Friday, August 5, 2011

Lemon Cherry Pudding Cakes

I bet you remember having the old classic Lemon Pudding Cake at some point in your life. It’s a pillow of flavor and texture, the quintessential comfort dessert that was probably presented to you by your mom or grandmother way back when. I decided to resurrect it here with an added bonus of fresh cherries placed at the bottom of each cup.

Part of the fun of this dessert is that it seems like a bit of a mystery to produce. There are more wet ingredients than dry and the inclusion of whipped egg whites lightens the whole mixture into a loose cloud. Although you don’t follow the conventional methods for making either a cake or pudding, as it bakes, the batter somehow transforms and separates into two distinct textures: a nice light cake at the top and a lovely soft pudding at the bottom. Magic!

Even if you don’t have any cherries but find yourself with a few lemons, give this dessert a try anyway. It’s a simple and delicious comfort well worth the effort.

Bench notes:
- I doubled the butter to 2 oz (4 T) and I melted it to make it easier to blend with the other ingredients.
- These are good either warm or at room temperature. They will probably keep for a day or so in the refrigerator but I don’t think the texture of the cake or the pudding will be the same.
- Taste the cherries as they cook to determine how much sugar to add.

Lemon Cherry Pudding Cakes
adapted with some alteration from Food & Wine
Makes 6 servings

12 oz fresh cherries, pitted
1 1/2 T water
1 - 1 1/2 T sugar, to taste

3/4 C sugar, divided
1/3 C flour
1 C milk
5 T fresh lemon juice
1 t finely grated lemon zest
3 eggs, separated
1 oz (2 T) butter, at room temperature (I used 2 oz, melted)
1/4 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease six 6-ounce ramekins.

Place the pitted cherries in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes or until the fruit is softened. Set aside to cool. Distribute them equally among the six ramekins.

Whisk all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the flour. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolks. Whisk in the melted butter until well blended. Combine the lemon mixture with the sugar and flour mixture and whisk until smooth. The mixture will be very thin and may look curdled.

Beat the egg whites with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the salt until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture one-third at a time. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and place them in a small roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake the pudding cakes for about 25 minutes or until they are puffy, firm to the touch and golden on top. Use tongs to carefully transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Saucy Siciliana said...

Oh, this pudding looks so tempting! I love it! I'm following you from Rome! I have a sweet tooth!:)

Melanie said...

I've recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it. I love the way you play with flavors and textures.

What kind of cherries do you think would be best for this? I'd like to get some cherries at the farmer's market and try this recipe.

pastry studio said...

Greetings Ciccia and Melanie!

I used bing cherries for this recipe. You could use other types and adjust the sugar, but I think bings have the most assertive flavor in combination with the lemon.

Deb said...

Enticing combination of cherries and lemon. Lovely summer celebration, thank you!

Heather Smoke said...

Pudding and cake together is heavenly! I love the addition of the cherries. :)

Sage said...

Wow! Your blog is absolutely stunning. Gorgeous photos, beautiful food, perfect writing to accompany. It is the newest addition to my (short) list of blogs to follow. As I am in thailand for a year with no oven and limited ingredient access, I survive by reading blogs like yours. Truly fantastic ! Thanks for what you do! So inspiring!

pastry studio said...

Sage, welcome and thank you very much!

union street kitchen witch said...

A wonderful recipe using mostly pantry staples! And such beautiful results...just what the rainy day baker needs.

Ashley with Dress My Cupcake said...

This pudding cake looks absolutely delicious! You can tell how light and fluffy it is by just looking at the photo! I cannot wait to try this recipe out, it would be so refreshing on a summer day. Thanks for sharing!
Manager, Dress My Cupcake (

Beth said...

I love lemon pudding cake. What do you think of using fresh berries such as blueberries, blackberries or raspberries as alternatives to the cherries? They all go nicely with cherries and come into season at different times.

Love the site, long time lurker, first comment. Keep up the great work.

pastry studio said...

Thank you so much, Beth! Yes, I think those are all good alternatives to the cherries and I meant to include the suggestion in the bench notes. The berries may be a bit more tart so bear that in mind. Hope you enjoy!

Bryan said...

i've been thinking about pudding cakes ever since Modern Tea closed years ago. i loved theirs.

the addition of cherries is perfect here. i used sours!
and added kirch in the batter.

simple and delicious, thanks!

pastry studio said...

Hey Bryan, you are most welcome. Kirsch sounds like a perfect topper! Glad you enjoyed this simple little pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, this looks goood!

Marianne Evans said...

Since it's not cherry season, what would you think of using canned bing cherries? They're S&W brand so should be pretty reliable.

pastry studio said...

Hello, Marianne. If you have a reliable brand you like, go ahead and use them! Just drain them well and pop them in. I hope you enjoy this dessert!