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Lemon Meringue 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 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Assembly: 35 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cake, lemon curd cake, lemon meringue, toasted meringue cake
Servings: 10
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


Lemon Buttermilk Cake:

  • 2 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk, room temp
  • 5 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Lemon Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • lemon curd, store-bought or homemade, as needed

Candied lemon Slices:*

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 lemons

Boozy Lemon Soaking Syrup:

  • cup reserved candied lemon syrup
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier, or other orange/citrus liqueur


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup water
  • 4 large egg whites, room temp
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt


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.


  • 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)


  • 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.