Lemon Pudding Cake

{Update 03/14:} Well, you know when you’ve been making and loving a recipe for five years (this was originally posted in 2009), it’s time to update the picture. While pudding cakes are notoriously unphotogenic, trust me when I say that a) this picture is worlds better than the old one and b) a dish of heavenly pudding and cake doesn’t have to look good to taste incredible.

Lemon Pudding Cake

This lemon pudding cake makes for a perfect spring or summer dessert. While baking, the pudding cake separates into two layers – light and cakey on top and silky and custardy on bottom. The technique relies on baking the cake in a water bath and whisking egg whites into soft peaks and then gently folding them into the batter – if you have the patience to handle that, you will love this cake. What it lacks in presentation is definitely made up in taste. The cake tastes wonderful warm or chilled and our favorite way to eat it is with a little dollop of whipped cream on top to help cut the sweet tartness of the tender lemon cake and silky, creamy pudding.

Lemon Pudding Cake

Yield: Serves 4-6

Lemon Pudding Cake

Our favorite way to serve/eat this is with a little dollop of whipped cream but you can definitely go without. Also, the cake is delightful warm or chilled.


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons grated zest and 1/2 cup juice from 3 large lemons
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 2 quarts boiling water (or enough boiling water to come up halfway on the sides of the baking pan)


  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish. Whisk the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. With the electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1/2 cup sugar, butter and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce the speed to medium-low. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Slowly add milk and lemon juice, mixing until just combined.
  2. Using a clean bowl and the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add remaining sugar until whites are firm and glossy, about 1 minute. Whisk one-third of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in remaining whites, one scoop at a time, until well combined.
  3. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a roasting pan and arrange prepared baking dish on the towel. Spoon batter into the prepared dish. Carefully place the pan on the oven rack and pour boiling water into the pan until water reaches halfway up sides of baking dish. Bake until the surface is golden brown and edges are set (center should still be slightly wiggly), about 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool about 45 minutes. Serve.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country

54 Responses to Lemon Pudding Cake

  1. Diane says:

    If I only have one bowl for my Kitchen Aid mixer, do I just do the first part, then stop, put the contents in a different bowl, clean the dirty bowl and then whip the egg whites with the whisk attachment. Also, would it be possible to make the the night or early morning before I wanted to serve it? Thanks so much for any ideas/thoughts.

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hello Diane. Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Yes, what you suggested would definitely work while you are preparing the cake and this would definitely work to make the day before and refrigerate. I have done that before with great success.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Diane – what Emily said is what I would have said, too. 🙂

  2. Tanya says:

    I’m trying to find a dessert recipe that I can serve at an upcoming meal I am hosting. I need to have a dairy free dessert and if possible, also a low fat one. 1. Do you think the milk could be replaced with soy milk or almond milk? 2. Can you recommend something from your website that would fit these criteria?

    • Mel says:

      Tanya – You can check out the dairy free category and see if any of the desserts would work for the meal you are hosting. The Incredible Chocolate Pudding might be a good choice for you. It is made with almond milk and it is fabulous. Good luck!

  3. […] Recipe: Lemon Pudding Cake […]

  4. BitsyBet says:

    This reminds me of something my great-aunt used to make called lemon fluff. Can’t wait to try this. I love lemon everything.

  5. Kristin says:

    Looks lovely! The printer icon link appears to be broken?

    • Mel says:

      Kristin – Thanks for your note. Unfortunately if you are using Internet Explorer, the print function isn’t working right now. I am working to get it fixed but in the meantime, I’m encouraging those who are having issues to switch to a different browser like Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Internet Explorer has issues with many website functions and one of those other browsers will be much better (not just for the print function). If you don’t want to switch browsers, know that I am working on it but am not sure when there will be a fix available. I’m sorry for any inconvenience!

  6. Boe C. says:

    Oh no, it looks like some of the post got cut off during the editing process?

  7. Jen G says:

    Ooooo, this looks delicious! Do you think it would work with another kind of citrus, maybe lime or orange? Oooo, or tangerine?!

  8. Tracy P says:

    My husbands Grandma makes something almost identical, only in pie form with a pie crust 🙂

  9. Jason says:

    Do you think this recipe could be doubled in a 9×13 dish? If so, how much longer would you guess that it needs to bake?

    • Mel says:

      Jason – yes, I think it could work doubled. It seems odd, but sometimes with cakes baked in larger baking pans, the cooking time actually shortens or remains the same. You definitely don’t want to overbake it or else the pudding will be nonexistent so I’d suggest checking it 2-3 minutes less than the baking time in the recipe. Good luck!

