On a warm spring day, there's something special about enjoying a tangy lemon dessert after dinner. These lemon pudding cakes are just the thing to finish off a great meal, or celebrate the arrival of the weekend! They're simple to make, and so tasty.
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How do you separate eggs?
The most foolproof method is to crack the eggshell on the rim of a bowl or on a clean countertop, then drop the yolk onto your hand. Gently slip the yolk from one hand to the other, and the white will fall into a bowl below. Alternatively, you can crack the eggshell and pass the egg yolk from one half of the shell to the other.
How do you fold cake batter?
Folding seems intimidating sometimes, but it's actually quite simple. Run a flexible rubber spatula around the edge of the bowl, then cut through the middle of the batter with the edge of the spatula. Repeat this process many times until the batter is evenly mixed. Fold gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
What is a bain-marie?
A bain marie is a hot water bath for custards, cheesecakes, and other delicate baked goods. The baking dish is placed inside a larger dish filled with simmering water. The water is a lot cooler than the hot air in the oven, and helps the custard or cheesecake bake more evenly. Read more about baking with a bain marie with this article by Emma Christensen from the Kitchn.
How does the pudding form?
These lemon cakes are baked in a bain marie. The hot water in the bain marie is a lot cooler than the air in the oven, which keeps the bottom half of the cakes cooler. The heat from the oven simply thickens the batter into a pudding instead of baking it into a cake. Also, according to Food & Wine, the wet batter causes a "texture separation," creating the pudding layer at the bottom.
How to Make
You'll need two bowls: one with egg whites beaten to soft peaks, and the other with a mixture of egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, melted butter, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and flour. Lots of ingredients = lots of yumminess going on here!
Whisk about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the egg mixture, then gently fold in the rest. Your batter is ready to go!
Gently pour the batter into a few buttered ramekins and bake the ramekins in a pan of simmering water for about 45 minutes. Let 'em cool for about 20 minutes, dust with icing sugar, then voilà--lemon pudding cake perfection!
- Use room-temperature eggs. This will give you the most volume when beating the egg whites, resulting in a lighter, fluffier cake.
- Fold the batter gently and thoroughly. Being gentle will keep the air in the batter, which is the only way these pudding cakes will rise. Also, make sure the batter is evenly mixed so no clumps of egg whites remain.
- Bake the ramekins in a bain marie. Read on to find out what a bain marie is and why it's important for these cakes.
- You can make these cakes the day before. Let them cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat them in a 350 F oven for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Hand Mixer: this is an affordable alternative to a stand mixer.
- Whisks: want to mix by hand? These sturdy whisks are your best bet.
- Silicone Spatulas: these are my all-time favorite tools for folding and scraping.
- Ramekins: this white ramekins are perfect for these individual cakes.
Other Lemon Desserts You'll Love
The pleasure of a 5-star review would be greatly appreciated.
You don’t need a box or cake mix to make homemade lemon pudding cakes from scratch! These individual cakes baked in ramekins are perfect for Easter dinner or anytime you want a simple, yet elegant lemony treat.
For the Lemon Cakes
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk (237 ml)
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (79 ml)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (30g)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar (198g)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (40g)
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter three 8-ounce ramekins or four 6-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins inside of a large cake pan and bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a large mixing bowl and the whites in a medium mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the yolks, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and vanilla extract. Gradually stir in the melted butter, then mix in the sugar and flour.
- Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks have formed. The tips of the peaks should curl when the beaters are lifted from the egg whites.
- Whisk about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the other egg mixture, then gently fold in the rest with a spatula. Fold by scraping round the edges of the bowl, then cutting through the center. Keep folding until there are no clumps of egg white, and the batter looks foamy.
- Gently divide the batter between the ramekins. Pour simmering water from the kettle into the cake pan until the water level reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to splatter water into the ramekins. This hot water bath is called a bain marie.
- Slowly and carefully move the pan of water and ramekins into the middle of the oven. Bake at 350 F for about 45-50 minutes, until the cakes are risen and nicely browned on top.
- Carefully remove the hot ramekins from the water and let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
- Dust the tops of the cakes with icing sugar using a small sieve. Serve the cakes warm.
- Use room-temperature eggs to get the best volume in the batter.
- Fold the batter gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- If you're in a hurry, make the cakes the day before, let cool completely, and refrigerate. Reheat for about 10-15 minutes in a 350 F oven.
- Bake the cakes in a bain marie, or a hot water bath. This is crucial for the pudding layer to form.
- Want to make them ahead? Let them cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat them in a 350 F oven for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: lemon cake, lemon pudding cake