Home · Recipes Lemon Meringue Cake Author: Maryanne CabreraPublished: Jan 28, 2016Updated: Nov 16, 2023 View Recipe26 ReviewsThis post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy. Lemon meringue cake features three layers of lemon buttermilk cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with lemon buttercream. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, makes lemonade.And, when you’ve had enough lemonade, bake away those lemons! Take all that sour fruit and make some sweet and beautiful. Make this lemon meringue cake frosted with toasted meringue. Reasons to Make This Cake Three thick layers of lemon buttermilk cake soaked with a boozy lemon syrup. Lemon curd is sandwiched between the cake layers. A super versatile meringue frosting encases the assembled cake. And, for the finishing touch, the meringue is toasted and garnished with homemade candied lemon slices. It’s the toasted meringue and the candied lemons that truly makes this lemon cake shine! Lemon Cake Components This layered cake is comprised of: lemon buttermilk cake, lemon curd, meringue frosting, and candied lemon slices. Buttermilk Cake The thick cake layers are similar to this rosemary lemon cake. Choose to bake the cake as: three thick 6-inch cake layers or three shallow 8-inch cake layers or two thick 8-inch cake layers You will need to adjust baking time slightly for the last two options. For best flavor, use freshly grated lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice. I cannot emphasize “fresh” enough. Stay away from bottled lemon juice or juice from concentrate. If you don’t have buttermilk, simply use regular milk. The amount of lemon juice is more than enough to create enough tangy flavor. More Recipes That Use Lemon Curd Lemon Layer Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream Rosemary Lemon Cake Lemon Blueberry Oat Scones Lemon Curd I used store bought lemon curd. Trader Joe’s makes my favorite store-bought lemon curd.Alternatively, use you favorite homemade lemon curd. Or, to add a tropical note, use this very popular passion fruit curd recipe. How to Work with Meringue Meringue is a delicate mixture of egg whites and sugar. There are three types of meringue: French, Swiss, and Italian. This recipe is made using the Italian meringue method. For Italian meringue, sugar and water are cooked to 240°F (115°C). The hot sugar mixture is poured over whipping egg whites. The sweetened egg white mixture is whipped to shiny, stiff peaks. Italian meringue is the most stable of the three meringues. Use a spoon to spread the freshly whipped meringue over the assembled cake. Here comes the fun part! Grab your kitchen torch. In a sweeping, circular motion, use the torch to lightly brown the meringue. Meringue is sweet on it’s own. Add a little heat and the toasted exterior adds a new world of flavors. No longer is the meringue simply sweet, it becomes complex and delectable. How to Make Candied Lemon Slices All you need are three ingredients plus patience to make homemade candied lemon slices. Scrub and wash the lemons well. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the lemon. In a medium to large heavy bottomed skillet (shallow pan), combine water, sugar, and lemon juice. Heat until sugar has dissolved. Then, add thin lemon slices into the pan. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for about 8-12 minutes until lemon rinds are soft. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the lemon slices. Turn lemon slices every 3 minutes for even cooking on both sides. Once the peel feels soft, remove slices and place on a parchment lined tray to cool. Cool to temperature, then transfer to the fridge for later use. Don’t throw away the lemon sugar syrup! Save that for cake assembly! Cake Serving Suggestions While this cake is pretty to look at, it needs to be eaten immediately. It’s definitely not one of those cakes that you can display all night on the dessert table. Once you frost it with meringue, the clock starts ticking and it’s time to eat! More Lemon Dessert Recipes Lemon olive oil cake Lemon shortbread cookies Poppy seed lemon cake Strawberry lemon olive oil cake Lemon Meringue Cake Three layers of lemon buttermilk cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with lemon buttercream. Assembled cake is coated with meringue and toasted. Top with candied lemons for the finishing touch! Yield: 6-inch cake Prep Time: 40 minutes minutesCook Time: 35 minutes minutesAssembly: 35 minutes minutesTotal Time: 1 hour hour 50 minutes minutes Servings: 10 Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe IngredientsLemon Buttermilk Cake:2 