The wonderful lemon meringue cake is one of those projects that you would think would be more or less duplicated by all of the bakers. After all, it's just a layer cake filled with lemon curd and topped with meringue. But, surprisingly, differences in the size of the cake, as well as the design and browning of the meringue led to cakes that were as individual as the bakers themselves.
For one thing, several people balked at the idea of turning their oven on to 500 degrees on a sweltering August day, and instead used their mini-propane torch, which had hitherto probably been used only for creme brulees, if used at all.
Monica ("apparently all I needed to do for Tom to propose to me was to make this cake"), Jennifer ("the curd has been bullied into tasting good by the rest of the components"), Nancy B. ("didn't set the cardboard round on fire either"), and Mendy ("I bet [friend who turned down the cake because she only eats things sweetened with agave] is having second thoughts now about her whole off-the-sugar kick") all opted for the torch. Candi briefly considered the torch, but decided Rose must have had a reason for not recommending it, so she went with the hot oven. I wonder if there is a reason. Torchers, what do you think?
Nancy B., Jenn, and Jennifer all made half-recipes. This seems to be a growing trend. (A shrinking trend?)
Katya was one of the very few who took liberties with the recipe, using rhubarb curd instead of lemon curd, which would seemingly make it a rhubarb meringue cake. Katya's post is also noteworthy for comparing her technique of removing the cake's crusts ("pinching and rolling and peeling it") to peeling off sunburnt skin. Katya also said this was the best Italian meringue she's ever made--very impressive in my eyes, as it implies that she's made a whole cartload of them.
On the other hand, Vicki deserves a cartload of credit for making this cake because she hates meringue. Her childhood question: "Why did meringue have to shove whipping cream, the stuff of [her] dreams, off a perfectly good pie and runin it?" And yet, turning from the Sunday paper to the computer to see what the Early Posters made of this week's cakes, she decided to jump on the bandwagon and started her "meringue monstrosity at 3:30 a.m." Good news--Vicki's now a convert, and "Baked Alaska is suddenly calling [her] name."
Raymond just plain loved this cake, calling it "light, tart, and refreshing," and "just what the doctor ordered this week."
This week's FEATURED BAKER is Gartblue, who baked this cake for her own birthday! Happy belated birthday, Gartblue! Even though "Malaysians don't quite fancy sour cakes," Gartblue took this into the office, where "Azlan was sent deliriously ecstatic to LemonHeaven and Hazel licked her fingers shamelessly." Her own review of the cake: "It’s a magnificent cake. A show-stopper. A drama queen and not an ounce of fat in sight. It was so decadently rich in appearance but tasted as light as a feather." (Well, there is some fat in the lemon curd, but let's just forget about that and pretend we're eating non-fat cake this week).
Next week is a fruit dessert, but you would be stretching it a little if you called it healthy, what with its glorious-sounding caramel sauce. And you wouldn't have to serve it with whipped cream, but don't you think you should? Remember to make this cake the day before you want to eat it.
The following week, we're back to chocolate, and I hope that you're ready for the Chocolate Feather Bed cake after our 2-week chocolate hiatus. If I'm remembering correctly (which I wouldn't bet on), Katya made this cake for Passover, and praised it highly. If this is true, maybe you could pass along some tips? If I'm hallucinating, never mind.