Am I the last dessert-obssessed person to find out about pudding cakes? Better late than never, I suppose. If, like me, you have been living in a cave or under a rock somewhere and have never had these before, trust me. You’ll be a fan. These little beauties are both cake and pudding in one! Brilliant, right? You can see the two distinct layers – a soufflé-like cake on the bottom and a soft, custard-like pudding on top.
To make these cakes even better, I went out to the backyard, in the middle of a torrential downpour, to pick a couple of meyer lemons from my tree. (I’ll pause here for dramatic effect.) Yes, it does rain in Southern California, and on the rare occasion it happens, you all know that we don’t dare go out when it’s raining, right? Anyway….
These pudding cakes have the perfect combination of flavors, not too sweet and not too tart. They are light and not rich at all. They only look sinful, but they’re actually fairly low in calories. They are quite elegant, yet easy-to-make; albeit, you have to wash up a few bowls in the process and bake them in a water bath. However, I guarantee that these will make you smile and brighten up an otherwise dreadfully cold and rainy day. I promise!
The original recipe called for a berry compote topping, but I decided against it since they were so delicious on their own. I didn’t want the topping to overpower the cakes’ light and lemony quality. Perhaps you can top them with a little dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or even some mascarpone cheese, but, honestly, I don’t think any topping is needed. Sometimes, less is definitely more!
Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes
Yields 8 individual cakes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Sugar, as needed to coat the ramekins
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 2 meyer lemons*, grated or finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup meyer lemon juice*
4 large eggs, separated
*Regular lemons may be used, but you might need to add more sugar.
Heat the oven to 325° degrees.
Prepare eight 6-ounce ramekins by first coating them well with the softened butter and then sugar. Place the prepared ramekins in a roasting pan lined on the bottom with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
To prepare the cake batter, combine the 3/4 cup sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, rubbing them together with your fingers to release the zest’s fragrant oils. Add flour and salt and mix well. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon juice and egg yolks. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites in a third bowl until soft peaks form. I have a bad shoulder so I used my stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You may also beat them by hand or with a hand-held mixer. Make sure that the bowl and whisk or beaters are completely dry and clean, with no traces of egg yolk, water, or fat, which will prevent the egg whites from obtaining maximum volume. If using a mixer, beat the egg whites slowly until they are foamy, then increase the speed. Do not over beat the egg whites or they will be become grainy and dull.
Add the sugar/flour mixture to the buttermilk/lemon mixture. Whisk until well incorporated. Fold in the egg whites gently with a rubber spatula, one-third at a time. Ladle the batter into the prepared ramekins. Fill the roasting pan with hot water to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the foil. Rotate the pan (front to back) and continue to bake until the tops are golden and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes. Be sure to tent the foil high enough over the pan so the pudding do not stick to it when you remove it. While still edible and delicious, it wasn’t pretty and quite a bit of the batter stuck to the foil. Oooops!
They can be served at room temperature or warm, reheated in a warm-water bath. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges of the ramekins before inverting onto plates.
Adapted from pastry chef Karen Demasco’s recipe found in the NY Magazine.
© Daisy’s World. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.