Lemon Pudding Cake

The Recipe: Light and airy lemon pudding cake, that old-fashioned lemon dessert that's baked until the cake on top turns golden and a soft lemony pudding forms below. Think this, all at once, in a single bite: soft, warm, crisp, sweet, tart, fluffy and creamy. And now? Popping with plump, juicy raspberries too!

~recipe updated 2018 for a little weekend and Valentine's Day inspiration~
~more recently updated recipes~

Lemon Pudding Cake, another time-tested recipe ♥ KitchenParade.com, that old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemony cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom. Now with raspberries!

Perfect for Princesses, Pixies and Parents

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.

Now please know, Lemon Pudding Cake 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.

Either Plain ...

Lemon Pudding Cake, another time-tested recipe ♥ KitchenParade.com, that old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemony cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom.

Mom always made what I now think of as "plain" Lemon Pudding Cake. No wonder it was my favorite dessert as a girl – and a grown-up! – just look at that lemon cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom!

Here's what Mom wrote about Lemon Pudding Cake, way back in 1960.

“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

(And lest anyone think that pudding cake is always lemon: wrong! There's the chocolate pudding cake that so many love but at Christmas there's no matching my oh-so-heart-stopping Gingerbread Pudding Cake and in spring, Rhubarb Pudding Cake. Heaven!)

... Or With Berries

Lemon Pudding Cake, another time-tested recipe ♥ KitchenParade.com, that old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemony cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom. Now with raspberries!

But with raspberries? Or blueberries? Oh-My-Lanta. There's just something about the tart-on-tart of raspberry-on-lemon that's supremely satisfying. A side benefit? Lemon Pudding Cake is much prettier to serve when the batter is studded with raspberries.

Oh: and please note how the baking dish is inserted into a larger pan that will be half-way filled with boiling water. That's a really critical step: without the boiling water, Lemon Pudding Cake doesn't turn into, well, either Pudding or Cake.

In a Simple Baking Dish or in Ramekins

Lemon Pudding Cake, another time-tested recipe ♥ KitchenParade.com, that old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemony cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom. Now with raspberries and served in ramekins!

I nearly always make Lemon Pudding Cake in an easy-to-serve baking dish. But ramekins really work too, they're pretty. An added benefit: portion control!

Lemon Pudding Cake Is For Lemon Lovers

Lemons for Lemon Pudding Cake ♥ KitchenParade.com

Once upon a time, I wrote about a blogging (and real-life) friend dealing with severe food allergies. I could imagine giving up wheat. And almonds. And green beans. But lemons? Beyond comprehension.

Lemon Pudding Cake belongs in that pantheon of classic lemon recipes, the ones life would simply be less without. My family's specialty, Brown Sugar Lemon Curd. Sunny slivers of Lemon Meringue Pie. A hot day's refreshing glass of Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade.

What is it, exactly, about lemon? Fellow lemon lovers, you'll want to explore all my lemon recipes, sweet and savory both.

You'll Like My Lemon Pudding Cake If ...

Lemon Pudding Cake, another time-tested recipe ♥ KitchenParade.com, that old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemony cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom. Now with raspberries!

... lemon is your "jam"
... you love the yin-yang of tart-sweet and cake-pudding
... your body calls for a mid-winter brightener when fresh fruit is scarce
... you have a friend who doesn't like chocolate (it happens!)


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 6

  • Boiling water

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Zest and juice (about 2 tablespoons) of a lemon
  • 3 large egg yolks, whisked
  • 4 tablespoons flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 30g
  • 1-1/2 cups (360g) whole milk

  • 6 ounces (170g) fresh raspberries, optional

PREP Heat oven to 350F/180C. Lightly butter a low ceramic baking dish that fits inside a larger oven-safe container such as a roasting pan. Bring water to a boil.

BEAT EGG WHITES In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

MIX BATTER, FOLD IN EGG WHITES In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice, either continuing with the electric mixer or switching to a hand whisk. Mix in the yolks and flour. Slowly add the milk, gently incorporating each addition before adding another. With a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites until fully incorporated.

PLACE BAKING DISH IN LARGER DISH Gently transfer the batter to the baking dish, then place it in the larger container.

ADD RASPBERRIES Optional: Drop raspberries into the batter, submerging partway.

ADD BOILING WATER Fill the larger container with boiling water, filling it about half way up the sides of the baking dish.

BAKE Bake for about 30 minutes (see TIPS) until cake on top turns golden. Serve either warm from the oven or chilled.

FOR INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS & MORE SOPHISTICATED PRESENTATION Divide batter among six one-cup ramekins and place the ramekins in a larger container for baking. The baking time is the same, 30 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 232 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 117mg Cholesterol; 163mg Sodium; 41g Carb; 1g Fiber; 35g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 12

ALANNA's TIPS Time was, many households kept an electric kettle to boil water for tea. I still have a small electric kettle but now mostly use a hot water spigot. The water is not "boiling" but is hot enough for Lemon Pudding Cake. (More detail about that much-appreciated spigot here in Ten Things I Love About Our New Kitchen.) Cream of tartar is definitely optional (my mom didn't use it) but I like the loft it brings to whipped egg whites. I've used oil instead of butter with no problem. Frozen raspberries taste just as good as fresh but don't look quite so pretty. Still if it's the choice between frozen raspberries and no Lemon Pudding Cake, definitely go for the frozen berries. Fresh blueberries are wonderful too! Or some of each? Naturally! Blackberries? Sorry, too heavy, they sink to the bottom. About timing, my mom's recipe called for baking Lemon Pudding Cake for 60 minutes (and that's how this recipe was first published in 2009) but in the last while I've been consistently baking it for only 30 minutes. Watch the clock to know what works in your own situation!

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 INFORMATION Per Serving (made with Smart Balance, Splenda and buttermilk): 96 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 106mg Cholesterol; 176mg Sodium; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 5g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3& SmartPoints 3

Kitchen Parade by Shirley

My mom started Kitchen Parade in 1959 and published a weekly recipe column for 12 years. During 2009, I celebrated Kitchen Parade's 50th anniversary by sharing some of my mother's favorite recipes, including some of her very own columns, they're all here in Kitchen Parade by Shirley. This Lemon Pudding Cake kicked it all off but here are some of Mom's particular favorites!

Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner ♥ KitchenParade.com Baked Chicken with Herb-Roasted Potatoes Homemade Yeast Rolls: Ice Cream Pail Buns
Mom's Blueberry Coffeecake Butter Tart Bars Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Frosting

More Desserts When Supper's a Little Skimpy

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)

She was smart, my mom, and kept a special collection of recipes she called "Desserts for When Supper's a Little Skimpy". Do you? I've started my own collection too! A quick check reveals that in my own recipe box, all but one recipe has the word "pudding" in the title! What exactly does "that" say?!

Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Baked Apples

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. 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. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

© Copyright 2009 & 2018 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!
If using ramekins, I am assuming you also put boiling water in the larger pan.
Sunny ~ Yes!

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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