• January 10, 2013

    Lemon Pudding Cake

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    My grandma had a serious sweet tooth – or “sweet toot,” she’d say with her endearing whisper of a French accent. My mother’s mother’s maiden name was Dion. Her father anglicized it to “DiYoung” in the days when being Acadian inferred inferiority. She was one of eighteen children born to a French-Catholic family, and she was a wonderful grandmother.

    I’ll always remember the way grandma would use a small spoon to firmly pack my ice cream into the very bottom of the cone. It made no difference to me that the ice cream was freezer burnt, the flavour was Grape Nuts and the cone was stale. All my knotty-haired elementary-school self tasted was love.

    In her later years, grandma was half-deaf and sometimes confused. My grandpa kept a pet cockatiel who was notorious for escaping the confines of its cage. One day, my grandma was in the kitchen satisfying her “sweet toot” when Chicklet escaped.

    My mom, my sister and I were shrieking and diving all over the place trying to trap it under towels whenever it landed. Grandma was enjoying her afternoon tea in peace, oblivious to the commotion in the next room.

    After ten minutes of unsuccessful towel-trapping, the bird had worked itself into a freedom frenzy. He tore all over the living room airspace, squawking hysterically, until the furniture was well-splotched with bird crap, and we – his weary, would-be captors – were exasperated and sweaty. A scream or crash must have beckoned grandma from her cake when she eventually emerged from the kitchen, fork still in hand.

    The towels had been abandoned. As the cockatiel happily swooped and dived over our heads, thrilled at evading capture, we resorted to standing still with our hands in the air, breathlessly pleading with him in syrupy-sweet voices to come perch on our outstretched palms.

    “What’s going on?” grandma implored, aware of the chaos but still seemingly oblivious to the squawking and feathers flying.

    “CATCH THE BIRD!” my mom shouted as he soared over our heads toward the kitchen doorway where grandma stood, bewildered.

    As he flapped over each of us, our hands sprang up in hope. At this point, grandma seemed to half-catch the drift of what was going on. So when poor Chicklet zipped over her, she mimicked our actions…

    I can still see her wrinkled, thin arm shoot straight up with amazing timeliness…

    FORK CLUTCHED TIGHTLY IN HER GRIP.

    We all slapped our faces and shrieked, “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

    Frozen in a unified scream, we watched in slow motion….

    … as Grandma came thisclose to the mid-flight skewering of our beloved Chicklet.

    The bird, acutely aware of his near-forking, made a hasty retreat to his cage, emitting indignant squawks over the violent loss of a tail-feather.

    With relief we dissolved into giggles on the floor until tears streamed down our faces.

    Today, I share with you my dear grandmother’s recipe, and I remember her with tears of laughter and love.

    I honestly think this puckersome, saucy “lemon sponge” (as she called it) is my favourite dessert.ย I admit that might change – my food-loves are fickle (especially these days…) . But right now, I am unequivocally enamored with grandma’s Lemon Pudding Cake.

    With only three tablespoons of flour and one tablespoon of butter, it is incredibly light – yet seductively luscious. Egg whites are beaten into soft peaks and folded into a yolk-y lemon base. The dessert is baked in a water bath, and when it emerges, a pillowy sponge-cake topping sits atop a creamy, tart pudding.

    I made it for a friend’s dinner party last night for the first time in years. Five people devoured it with five spoons, no bowls. A wildly impressive self-control is all that is keeping me from making it again today, for just me.

    The only change I made from grandma’s version is a slight decrease in sugar and boost in lemon – my “toot” isn’t quite as sweet as hers.

    P.S. I don’t think Chicklet ever flew the coop again after the attempted spearing. Nor did he ever forgive poor grandma.

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs, separated
    • 2 lemons, zested and juiced (you should get about 1 tbsp zest and 1/4-1/3 cup juice)
    • 1 cup milk
    • Icing sugar for dusting, optional

    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Set a kettle full of water to boil.
    2. In a standing mixer, beat butter with sugar until fully incorporated, then add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat in egg yolks followed by lemon zest, lemon juice and milk.
    3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
    4. Use a spatula to gently fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture until just incorporated (it will still have a slightly curdled look). Scrape the batter into a 1 1/2 quart (1.5 L) baking dish (an 8×8 inch glass dish works).
    5. Create a water bath by setting this dish into a larger baking pan, pouring hot water into the larger pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the pudding dish. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake about 55 minutes, or until top of cake is set. Cool dish on top of a wire rack. Serve warm or cold, dusted with icing sugar if desired.