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour½ teaspoon baking soda¼ teaspoon kosher salt1 cup unsalted butter, room temp1 ½ cup granulated sugar1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest4 large eggs, room temp1 ¼ cup buttermilk, room temp5 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juiceLemon Buttercream:1 cup unsalted butter, room temp3 cups powdered sugar¼ teaspoon kosher salt1 ½ teaspoon pure lemon extractlemon curd, store-bought or homemade, as neededCandied lemon Slices:*1 cup granulated sugar¾ cup water2 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice2 lemonsBoozy Lemon Soaking Syrup:⅓ cup reserved candied lemon syrup1 oz Grand Marnier, or other orange/citrus liqueurMeringue:1 cup granulated sugar⅓ cup water4 large egg whites, room temppinch cream of tartar½ teaspoon vanilla extractpinch kosher salt Instructions Lemon Buttermilk Cake:Preheat oven to 350° F. Line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter. Add sugar and lemon zest whip until smooth. Add eggs and continue to mix on medium speed until incorporated. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.Mix milk and lemon juice together. Set aside. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour milk mixture. Begin and finish with flour mixture. Mix until well incorporated.Divide batter evenly among the three prepared cake pans. Level batter using a mini offset spatula, or the back of a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes, then run a mini offset spatula around the cake and unmold. Let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack.Lemon Buttercream:Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter. Add confectioners’ sugar, salt, and lemon extract. Mix until smooth. Set aside.Candied Lemon Slices:Thinly slice lemon and discard any seeds.In a heavy bottomed skillet, combine sugar, water, and lemon juice. Set over medium heat and cook until sugar has dissolved. Add lemon slices and arrange in a single layer. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow lemon slices to cook until rinds are soft, about 8 minutes. Turn lemon slices occasionally for even cooking.Gently remove candied lemon slices from pan and place on a parchment lined tray to cool. Allow to cool to room temperature. Keep chilled in fridge until ready to use. Reserve lemon sugar syrup.Boozy Lemon Soaking Syrup:Combined reserved lemon syrup syrup with orange liqueur of choice. Alternatively, you can also use vodka or rum. Apply to cake layers using pastry brush.Meringue:In a small sauce pot, combine sugar and water. Set over medium-high heat and cook to 238°F.Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed. Once mixture is foamy, increase speed slightly and whisk to soft peaks. By this time, the sugar syrup should have reached its desired temperature. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup.Once all the sugar syrup has been added, increase speed and beat until shiny, stiff peaks. Add vanilla and salt and whisk until incorporated.Use immediately and spoon meringue over frosted cake. (See assembly below)Assembly:Fit a decorating bag (piping bag) with a small round tip. Fill the bag with about ½ cup of buttercream. Set aside.In necessary, level cake layers. Place one cake round on a cake turntable. Using a pastry brush, lightly soak cake layer with boozy lemon soaking syrup.Spread a thin layer of buttercream on cake using a small offset spatula. Using the filled piping bag, pipe a small border of buttercream along the perimeter of the cake round. This will serve as a barrier when you add lemon curd.Add enough lemon curd to filled the buttercream boundaries. Spread lemon curd into an even layer. Place second cake layer on top. Repeat adding soaking syrup, filling cake layer with buttercream and lemon curd. Place the final third layer on top. This layer will not be filled with lemon curd.Spread buttercream around the cake to create a “crumb coat” layer to seal in any crumbs. Chill cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set frosting. Add another coat of buttercream and chill for another 15 minutes. Spoon meringue over chilled cake. Lightly brown meringue using a kitchen torch. Add candied lemon slices and fresh mint, if desired. Serve immediately. Notes *Note: I use the lemon curd from Trader Joe’s. Candied lemon slices recipe is from Southern Living Feb 2013 Author: Maryanne Cabrera Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanKeyword: lemon cake, lemon curd cake, lemon meringue, toasted meringue cake Did you make this recipe?Show us on Instagram! Tag @littleepicurean and hashtag #littleepicurean.