lemon dream cake

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and to celebrate all the June birthdays at work, we had a big morning tea today. I wanted to make something a bit special for the occasion, so I made a Lemon Meringue Cake also known as a Lemon Dream Cake.

I made this cake a few years using a different recipe and it was a disaster. The cake was really dry and with the meringue layer on the bottom as suggested, the top layer slid off the bottom layer in a slick of lemon curd and cream. I don't like to be defeated so when I saw a picture of this cake by Nadine Ingram in the April issue of Gourmet Traveller I decided to give it another go.

I downsized the recipe to fit my mini cake tins and changed the recipe just a little to up the lemon quotient. I added some grated lemon rind to the cake mix instead of the vanilla paste and substituted lemon juice for the milk. I used my own recipe for the lemon curd, which I made in the microwave.

This recipe makes a double layer 16 cm cake. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. To make a 22 cm layer cake, double all the ingredients and follow the instructions. The baking time will stay the same.

Lemon Dream Cake, adapted from
this Nadine Ingram recipe

Lemon curd
2 egg yolks
⅓ cup caster sugar
⅓ cup lemon juice
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
60 g (2 oz) softened unsalted butter

125 g (4½ oz) butter, softened
125 g (4½ oz) sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
112 g (4½ oz) self-raising flour
13 g (½ oz) cornflour (cornstarch)
½ tsp baking powder
1 - 2 tbs lemon juice

2 egg whites
150 g (5 oz) caster sugar

To serve
150 ml (⅔ cup) cream
Lemon curd (recipe below or good shop bought)
Icing sugar

Lemon Curd
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, juice and rind in a heatproof bowl until just combined. Place bowl in the microwave and cook on medium high for 5-6 minutes, whisking every minute, until the temperature of the curd reaches 85ºC/185ºF when tested on a sugar thermometer or thickens to the consistency of whipped cream. If you like you can also cook the curd in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Strain the curd through a fine sieve. Add butter to the lemon curd a little at a time, whisking well between additions. Cover the curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill and set (at least 4 hours or overnight).


Line the base and sides of two 16 cm-diameter springform cake tins with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180ºC (conventional) or 160ºC (fan forced).

In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating between additions and scraping down sides of bowl, until all incorporated. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add to egg mixture in batches. Add enough lemon juice to make a soft batter, then divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins and set to one side.


In a large bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until the mixture forms soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking until meringue is glossy. Dot half the meringue evenly over each cake, and swirl the meringue on one cake to make a decorative top layer. Bake both cakes on the middle shelf of the oven until the meringue is slightly golden, about 30 minutes. Rotate the cakes halfway through the cooking time. Test the cake is done by inserting a skewer or cake tester through a crack in the meringue into the layer below. Cool completely in tins (3 hours).

Remove cakes from tins and carefully peel baking paper off. Spread lemon curd evenly over bottom cake (you won't need to use all the curd. I did and there was a bit of a volcanic eruption when I placed the second layer on top), top with whipped cream, then place second cake on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

The cake is pretty delicate as you can see, so if you can I'd assemble the cake just before serving. If you don't want to make a double layer cake I think this would be just as nice made as a single larger cake, perhaps baked in a 9 inch tin, topped with the lemon curd and dollops of cream. You'd need to cook it a little longer though, maybe 45 minutes to 1 hour.

I made this cake on Sunday, stored the cake in the fridge overnight then took the cake into work where it somehow survived the train journey. The cake was surprisingly easy to slice and it was deemed delicious by all. I had a sliver and it was pretty yummy but how can you go wrong when you combine lemon curd with meringue and cream?

See you all bit later in the week.

Bye for now,



1 comment

  1. I was one of the lucky workmates who had a piece of this cake and it was a dream cake!! Absolutely yum, thanks Jillian 😊


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