     

    This easy, made from scratch, light and fluffy Lemon Pudding Cake is better than any lemon cake that comes from a box! Get your hands on this amazing delicious dessert recipe right now!

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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here.ย On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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    Mhhhmmmhhh … not fair to share this so close to lunch time ๐Ÿ˜‰ …I know now what I will make with the ground lamb we bought on Salt Spring ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sarah Klein

    This looks so comforting! Yummy.

    Unhip Squirrel

    can I come over for dinner?

    David Morton

    All my god, this was good. Hadn’t made a moussaka in years and moreover your declaration that it was serious comfort food struck a chord, because it was dark and rainy in Vancouver, today, and totally stay in doors (except in the latter part). So I made it. A little time-consuming in preparation, especially because of the eggplant salting, and the three or more separate parts to this recipe. BUT WELL WORTH THE EFFORT! My one problem was the eggplants. I had one regular eggplant and so made a grocery run to the neighbourhood produce store. ย They only had the… Read more »

    I suffer from the same over-enthusiasm for too many foods! ย  This does look wonderful, though.ย  But the 2 foot zucchini sounds positively terrifying!

    Sue

    Another Vancouver mousaka lover here, this looks divine! I want to premake it Friday, leave the house for 2 hours then come home and bake it. Do you think putting it all together then leaving it in the fridge for a couple of hours will be ok>

    Svp16

    I think this might be my new fave too! Moussaka had never entered the realm of foods I had considered making myself. Who knew it would be so easy and delicious! Amazing!

    Irene

    This is absolutely delicious! The salting of the eggplants is time well spent:) So tasty, and so hearty! Thanks Jen!

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Darcie Hutchins

    We made a double batch of this for Christmas dinner along with some cut up tomatoes and cucumbers on the side and Tiramisu for dessert. Fantastic! We have made Moussaka before but this recipe is the best we’ve tried. It will be our Christmas dinner tradition.

    Jessica

    This is so lovely. I have always been daunted by making moussaka but this recipe certainly looks inviting and super comforting this time of year!

    Sue

    Another Vancouver mousaka lover here, this looks divine! I want to premake it Friday, leave the house for 2 hours then come home and bake it. Do you think putting it all together then leaving it in the fridge for a couple of hours will be ok>

    Unhip Squirrel

    can I come over for dinner?

    Sarah Klein

    This looks so comforting! Yummy.

    I suffer from the same over-enthusiasm for too many foods!   This does look wonderful, though.  But the 2 foot zucchini sounds positively terrifying!

    David Morton

    All my god, this was good. Hadn’t made a moussaka in years and moreover your declaration that it was serious comfort food struck a chord, because it was dark and rainy in Vancouver, today, and totally stay in doors (except in the latter part). So I made it. A little time-consuming in preparation, especially because of the eggplant salting, and the three or more separate parts to this recipe. BUT WELL WORTH THE EFFORT! My one problem was the eggplants. I had one regular eggplant and so made a grocery run to the neighbourhood produce store.  They only had the… Read more »

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Darcie Hutchins

    We made a double batch of this for Christmas dinner along with some cut up tomatoes and cucumbers on the side and Tiramisu for dessert. Fantastic! We have made Moussaka before but this recipe is the best we’ve tried. It will be our Christmas dinner tradition.

    Svp16

    I think this might be my new fave too! Moussaka had never entered the realm of foods I had considered making myself. Who knew it would be so easy and delicious! Amazing!

    Mhhhmmmhhh … not fair to share this so close to lunch time ๐Ÿ˜‰ …I know now what I will make with the ground lamb we bought on Salt Spring ๐Ÿ™‚

    Irene

    This is absolutely delicious! The salting of the eggplants is time well spent:) So tasty, and so hearty! Thanks Jen!

