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.
“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.
LEMON PUDDING CAKE
Time to table: 90 minutes
- Boiling water
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 3 egg yolks, whisked
- 4 tablespoons flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
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.
Kitchen Parade by Shirley
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