It’s a little bit pudding and a little bit cake, all in one recipe. I was first awed by this lemon pudding-cake when I went to a pastry conference at the CIA and met the pastry chef from Craft, Karen Demasco. She served this dessert; made up of a layer of tangy lemon curd baked on top of a sweet delicate cake. They were clearly baked as one, but the two layers were so distinct in appearance and taste. I fell in love. When Karen wrote a book last year I was so excited to see this recipe in it! I have made it with lime juice, grapefruit and even passionfruit juices.
You can use six to eight ramekins for this batch, depending on how tall you want your cake to stand.
from The Craft of Baking with Homemade Jam:
Soft butter for ramekins
1 cup buttermilk (fat free or low fat)
1/4 cup lemon juice (Meyer lemon, lime or grapefruit juices are also great) (or a combination of the three)
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (spoon and sweep into the measuring cup)
3/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon (plus more for ramekins)
Zest of 2 lemons (Meyer lemons or 2 limes or 1 grapefruit)
8 tablespoons jam or preserves (raspberry, cherry, marmalade or any of your favorites)
To prepare the lemon pudding-cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare six to eight 6-ounce ramekins by coating them well with the soft butter and then sugar. Set the ramekins in a roasting pan that has a kitchen towel laid out on the bottom. The towel allows a bit more insulation for the puddings when baked. Set the roasting pan aside.
In a bowl mix together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar and salt. Rub the zest into the flour mixture. Set aside.
Whisk together the buttermilk, lemon juice and egg yolks. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar until just soft peaks. Be sure not to over beat or they will be grainy and not incorporate into the batter well.
Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk/lemon mixture. Whisk until well incorporated.
Add the egg whites 1/3 at a time and fold them in with a rubber spatula.
Ladle the batter into the prepared ramekins. Fill the roasting pan with hot water up to the middle of the ramekins.
Tent with foil. Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the foil.
Bake for another 20 minutes until the cakes rise up above the ramekins, are golden in color and spring back when you touch the tops.
Let them cool to room temperature. The pudding-cakes can be served warm, room temperature or even chilled. They can be made ahead and stored in the ramekins until serving time. If you serve them chilled the pudding will be a bit denser, but still lovely.
Run a sharp paring knife around the edge.
Invert onto the plate.
If you are so lucky to have homemade jam around then spoon a tablespoon onto each of the lemon pudding-cakes. (These jams were made by my friend Jen, using the recipes she learned from our day spent with the Blue Ribbon Jam Queen Barb Schaller.)