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.
If you like lemon desserts, make sure to check out our recipes for lemon blueberry mug cake and lemon poppy seed cake.
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Fortunately, you don't need a lot of fancy ingredients to make these simple and delicious treats. Let's talk about the key ingredients.
- Eggs: Use large, room temperature eggs for best results.
- Lemon Juice & Zest: Make sure to squeeze your own juice from fresh lemons for the very best flavor, and grate the zest with a microplane (affiliate).
- Icing Sugar: This cake's sole decoration is a sprinkle of icing sugar once it's baked.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and quantities.
How to Make
- Whisk the egg yolks, milk, lemon juice, zest, salt, and vanilla until well blended, then whisk in the sugar and flour.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. When you raise the whisk, the egg whites should form gentle peaks with curled tips.
3. Whisk about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the egg mixture, then gently fold in the rest. Your batter is ready to go!
4. Lightly grease five 6-ounce ramekins and place them in a cake pan or casserole dish. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
5. Gently divide the batter among the ramekins and place them in the pan. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to go halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
6. Bake the cakes at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. They are done when they are risen and browned.
7. Let them cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar.
8. Enjoy one of these delicious cakes while it's still warm!
These individual cakes are baked in ramekins in a hot water bath to create a layer of moist cake with a layer of pudding on the bottom. They are dusted with icing sugar and served warm from the oven.
Yes, you definitely can make these vegan! Simply use melted coconut oil to grease the ramekins, your favorite non-dairy milk, and substitute 6 tablespoons of aquafaba for the egg whites.
Yes, these treats do need to be refrigerated because they contain eggs and milk. Try to eat them within 24 hours of baking for the best texture.
Looking for savory dishes to round out a meal with this lemon poppy seed cake? Any of these main courses would taste fantastic with this cake! Try serving Waldorf salad, Italian tuna salad, Chick-fil-A lemon kale caesar, or Caprese pesto salad.
- Leftovers: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Eat within 24 hours of baking for the best flavor and texture.
- Reheating: If you want to take the chill out of leftover cakes, uncover them and microwave them for 30-40 seconds on high.
- Freezing: Yes, you can freeze these desserts. Let them cool completely, then wrap the cakes in foil and seal them in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
- 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 cakes 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.
Other Lemon Desserts You'll Love
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Lemon Pudding Cakes
For the Lemon Cakes
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter five 6-ounce ramekins or three 8-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins inside of a large cake pan and bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- 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 among the ramekins, making sure each one has an equal part of liquid and foam. Pour boiling 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 into the middle of the oven. Bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are risen and browned on top. (If you're using 8-ounce ramekins, the cakes will take about 35-45 minutes.)
- Carefully remove the hot ramekins from the water and let them 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.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This recipe was originally published on June 1, 2018 and was republished on April 8, 2022 with new photos and updated content.
The cake is tart and the top is crispy. The cake is very moist and delicious. Yum, yum!
So glad you enjoyed it, Alex! Thank you!
These look very elegant and scrumptious. The sprinkle of icing sugar makes this look even better. This cake does taste very much like lemon pudding while still retaining a cake-like texture. They are quite nice!
Thank you, Beth! Just a sprinkle of icing sugar can always take things up a level. ✨