Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other Easter recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Lemon Pudding Cake Recipe

This lemon pudding cake has the intense lemon flavor of a lemon meringue pie without the work, which makes it the perfect recipe to bake when spring rolls around. Since it’s super easy to make with bright lemon flavors, it makes the perfect Easter dessert. The cake has a fluffy topping with a pudding-like layer underneath, and when dusted with powdered sugar and toasted almonds, it’s a true showstopper!

Why this recipe works.

Lemon pudding cake is a recipe that has transcended time. This is one our moms, grandmas, and maybe great-grandmas made, but it is just as applicable today. Just like in years past, it is great to have a go-to dessert that is simple and makes everyone happy. This pudding cake gives the same sweet-tart flavor of a lemon pie but without the effort of making lemon curd. There is no crust that needs to be rolled out and no meringue that could break or weep. Instead, there is a batter that is made, and while baking, it creates a soft lemon pudding layer underneath a tender simple cake. Move aside, pie! You have competition.

White marble surface with oval serving dish with baked lemon pudding cake dusted with powdered sugar and toasted almonds with a serving sitting on a small white plate with a cup of coffee to the side.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Eggs are separated into yolks and white to a pivotal role. The yolks help create a rich pudding, and the whites are whipped to create a structure for the cake.
  • Whole milk adds flavor to the mixture. Lesser-fat types of milk can be used but will not offer the same flavor.
  • Lemons are essential for the sweet and tart flavor. The zest and juice are used to give the depth of lemon flavor, brightness, and tartness.
  • All-purpose flour provides the crucial ingredient necessary to make a cake layer on top of the pudding layer. However, this cake has a very small amount of flour when compared to traditional cakes, and that’s because only a small amount of flour is needed for both pudding and a cake with the same batter.
  • Butter helps to create the pudding and impart more flavor to the pudding. Use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the recipe.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make a lemon pudding cake including lemons, eggs, flour, sugar, slat, butter, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the batter. In a large bowl, add the sugar, removing 1 tablespoon and placing it in a separate bowl to be used later. Add the lemon zest and, using your hands, work together the zest and sugar. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, reserving the whites in a separate bowl to be used later. Add the egg yolks to the sugar and zest mixture and whisk until a pale yellow color is achieved. Then add the melted and slightly cooled butter and whisk it in until combined. Finally, add the flour, salt, lemon juice, and milk, and whisk until well combined.
  1. Whip the egg whites. In the bowl containing the egg whites, whip them using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Once the whites have begun to foam up, add the reserved 1 tablespoon of sugar. Whip them for 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy, thick, and voluminous.
  1. Fold everything together. To the bowl with the batter, add approximately ⅓ of the whipped egg whites. Using a whisk, mix this ⅓ into the batter, using some force if needed. Then add the remaining egg white mixture and gently fold it into the batter, using a spatula rather than a whisk. When ready for the oven, the mixture should reach a smooth consistency with no lumps.
  1. Bake the cake. Pour the cake into the buttered 9×13 baking dish and bake in the preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The top of the cake should be lightly golden brown. Once cooled slightly, dust with powdered sugar and toasted almonds, if desired.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Mixing the sugar with the lemon zest before adding the other ingredients makes a big difference when it comes to adding even more flavor impact to the recipe. The action of working the lemon zest into the sugar allows the essential oils in the zest to be released, greatly increasing their potency.
  • Do not be fearful if the batter is very wet in texture before it is baked. This is exactly what this pudding cake’s batter should look like before it goes into the oven.
  • Make sure to only add about ⅓ of the whipped egg whites to the batter when beginning to mix everything together. If the entire egg white mixture is added at once, it defeats the purpose of the whipping, as the whites will be deflated by the heaviness of the batter. Instead, adding a portion to begin with lightens the batter. This first amount can be whisked into the batter more forcefully. The remaining ⅔ should be folded in lightly to retain some of the air that was created by the whipping.
Scoop of lemon pudding cake resting on a spoon in an oval baking dish with baked cake in it topped with powdered sugar and toasted almonds with a few servings already removed.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Does whole milk have to be used in this recipe?

No, lesser-fat milk can also be used in this recipe. But know that the flavor of the resulting cake will change with the type of milk used. Whole milk will always provide the most flavor, so milk with less fat will not impart as much richness and body.

Would this cake work with other citrus flavors as well?