  10. Luv2cook says:

    I made your slow cooker chocolate cake wich was soo good..i will make this next time I decide to cheat on my diet lol..carrot is my most favorite of cakes though.can you find a way to make a carrot pudding cake..all of your recipes are so gooood if anyone can help me with this it’s you

  11. Helen says:

    i’m from yorkshire, england (but now live in utah). this is one of my father’s favorite desserts. we call it ‘lemon snow’ at home. i’m excited to see how it compares.

  12. Mel says:

    Loralee – hmmm…the foodie in me is saying don’t do it! But I’m all about substitutions so you could definitely try it. The lemon flavor won’t be nearly as strong (especially if it is bottled juice) but in my world, everything is worth a try. Good luck!

  13. Loralee says:

    Do you think could I cheat and make this cake with just lemon juice, and no zest?

  14. Delectable Dining says:

    I don’t think yours lacks in presentation at all! It looks wonderful!

  15. Melody says:

    Yummy! I love Cook’s Country. I learn so much when I watch that show.

  16. Kevin says:

    With the cake and pudding layers that looks so good!

  17. leslie the licorice stick lady says:

    question—I really want to make this today for a family dinner, but I just wanted to know if you keep the towel in the roasting pan when you pour the water around the cake pan?

  18. Melanie says:

    JoAnn – glad you liked this and that it wasn’t too sickeningly sweet with double the sugar! Thanks for letting me know.

  19. teresa says:

    Mmm, I have a feeling I’d be licking the plate after eating this one!

  20. Norah says:

    I wondered how that cake would turn out. Its on my list of recipes from Cooks Country to try. Your picture looks great!

  21. Karine says:

    That looks great! Lemon is wonderdul when used as an ingredient for dessert!

  22. Melanie says:

    Nan – thanks for letting me know you liked this! I am on my way to check out your blog post about it…

  23. Melanie says:

    Cammee – you are so funny, of COURSE I would love your recipe for your Cinnamon Raisin Pudding Cake. By no means am I a goddess of cooking…I absolutely love it when people send me recipes! If you don’t mind, email it to melwg @ hotmail . com

  24. Bunny says:

    OMG the way this pudding separates into 2 layers is just like a lemon sponge pie!! I would love this!

  25. Nan says:

    This cake is amazing! I give it a 10. I tried it and posted about it on my blog.http://hobblecreekkitchen.blogspot.com/2009/07/too-much-fun.html
    Good work!

  26. Jo says:

    I love lemon and I love pudding style cakes also… not that I cook or eat too many of them!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  27. PheMom says:

    I saw from my phone the other day that you mentioned moving, but I was hoping it wasn’t far. Good luck with your move!

  28. Cammee says:

    I love pudding cakes! I have a yummy Cinnamon Raisin Pudding Cake that I make in the winter. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you the recipe. (Ok I feel really weird saying that to the Goddess of cooking blogs!)

  29. grace says:

    it sounds magical!! i’m not crazy about lemon desserts, but how could i resist something so neat and unique? very cool.

  30. Patsyk says:

    It sounds like a perfect dessert at this time of year! I think it looks delicious!

  31. Pam says:

    Mmmm. Now this is my idea of the PERFECT dessert. Bookmarked!

  32. Melanie says:

    Leslie – yes, you do keep the towel in the roasting pan. It helps the cake pan not slide around. Hope that helps!

  33. Simply Be Photo/Melissa says:

    I seriously had no idea that you were the kitchen cafe lady until Tori mentioned it to me. I have seen and heard people talk about your blog a TON! I’m hoping tomorrow holds out for us. I just looked at the forecast and….not so good.

  34. Vanessa Shannon says:

    This looks nummy! By the way, did I mention I love the little changes you made to this blog. Looks really clean and organized….my kind of blog!

  35. Colleen says:

    This looks very good – I love the texture of pudding cakes!

  36. Carrie says:

    Great picture! Looks yum-licious!

  37. Christy says:

    What a great, refreshing dessert for the summer temps!! Yummy!!

  38. Melanie says:

    Brittany – refreshing is a good way to describe this. I’m glad you and your friends liked it – thanks for letting me know.

  39. figtree says:

    Any lemon dessert and Im in. Looks fantastic!! Figtreeapps

  40. Cate O'Malley says:

    I love pudding cake, but have never made it before – yours looks fabulous!

  41. kitchenbelle says:

    This looks absolutely DELICIOUS. I love lemon desserts and the way you describe this one(sweet and cakey on top and silky and custardy on bottom) has my mouth watering!!!!

  42. [email protected] says:

    I love everything lemon!

    Thanks for posting such a wonderful treat!

  43. JoAnn says:

    Made this last night for dessert…and not being able to follow directions very well, I accidentally added about twice as much sugar as the recipe called for. It was still SO good.

  44. Brittany says:

    I made this last night for a group of my friends after a dinner party, and everyone loved it. Both rich in flavor and a refreshing treat. Thanks!

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