Lemon Meringue Cake from Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook- Celebrating Birthdays!

lemon meringue cake made by Beyond Umami with cake topper from Justine Ma
Lemon meringue cake with "Happy Birthday" cake topper from Justine Ma

Join me in celebrating hubby's birthday today!  I am impressed myself that I baked this cake! I decided that this year I would bake Dan a cake (last year I made profiteroles-by hand)! Now, not just any cake, but a cake from Duchess Bake Shop's Cookbook. At some point in my food resolutions (Food Resolutions 2016) I had set out to cook through Duchess' cookbook! Well, it has been a few years now and while I have made plenty of items from the cookbook I have yet to blog them all. About 2 years ago I made the Duke (chocolate) cake from Duchess' cookbook for Dan's birthday, so I felt that I would be able to tackle their lemon meringue cake.
Lemon Meringue Cake on a glass cake topper

ingredients for lemon cream in home made wheel thrown bowls.
ingredients for lemon cream - in my wheel thrown bowls
I recall the Duke cake taking me several days to get all the components together. This time it only took me 3 days of work, at separate times, to finish the cake. On Sunday, I made a batch of salted caramel using my own recipe. Mainly because I wanted a slightly darker caramel flavour. My recipe also does not use almond meal. 
lemon meringue cake mixture and whipped meringue on top
The making of the lemon meringue cake - meringue being added to the cake base
Monday morning I made the lemon cream. Instead of using the double boiler method listed in the book, I used the Vitamix on the hot soup function. This helped to speed up cooking and waiting time. Just make sure to cook the mixture to at least 170F before adding in the butter. You can use the same method I used here in my Vitamix Blender Lemon Cream Pie.

I found prepping everything first worked best (salted caramel, lemon cream, lemon syrup). That way, once the cakes are cooled, assembly is a breeze.

circular lemon cake from above still in metal pan
Lemon cake out of the oven. You only need to put a parchment paper circle on the bottom.
No need to oil or butter pan.

One thing to note about my cake. I actually ended up using two 9" pans as I could not for the life of me find the 8" pans that was needed. As I had purchased two pans already last time when I was making the Duke cake, I did the same procedure here and baked two lemon cakes. The upside in doing this is that I don't have to worry about how to cut the cake perfectly in half - horizontally! 

Once the cakes were cooled, I brushed on the lemon syrup. Because I used two cakes, I used the bottom of the cakes as the insides of my cake.
brushing on lemon syrup onto the lemon cakes

Then a little more than half a cup of salted caramel was poured onto the cake - the half that you have determined to be the bottom of the cake.
pouring salted caramel onto the lemon cakes

Since I had made my salted caramel the day before, I heated it up in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This ensured that the salted caramel was still spreadable but not so hot that it would leak everywhere. An inch or so was left around the edges so that no spillage would occur.
making sure the salted caramel is spread only to about half an inch from the edge of the cake

Lastly, the lemon cream was layered onto the cake. Then I popped on the top part of the cake, wrapped the entire thing in saran wrap and set it in the freezer.
pouring lemon cream onto the cake

The next day - which was this morning (Tuesday), I iced the cake with meringue. This has to be done fresh and it is important to work quickly as the meringue has to be caramelized to be set. This was the part where I think I got a bit nervous! Even though I work with meringue often, I don't often use it for icing a cake. Trying to make the meringue go on straight on the cake while being worried about being too fussy with the meringue was a real concern! You can't fiddle with the meringue too long, otherwise it starts to lose its shape and fall.
making of the whipped meringue

Finally, after some fiddling with the torch I managed to finish the lemon meringue cake! 
side profile of the lemon meringue cake

Whew! It was also a bit touch an go when it came to moving the cake onto the cake stand. Thankfully, Dan has a big flat lifter for bread making so that made it much easier! The lemon meringue cake I made is a bit rough around the edges and also slightly bigger than the one in the cookbook (due to those 9" pans). However, I am sure it will taste great! Will keep you posted as we are having the birthday cake tonight! fingers crossed that I had enough of a layer of salted caramel and lemon cream.

Another view of the lemon meringue cake.
This time with the cake topper lower & catching the afternoon light.
Will I make this Duchess cake again? For sure. It was certainly easier to put together compared to my experience with the Duke. I do eventually want to find an 8' cake pan, but for now it works fine using the two cake pans. There are also more than enough ingredients to fill the cake and meringue to cover the cake. I just need to work more on my meringue "icing" skills.


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