Friday, January 20, 2012

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon Pudding Cake
I realized this week that I have an abundance of lemons in my kitchen.  I think Hubby and I both purchased large bags of lemons for the holidays just to be sure we wouldn't be caught without any.  As a result, we have more lemons on hand than we know what to do with.  Since it is lemon season, these are lovely, juicy lemons that release a burst of their fresh, lemony scent when sliced.  That's all the inspiration I need to start baking with them.  That lemon scent adds pizazz to a gray, January day, and it is Citrus Week here on Just One Donna.

Wanting to make something new, I decided to try a recipe provided from Williams-Sonoma in an email last week. Their recipe for individual lemon pudding cakes reminded me of how much I like little individual cakes, whether cupcakes or chocolate lava cakes.  It's fun to have a special cake for each person and I'm always a fan of the forced portion control that results as well.  Take a look at the original recipe and you'll see it is straightforward enough.  The ingredients are simple, and like me, you may already have them in your kitchen.  Flour, salt, egg, lemon, milk and sugar...yes, simple, available ingredients.

Lemon Pudding Cake Ingredients

I always like to read the reviews of recipes online because sometimes there are tips and other times the comments are just plain entertaining.  The first reviewer gave this recipe five out of five stars saying it was perfect.  That was followed by the second reviewer who gave it one star, saying it was "an absolute waste of time and ingredients".  Well, those conflicting reviews made me definitely want to try this recipe to see which it was, a five out of five keeper recipe or a complete bomb.

Donna's Test Kitchen:  Lemon Pudding Cakes
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F and placed eight half-cup ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish that I filled with 4 cups of water.  This brought the water level halfway up the outside of the ramekins.

Ramekins Set in a Water Bath

Next, I beat together the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, beating for 3 minutes with my electric mixer until the mixture was pale yellow and thick.  It looked delightful.

Beat the Egg Yolks and Sugar until Light in Color

While the eggs were beating I mixed together the 1/2 cup of flour and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt and set that mixture aside.  I zested one lemon and squeezed 1/3 cup of lemon juice from two lemons.  Then it was time to stir the flour mixture into the eggs and sugar, making a very thick batter.  That batter was then beaten on medium speed for two minutes.  The batter was very thick and lumpy.  I added the lemon zest, milk and lemon juice stirring gently.  I chose to use a silicone spatula to do the stirring so I could loosen the thick, lumpy batter from the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.

Next, in a separate glass bowl, I beat the egg whites until thick and foamy and added 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.  I continued beating until the whites formed soft peaks.

Soft Peaks
Folding the whites into the egg and lemon batter was next.  Using a silicone spatula I folded about 1/4 of the egg whites into the batter to distribute the batter and lighten it a bit.  Then the rest of the egg whites were folded in, gently, but completely.  Using a scoop the batter was then evenly distributed into the eight ramekins and placed on the center rack of the oven to bake for 40 minutes.

Use a Scoop to Distribute the Batter

They looked completely cooked after 40 minutes because they had browned, puffed up high above the rim of the ramekins and some had cracked.  I used two different types of ramekins and they cooked differently depending on which ramekin was used.

Can You See the Different Results with Different Ramekins?

I was impatient to taste them because they looked delicious and smelled even better, but the recipe said to cool them in the water bath for 15 to 20 minutes.  That's what I did.  Yes, really.  I was able to wait.  After the 15 minutes, the cakes had settled a bit.

The Cooled Lemon Pudding Cakes

I dug in with my spoon.  The cake was still warm,  The consistency was light and delicate.  The flavor was sweet and lemony.  In my humble opinion, this recipe is a delicious way to showcase the flavor of lemons.  These are easy to make and are a tasty treat.  For all of us lemon lovers, this recipe deserves a five out of five stars.  I call it a keeper.

Digging In
After I let the lemon pudding cakes cool to room temperature I was able to turn them out onto a plate after running a knife around the edge of the cake and carefully coaxing it loose.  This resulted in a prettier presentation with the pudding covering the top of the cake.  You can either serve them straight from the ramekin or turned out onto a pretty plate.

Lemon Pudding Cake
Linked to Between Naps on the Porch
You can get the original lemon pudding cake recipe by following the Williams-Sonoma link.

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  1. I LOVE lemon cake! Do you take your own food photos? They are gorgeous.


    1. Hi, Allie. If you love lemon cake you should try these. These pudding cakes are delightful. Thanks for the compliment on my photos. Photography is new to me. I only started taking pictures when I started this blog, so I'm learning.

  2. I just love being so close in proximity to the test kitchen. This is definitely a 5 out of 5 star lemony delight!!!!!!

  3. I'm glad you liked the pudding cake, Robin. They'd be great for one of your dinner parties.

  4. This looks easy! I think I have all the ingredients in my house since my hubby just went out and purchased some lemons. Can I use muffin pans instead? I don't have any ramekins.

  5. Okay, you had me at lemon, this is going on my to-do list. I had to laugh that you showed us right-side-up or up-side-down. It has become a dilemma at my house. I made an Apple Sharlotka awhile back. It was crunchy on top, but after a day it lost its crunchiness, so I turned it into an upside-down cake... Still delicious. Then I watched Jacques Pépin and his friend Claude argue or how to present a cake, upside-down or right-side-up. Presentation has become a thing. Thanks for doing the research for us.


    1. Madonna, I love that your blog is called Make Mine Lemon. You must be even more wild about lemons than I am. I do think these little cakes are prettier served with the pudding on top, but eating them straight from their little cups is perfect, too. I think you'll love these!


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