My Flourless Warm Lemon Pudding Cake is like an oasis of bright tangy sunshine in the middle of winter (aka citrus season!) This easy self-saucing lemon sponge cake dessert is downright magical.
January and February are filled with lemony recipes in our house. We’re blessed with a lemon tree in the back yard, and although ours is nearing the end of its days, it’s in peak season right now. All over the valley you can see bright orange and yellow dotted citrus trees in front and back yards. It’s the best time of year in LA :)
And of course there are always supermarket lemons, so much cheaper and juicier right now than any other time of the year. Our kitchen counters are littered with them. I’ll be slicing them thinly to make a bed for healthy baked fish, whisking their juice into creamy sauces, making vinaigrettes, and of course, lemony cakes, curds, and all kinds of tangy desserts.
The history of warm lemon pudding cake~
Is it a cake? A pudding? A soufflé? Warm lemon pudding cake, aka lemon delicious pudding, lemon lava cake, lemon magic cake, or self-saucing lemon cake, is a homey dessert that’s actually been around for a long time; similar recipes can be traced all the way back to colonial New England, and hot puddings and pudding sauces commanded entire chapters in early cookbooks like Fanny Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cook Book. (Back then the term pudding was borrowed from the British and meant dessert, generally, not what we think of today as pudding.)
This lemon pudding is made with beaten egg whites folded into the batter so that it bakes up like a fluffy sponge or soufflé, but ‘magically’ forms a tart lemon sauce at the bottom. The recipe calls for a very small amount of flour, so it’s easy to make it gluten free using almond meal or another gf flour like oat.
Once the egg whites are folded into the batter you can ladle it into buttered oven-safe bowls. You can also make this in a single casserole dish if you prefer.
Tip: When cooking with a water bath, add the water to the pan before you add the batter to your bowls, this makes it so much less stressful. Put your baking dish on a baking sheet so you can easily transport it to and from the oven with minimal sloshing.
This pudding is super tart and tangy, and can hold its own with just a shower of powdered sugar, but I couldn’t resist adding some blueberries to mine. Raspberries would be nice, too.
Note: the little silver spoons I used were my great grandmother’s, and they’re very old coin silver spoons from the 1800s. They’ve been sitting in a drawer for ages, but lately I’ve been enjoying getting out the random silverware that I’ve acquired/inherited over the years and putting it to use. Why let it waste away in a drawer or a box? (I’m working on a post all about it, so if you’re interested, stay tuned.)
I know you’re craving more lemon ~
- Buttermilk Lemon Bread
- Fresh Lemon Truffles
- Blueberry Zucchini Snack Cake with Lemon Buttercream
- Scottish Lemon Sugar Shortbread
My Flourless Warm Lemon Pudding Cake is ~ this easy self-saucing lemon sponge cake is downright magical.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup almond meal (almond flour.) You can use regular all purpose flour as well.
- pinch salt
- 1 cup cultured buttermilk (shake before measuring)
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (this helps stabilize the egg whites)
- powdered sugar
- berries (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F Lightly butter 6-8 oven safe bowls, ramekins, or mugs Arrange them in a baking pan and put the baking pan on a baking sheet for easy transport. Put a large pot of water on the stove to simmer for your water bath.
- Cream the soft butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, letting each one get incorporated before adding the next, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Blend in the lemon zest, almond meal, and salt, then mix in the buttermilk and lemon juice until everything is well combined.
- Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they become glossy and hold stiff peaks. Lift your beaters straight upright ~ the whipped whites should hold their points and not flop.
- Fold the egg whites gently into the batter until no more white streaks or large lumps of egg white remain. Do this gently so you don't deflate the beaten whites, and be patient, it takes a few minutes.
- Pour boiling water into your pan with the ramekins to a depth of about 2 inches.
- Ladle the batter into each of the bowls, filling almost full. Depending on their size you'll fill 6-8.
- Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the cakes are set on top and not super jiggly. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar and serving. Be sure to enjoy it warm!