    Jessica

    This is so lovely. I have always been daunted by making moussaka but this recipe certainly looks inviting and super comforting this time of year!

    Sue

    Another Vancouver mousaka lover here, this looks divine! I want to premake it Friday, leave the house for 2 hours then come home and bake it. Do you think putting it all together then leaving it in the fridge for a couple of hours will be ok&#062

    Unhip Squirrel

    can I come over for dinner?

    Sarah Klein

    This looks so comforting! Yummy.

    Darcie Hutchins

    We made a double batch of this for Christmas dinner along with some cut up tomatoes and cucumbers on the side and Tiramisu for dessert. Fantastic! We have made Moussaka before but this recipe is the best we’ve tried. It will be our Christmas dinner tradition.

    I suffer from the same over-enthusiasm for too many foods! &#160 This does look wonderful, though.&#160 But the 2 foot zucchini sounds positively terrifying!

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Irene

    This is absolutely delicious! The salting of the eggplants is time well spent:) So tasty, and so hearty! Thanks Jen!

    David Morton

    All my god, this was good. Hadn’t made a moussaka in years and moreover your declaration that it was serious comfort food struck a chord, because it was dark and rainy in Vancouver, today, and totally stay in doors (except in the latter part). So I made it. A little time-consuming in preparation, especially because of the eggplant salting, and the three or more separate parts to this recipe. BUT WELL WORTH THE EFFORT! My one problem was the eggplants. I had one regular eggplant and so made a grocery run to the neighbourhood produce store. &#160They only had the… Read more »

    Jessica

    This is so lovely. I have always been daunted by making moussaka but this recipe certainly looks inviting and super comforting this time of year!

    Mhhhmmmhhh … not fair to share this so close to lunch time ๐Ÿ˜‰ …I know now what I will make with the ground lamb we bought on Salt Spring ๐Ÿ™‚

    Svp16

    I think this might be my new fave too! Moussaka had never entered the realm of foods I had considered making myself. Who knew it would be so easy and delicious! Amazing!

    Unhip Squirrel

    can I come over for dinner?

    Sarah Klein

    This looks so comforting! Yummy.

    Darcie Hutchins

    We made a double batch of this for Christmas dinner along with some cut up tomatoes and cucumbers on the side and Tiramisu for dessert. Fantastic! We have made Moussaka before but this recipe is the best we’ve tried. It will be our Christmas dinner tradition.

    Sue

    Another Vancouver mousaka lover here, this looks divine! I want to premake it Friday, leave the house for 2 hours then come home and bake it. Do you think putting it all together then leaving it in the fridge for a couple of hours will be ok&#062

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

    Irene

    This is absolutely delicious! The salting of the eggplants is time well spent:) So tasty, and so hearty! Thanks Jen!

    David Morton

    All my god, this was good. Hadn’t made a moussaka in years and moreover your declaration that it was serious comfort food struck a chord, because it was dark and rainy in Vancouver, today, and totally stay in doors (except in the latter part). So I made it. A little time-consuming in preparation, especially because of the eggplant salting, and the three or more separate parts to this recipe. BUT WELL WORTH THE EFFORT! My one problem was the eggplants. I had one regular eggplant and so made a grocery run to the neighbourhood produce store. &#160They only had the… Read more »

    Mhhhmmmhhh … not fair to share this so close to lunch time ๐Ÿ˜‰ …I know now what I will make with the ground lamb we bought on Salt Spring ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jessica

    This is so lovely. I have always been daunted by making moussaka but this recipe certainly looks inviting and super comforting this time of year!

    Svp16

    I think this might be my new fave too! Moussaka had never entered the realm of foods I had considered making myself. Who knew it would be so easy and delicious! Amazing!

    I suffer from the same over-enthusiasm for too many foods! &#160 This does look wonderful, though.&#160 But the 2 foot zucchini sounds positively terrifying!

    Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Oooooh my gosh.. I have no words for this Moussaka. I had never had it before. It was worth every single step. I need to make this again and again so that I get faster at it, because it was amazing. Such a different casserole. Thanks for the recipe! I blogged about it over here http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/11/04/moussaka/

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