I've always been a big fan of the zesty flavours lemon meringue so when I saw this recipe from John Whaite I had to try it out. Its a great example of how you can easily adapt and reimagine a classic recipe. This take on the classic consists of two lemon drizzle cakes sandwiched with lemon curd and Italian meringue.
Preheat your oven to 160°C/Gas 3 and grease and line your cake tins.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until it is much lighter and fluffy. I usually use an electric mixer but you could use a wooden spoon if you prefer.
Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
Sift the flour in to the mix and add both the ground almonds, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gently fold the ingredients together before dividing equally between the two tins.
Bake for around 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer comes out clean.
Now to prepare the drizzle. Add the sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan and put on a high heat. Once it starts boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes before removing from the heat and setting to one side.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
To make the Italian meringue you will need a heat proof bowl. Place the 4 egg whites in to the bowl and whisk until you get soft peaks, meaning when you lift the whisk out and hold it upside down the peaks are just starting to hold.
Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan and place over a medium heat. Do not stir the sugar at any point, leave it to boil. Using a sugar thermometer wait until the mixture reaches 118°C (soft-ball stage), it should take about 5 minutes. Once it reaches this temperature remove it from the heat straight away, being careful not to burn yourself.
Start whisking the egg whites again, pouring the sugar mixture around the side of the bowl. Carry on whisking until the meringue has cooled to room temperature. This will probably take 6-8 minutes.
Take one cake and place it bottom down on a plate or cake stand. Spoon half of the drizzle mix over the top and allow it to soak in for a minute or so. Next spread the cake with the lemon curd.
Fill a piping bag with a third of the meringue and pipe it on top of the cake. Take the second cake and place it upside down on top of the meringue meaning you'll have a flat top for your cake.
Spoon the remaining drizzle on the top. Take the rest of the meringue and pipe the meringue in to spikes, covering the top of the cake. If you have a cook's blowtorch feel free to add a dramatic finish to the meringue.
What better recipe to start of my baking blog with than one of my favourite go to Sunday afternoon bakes from former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite. Perfect anytime of the year this classic taste combination never tasted so good.