Renowned pastry chef Pierre Herme likes this Ligurian Lemon Cake well enough to serve it plain; a lightly browned layer of meringue topped with fresh berries gives this dessert a dressier finish.

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Ingredients

For the Lemon Cake
For the Meringue and Assembling the Dessert

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Make the lemon cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Butter a 10-inch round cake or springform pan, dust with flour, and tap out any excess.

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  • In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder; set aside.

  • Place sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer; rub the ingredients together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and has absorbed as much of the zest as possible. Return bowl to mixer.

  • Using the whisk attachment, beat in eggs on medium high until the mixture is pale and thick, about 3 minutes.

  • With the mixer on lowest speed, beat in milk. Add reserved flour mixture; beat until incorporated. Add lemon juice, melted butter, and olive oil; beat until blended.

  • Pour about one third of the batter into the prepared pan; there should be just enough batter to form a thin, even layer. Arrange the raspberries on top of the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the raspberries, and use a rubber spatula to gently spread batter so that it runs down between the berries and just covers them (you'll have a very thin top layer of batter).

  • Bake cake until it's golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 33 minutes.

  • Remove the cake from the oven, and immediately unmold it onto a wire rack. Invert cake so it is right side up, and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, the cake is ready to serve or to decorate with meringue.

  • Make the meringue and assemble the dessert: Preheat oven to 475 degrees with rack in the center. Place the cooled cake on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and set aside.

  • In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg white until it holds soft peaks. Add granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream; continue beating until firm, glossy peaks form.

  • Using a metal icing spatula or a spoon, immediately spread the meringue over the top of the reserved cake. Dust the meringue with confectioners' sugar.

  • Bake the cake until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Garnish the cake with the mixed berries, if desired, and serve.

Cook's Notes

You can brown the meringue in just a few minutes under the broiler, though a handheld kitchen torch is an even easier option -- it allows you better control over the browning.

Reviews (4)

27 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 12
  • 2 star values: 6
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: Unrated
12/29/2015
My mom made this for my 50th. Elegant, rich and delicious.
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2014
Amazing! just what I wanted - not too sweet cake
Rating: Unrated
05/19/2008
this cake is wonderful! I skimped on the butter, oil and sugar (I always try to cut corners with fat) and it was moist and delicious. I topped it with fresh whipped cream instead of meringue, lovely.
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Rating: Unrated
01/12/2008
This cake is YUMMY! Its easy to make looks impressive and tastes divine. I made it for a dinner pary of 6 and the whole thing was demolished after a 4 course meal. Its a sensation.