Not every recipe turns out well.  Too bad this was a specially requested birthday cake.  I have a sweet friend who likes tart lemon cakes, so I try to make one for him on his birthday. 

This cake was supposed to be a light, custardy kind of cake.  More like a souffle than a cake, or at least that was the plan.  Alas, what I got was a thin, spongy cake with a squishy bottom.


While I wouldn’t recommend it, I’ll share the recipe for blah. Maybe someone can salvage it.


1/4 cup organic lemon juice

1 tbs lemon zest

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tbs

3 egg yolks

2 egg whites

1 1/3 cups whole milk

How I made it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour (or use Baker’s Joy) a shallow 9 or 10 inch torte pan or baking dish.

Sift the flour, salt, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs sugar together in a bowl.  In a second bowl (yes, there will be some extra dishes with this one), whisk the egg yolks, milk, zest, and lemon juice together.  Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until combined with no lumps. 

In a third bowl, beat egg whites until peaky.  Slowly beat in 1/4 cup sugar until egg whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.  Fold egg whites into batter to lighten.  It will be a thin batter (like pancake batter). 

Place cake pan into a deeper roasting pan or something similar.  Pour batter into cake pan.  Place roasting pan with cake pan inside on the center rack in the oven.  Fill the roasting pan with water until it reaches half way up the sides of the cake pan, to create a hot water bath in which the cake can bake.

Bake for 45 minutes, until puffy and golden on top.

The results:

The first issue was how to get the danged cake pan out of the boiling water in the roasting pan.  I didn’t want the cake to overcook by sitting too long in the hot water.  But I couldn’t find my turkey basting bulb thing to suck the water out of the pan so that I could grab the cake pan with hot mitts.  Finally, I used two metal spatulas to precariously lift the cake pan out of the water.  Within about 30 seconds of placing it on the cake plate to cool, the cake fell from all its golden puffiness to cracked spongy thinness.

When we tasted it, it was just a plain old lemon cake.  Not even as good as out of a box.  The texture was weird, with the squishy layer on the bottom.  No amount of whipped cream and cherries could overcome its blah-ness.

For next time:

There won’t be one.