Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake

I seem to be on a bit of a lemon kick, lately. To be more specific, a frozen lemon dessert kick. I recently posted a down-home family fave, a Frozen Lemonade Pie, and now I’m posting this more sophisticated Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake.

Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake
Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake

This is a family fave, too. It’s utterly delish, make ahead and the flavors are mind bending! If you think of orange creamsicles but translate that flavor in your mind to lemon, and then up that flavor profile to a whole new level of intensity, you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about, here.

I’ve been making this for decades, literally, first culled from an old Gourmet (I’m a bit embarrassed to say 1979!!) although I’ve adapted it just a bit. I was able to find it on Epicurious and this is what they have to say about it:

Three cheers for any dessert that can be made two days ahead, frozen, and then softened in the fridge while guests and cook alike enjoy dinner. And all the better if it is a truly memorable finale that sets off waves of flavor explosions: sweet meringue, cold ice cream, and puckery lemon curd.

Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake
Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake

This cake is easy, but each step requires a bit of time – the meringue takes time, then the ice-cream has to be softened so it’s spreadable, the curd needs cool, then it has to all be frozen after assembly. Don’t let that deter you – it’s mostly hands off time – just start a couple days ahead. I sometimes make this just to stash in the freezer so it’s ready to pop out and serve – Gourmet says it keeps for two days but I’ve kept one in the freezer for a week or two with no problem.

I always make a recipe and a half of the lemon curd so it can be spread across the top, so I’ve adapted the recipe, below, to reflect that. I like to garnish with strips of Candied Lemon Peel which I think is much better than garnishing with lemon slices, but that’s up to you, and really, it doesn’t truly need “garnishing” – it’s just nice.

The finished cake is not super attractive, although the individual slices are, and every time I make it I think I should have simply lined only the bottom of the spring form with plastic wrap, and then attached a long strip of parchment to the inside of the spring form pan (maybe using a little meringue as the “glue”) so it wouldn’t get “wrinkles” from the plastic. Every time I make it, I seem to forget!

When you buy lemons, choose by weight, not size or color. The heavier the lemon, the juicier it is! I like to look for sales of two or three to a dollar.

Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake
Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake – This is still frozen pretty hard – the looks do improve as it softens a bit in the fridge before serving.

Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: varies
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

For meringue layers:

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 200°F.

Using the bottom of an 8″ springform pan as a guide, draw 2 (8-inch) circles on one sheet of parchment and a third (8-inch) circle on the second sheet of parchment. Turn paper over (circles will be visible). Place on large baking sheets.

Beat whites with cream of tartar and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, then increase speed to high and continue beating until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks, about 4 minutes in a stand mixer or 8 to 10 minutes with a handheld.

Divide meringue mixture among 3 circles, spread evenly within lines, and gently smooth tops. Bake until firm and very pale golden, about 2 hours, then let stand in turned-off oven (door closed) until firm, about 1 hour.

Slide parchment sheets with meringue layers onto racks to cool completely. Carefully lift meringue and peel off parchment when cool (or it may stick.) May be made a day ahead and carefully wrapped.

For filling & assembly:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 medium lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from 3 medium lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
  • 1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream (preferably premium) softened in the refrigerator to a spreadable consistancy (about 30 minutes)

Special equipment: 2 (15- by 12-inch) sheets of parchment paper; an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan; plastic wrap

Make curd while meringues bake:

For the smoothest curd, pass eggs and yolks through a sieve. Set aside.

Whisk together lemon juice, zest, sugar, yolks, whole eggs, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until mixture is thickened and just reaches a boil, about 6 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

Assembly:

Line springform pan with 2 crisscrossed sheets of plastic wrap. Arrange 1 meringue layer (trimming if necessary) flat side down in springform pan and spread 1 cup ice cream over it, then evenly spread 1/3 of lemon curd over ice cream.

Cover curd with another meringue layer, then spread remaining cup ice cream over meringue. Spread 1/3 curd on top, then cover curd with remaining meringue layer, flat side up. Spread final curd layer over the top (pan will be full.) Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Cover top with the excess wrap after frozen.

To serve:

About 1 hour before serving, uncover cake and put cake in refrigerator to soften slightly. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to platter, then cut into wedges with a long serrated knife.

Cooks’ note:

Cake can be frozen up to 2 weeks. Once cake is firm, cover with plastic wrap; remove plastic wrap before softening cake in refrigerator. Garnish as desired, with slices of lemon or candied lemon peel.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Gourmet

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Today, of course, I’ll be linking to our very own Throwback Thursday Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our latest Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or, as always, to see all the links or add your own, click on the little blue frog, below.

And, as I do almost every Friday, I’ll be linking up to Angie’s Fiesta Friday – this week is Fiesta Friday 123, co-hosts this week are Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere.

I’m happy to say this was featured at Fiesta Friday!!

47 thoughts on “Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake”

    1. My pleasure! I was a little out of it today, so your comment was the first I knew about the feature! I’m so glad you stopped by and I hope you’ll try it and love it as much as we do!

  1. Ummm 1979….I was just graduating college and I don’t think I even knew what a meringue entailed! But how I love this cake! Always look for no bake options, make ahead and lemon is my fave. Will be making this for sure! Love tried and true recipes. 1980, I was totally starting to cook so not too far behind you Mollie!:)

    1. Lol! Well I was a bit of a food geek! And I got all my Mom’s old Gourmets, so I probably didn’t make it right away…How I treasured those…even though I didn’t even know what half the stuff in them was!!

  2. If it were possible to jump through my screen, I would love to have a slice in front of me right now. This looks beautiful and so good Mollie. Thanks for sharing it at Fiesta Friday! 🙂

  3. I’ve always loved lemon meringue pie, but truth be told, I couldn’t have cared less about the meringue…it was all about the lemon custard – this looks like the perfect dessert for me! Lemon curd and ice cream?! I’m sold!

  4. Many years ago, I asked my then boyfriend (now husband) what kind of cake he would like for his birthday. He replied lemon meringue. I think he thought he was being funny, as no such thing existed then that we knew of. So I invented one. Nothing like this one though, so I’ll have to try your much improved recipe.

    1. Hilda, I think a Lemon Meringue Cake would be wonderful! I can just see it – white cake with a lemon filling and a seven minute icing that’s been torched a bit for the meringue! But there’s something about an ice-cream cake!

      Do you know that commercial for Baskin Robbins? Ice-creamy cakey cake, ice-creamy cakey cake! ? That was running thru my mind while I made this…

    1. Thanks Kris – it’s really very, very good! The texture is amazing and the flavor out of this world! Now that I think about it, all recipes should have a ratio of work to “wows”…

  5. Seriously Mollie? If I ever make an elegant dessert, THIS would be it. I just love a good lemon dessert. OK and a really fluffy cold chocolate mousse. I’m not much of a sweeter eater, but I I am picky when I do eat them, lol!

    1. Thanks – and you SHOULD make this – Everyone should, lol!! I haven’t had mousse in ages!! I loved going to restaurants and ordering mousse when I was a kid – it was really popular back then!

  6. Sounds yum but I can’t make it yet….I have no oven..boo hoo….just moved and you don’t get many ovens in Thailand..just hobs and BBQ’S and no room for oven but this house has two kitchens …no plugs in the second one…don’t ask but am on the case and soon very soon I will have an oven…

  7. Mollie, What a wonderful and elegant dessert! And its absolutely gorgeous too!It surely sounds like a great make ahead dessert!

    1. It really is, on all counts. I haven’t made it for awhile so it was so fun to break out the recipe and do it! It’s nice that I’m at my folks and have extra people to divvy up desserts with so I can make more of them!

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