What a difference a month makes.
I don’t want to jinx anything but we’ve got flowering peach and plum trees, blossoming roses and lingering sunlight. The windows are open, the breeze is gentle and welcoming and the lawn is strangely green thanks to a very wet winter.
With the lemons hanging heavy on the trees, I’m taking my cautious optimism about the arrival of spring into the kitchen and whipping up a light and luscious citrus dessert for you.
But don’t worry, you needn’t be in the midst of spring to enjoy this beauty; served right from the oven, its warmth will melt those glacial winds and cradle you through the harshest of winter blizzards (hear that, Stella?).
I can’t say we make a lot of desserts (and my baking repertoire is even less robust) but this pudding cake is a family favorite. We especially love that it retains its tartness and flavor of origin (we have a decided preference for lemon desserts that taste like, errr, lemon) with a touch of sweet for balance without taking over the experience.
And the texture… just have a look at that rather indelicate ice cream sized scoop below — you can see the three distinct layers, the creamy pudding bottom, the soft sponge-like cake middle and the golden crust. I just want to install a springboard and dive into that beautiful mess.
I’ve developed this recipe as a gluten-free pudding cake but you can use standard flour as you wish (see the Notes section for more information and best results).
A fresh and delicious dessert option that you can enjoy warm or cold any time of year! Plus, I think your resident leprechauns might like it too
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 2 eggs, ideally brought to room temperature (set them out on the counter 20 minutes ahead of time if you can)
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup coconut palm sugar (or granulated sugar of choice, brown sugar works fine)
- 1 slightly rounded Tbsp almond flour
- 2 flat Tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 cup 2% or whole milk (I tyipically have 2% on hand)
- Fresh berries for serving or warmed frozen berries, as desired
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- In a small bowl combine almond and tapioca flours and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together lemon zest, egg yolks, butter and sugar. Add lemon juice, followed by flour mixture and milk, mixing to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks/indentations form; fold into batter.
- Pour pudding cake batter into a baking dish (see notes for size/dish pref) and then place baking dish into a larger dish - add boiling water to the larger dish such that it comes up about 1 inch (2.5 cm) along the sides of the dish. The "water bath" method is used to prevent the pudding cake from drying out while baking - it also minimizes cracking and over-browning the top layer. - it makes a difference and is worth the small extra step.
- Place pudding cake with pan in middle rack of oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes - the surface should be taking on a nice golden color and the cake top just firm to the touch. If you see that the cake is over-browning while baking (oven heat varies), you can loosely tent with foil.
- Remove pudding cake from oven and allow it to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
- Scoop pudding cake into individual serving dishes or bowls and top with fresh or warmed frozen berries and/or cream/ice cream as desired etc. Or simply enjoy the pudding on its own, it's delicious that way too!
- You can also refrigerate and serve this dessert cold according to preference.
Gluten-Free: this pudding cake was developed as a gluten-free recipe; if you prefer, you can substitute ¼ cup spelt flour (a whole grain related to wheat) that works well in baking or a white whole wheat flour (that retains the nutritional advantages of traditional whole wheat flour while being lighter weight) or simply AP flour (as you wish) in place of the almond/tapioca combination. I don't recommend traditional whole wheat for this particular recipe due to its weight/density.