Yes, orange would be a great substitution. Lime could also work, but the sweetness and bitterness of limes vary, and the sugar may need to adjust.

How long does this cake last once baked?

While the cake is best served warm from the oven, the leftovers will last for 7-10 days in the refrigerator. However, the pudding layer will soak into the cake, creating less definition.

White marble surface with white plate with spoon to the side with serving of lemon pudding cake with sliced almonds on top with cup of coffee to the side.

Watch how to make this recipe.

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Oval baking dish sitting on marble surface filled with baked lemon pudding cake dusted with powdered sugar and topped with toasted almonds with spoon resting on side of platter after removing a serving.

Lemon Pudding Cake

4.86 from 7 votes
This lemon pudding cake has the intense lemon flavor of a lemon meringue pie without the work, which makes it the perfect recipe to bake when spring rolls around. Since it’s super easy to make with bright lemon flavors, it makes the perfect Easter dessert. The cake has a fluffy topping with a pudding-like layer underneath, and when dusted with powdered sugar and toasted almonds, it’s a true showstopper!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar separated
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs whites separated
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • powdered sugar (optional)
  • toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar (reserving 1 tbsp) and lemon zest. Work the zest into the sugar until it becomes sandy and fragrant, 1 minute. Add the egg yolks to the sugar and whisk until they are pale yellow and thick, 2-3 minutes.
    1 cup white granulated sugar, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 4 large eggs
  • Whisk in the melted butter, flour, salt, lemon juice, and milk until it is smooth.
    4 tbsp unsalted butter, ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • Separately, whip the egg whites. Whip the whites until they are foamy, and slowly pour in the reserved 1 tbsp of sugar until fluffy and hold a stiff peak. Add ⅓ of the whipped egg whites to the batter and whisk until combined. Then add the remaining ⅔ whipped egg whites and fold gently until no lumps remain.
    4 large eggs
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until the cake is golden and set but jiggles from the pudding underneath, 25-30 minutes.
  • Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before sprinkling it with powdered sugar and toasted almonds, if desired.
    powdered sugar (optional), toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Notes

  • Mixing the sugar with the lemon zest before adding the other ingredients makes a big difference when it comes to adding even more flavor impact to the recipe. The action of working the lemon zest into the sugar allows the essential oils in the zest to be released, greatly increasing their potency.
  • Do not be fearful if the batter is very wet in texture before it is baked. This is exactly what this pudding cake’s batter should look like before it goes into the oven.
  • Make sure to only add about of the whipped egg whites to the batter when beginning to mix everything together. If the entire egg white mixture is added at once, it defeats the purpose of the whipping, as the whites will be deflated by the heaviness of the batter. Instead, adding a portion to begin with lightens the batter. This first amount can be whisked into the batter more forcefully. The remaining 2/3 should be folded in lightly to retain some of the air that was created by the whipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 134kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, Caleb, I love your videos and recipes!
    Most responses are from people who have not yet made the lemon pudding cake. I did make it—-and… it was yummy, creamy plus that bit of cake. I’m a huge fan of super tart lemony flavor, so I actually Reduced the sugar to 2/3 cup and increased the lemon to 3/4 cup —- YES! To me it was perfect! Please try it this way and see if you agree! Your fan in San Francisco!
    PS—- I considered attending EMHS back in 1973-4. But, no— too conservative for me! You were brave!

  2. 5 stars
    I did something I’ve never done. Made a recipe for an event before trying it out first. But when it’s one of Kaleb’s recipes you know it’s going to be awesome.
    I made the lemon pudding cake for a extended family get together and it was a hit! So much so I only got very small taste.
    Thank you Kaleb for your amazing recipes, your wonderful smile and for just being youw.

  3. Could gluten free 1:1 flour be used in place of the flour? Or another gluten free alternative suggestion? Love your recipes and videos:)

  4. I made the lemon pudding cake and totally forgot the milk🤦🏼‍♀️ it still turned out!! I could tell a 9×13 would be too big (still didn’t register!!) so used a smaller dish – but looks like the picture and tastes as expected- great!! I’ll try it again the correct way.

  5. Kaleb,
    Love your recipes and your videos. Can I use whipping cream/ heavy cream instead of whole milk in your lemon pudding cake? It’s all I have in the fridge at the moment.

  6. 4 stars
    Love this recipe as does my family. I’ve made it several times. Question—why does mine always result in a collapse? Still tastes great!