring water to a boil.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice with an electric mixer. Mix in the yolks and flour. Slowly add the milk. With a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites until fully incorporated.

Gently transfer to the ramekins or baking dish, then place in the larger container. Fill the larger container with boiling water, filling it about half way up the sides. Bake for 60 minutes. Serve hot from the oven.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 232Cal; 6g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 117mg Cholesterol; 163mg Sodium; 41g Carb; 1g Fiber; 35g Sugar; 5g Protein; Weight Watchers 4 points
LOW-CAL & LOW-CARB LEMON PUDDING CAKE Good news for dieters and diabetics. Substitute Smart Balance for the butter, Splenda for the sugar and low-fat buttermilk for the milk. The low-calorie substitutes work beautifully although the cake’s texture is some different. Do think about doubling the lemon zest for an extra boost of flavor to compensate for less richness.
NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving (made with Smart Balance, Splenda and buttermilk): 96Cal; 6g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 106mg Cholesterol; 176mg Sodium; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 5g Protein; Weight Watchers 1 point
For a less rustic presentation, bake Lemon Pudding Cake in one-cup ramekins.

Kitchen Parade by Shirley

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
My mom started Kitchen Parade in 1959 and published a weekly column for 12 years. To celebrate the column's 50th anniversary, throughout 2009, I'll publish some of her favorite recipes, including some of her very own columns. In the mean time, these are some of Mom's recipes that have already appeared in my own columns beginning in 2002.
Mom's Blueberry Coffeecake My Mom's Pancakes Butter Tart Bars

More Desserts for Nights When Supper's a Little Skimpy

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Baked Apples Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding

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© Copyright 2009 Kitchen Parade

Yum, looks delicious. I've never made a pudding cake and now I'm tempted.
I have never tried a pudding cake and I am intrigued - YUM!
I have a recipe (somewhere...) for a chocolate pudding cake that is outstanding. I made it at the nursing home all the time. I wonder where that thing is....
Maggie ~ So easy! Be sure to have help around to eat, however, you just might be tempted to eat the whole thing. (Another advantage of the ramekins: portion control.)

Crazy ~ Yum, indeed.

Sally ~ Don't worry, I have at least two in that same 'dessert for when supper's a little skimpy' collection. xxoo
Not fair!!! You had my mouth watering for all this luscious lemon and planned to make it for my sister this weekend. Alas!! Another one of your recipes that wouldn't print ... so I copied and pasted it minus the picture as I've had to do with some others.
My husband's mother made this when he was young and noted on her 3x5 recipe card that it dirtied every bowl in the kitchen but was worth it! We've always made it in custard cups. We've also sometimes done it with oranges, and a little less sugar.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the anniversary of Kitchen Parade. The lemon pudding sounds so delicious and light.
This really does look divine. Would a little less sugar ¾ cup and Land o Lakes light butter work ok rather than the smart balance?

p.s. I’m a big fan of Veggie Venture!
Hi Donna,

Thanks!! I wouldn't use less sugar -- it's not so much there for sweetening as for structure, it's what causes the cake and pudding to separate. I don't have any experience with light butter, either, even Smart Balance is a huge stretch for me (but I'm working on it!).

If you're managing calories, I'd be more inclined to bake in smaller individual portions rather than skimping on ingredients.

Hope this helps -- though not very definitive!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna