Lemon Pudding Cake

This simple dessert is light, custardy, and filled with the bright flavor of lemon. The batter is divided between individual ramekins so each soufflé cake is just the right serving for one person. Our lemon pudding cakes are technically soufflés, and even though soufflés have an intimidating reputation, this one is exceptionally easy to make. Consisting of a simple lemon custard that is made airy by the gentle incorporation of whipped egg whites, you'll feel like a bonafide pastry chef without the intense labor of other technical confections. Once in the oven, the air in the whipped egg whites expands dramatically, causing the lemon pudding cakes to rise above the edge of the ramekin while maintaining their perfect circular shape. After they're removed form the oven, the tops will sink slightly, but the inside will still be fluffy and delicately perfumed with the fragrance of lemon zest and the tang of lemon juice. A dusting of powdered sugar adds both an additional touch of sweetness and visual appeal for a dessert that lives up to its presentation. If the tartness of traditional lemons is too much for you, consider substituting Meyer lemons for the lemons called for in the recipe—their sweeter flesh and herbal fragrance makes for lemon pudding cakes that aren't as tart as those made using conventional lemons.

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
4 individual cakes


  • 3 lemons

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 3 eggs, separated

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Zest 2 of the lemons and set zest aside. Juice all lemons until you have 1/4 cup lemon juice; set aside.

  2. Whisk together sugar, flour, lemon juice, and egg yolks until homogenous. In a saucepan, heat milk until just beginning to steam but not boiling. Remove from heat and slowly stream in half of the warm milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Once fully combined, return saucepan to medium heat and whisk milk while streaming in the warm egg mixture. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir until melted and combined. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

  3. While custard is cooling, rub the inside of four 7-ounce ramekins with 1/4 teaspoon butter per ramekin. Divide 1 tablespoon sugar between 4 ramekins and turn each ramekin around so the sugar coats the entire inside surface. Discard excess sugar inside ramekin. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium-high with whisk attachment until whites begin to foam, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly stream in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Transfer cooled custard to a mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the egg whites into the custard until no streak of white remain. Add remaining egg whites and gently fold until fully combined, being careful not to stir the mixture. Divide batter between prepared ramekins.

  6. Bake until tops are golden brown, 28 to 30 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

    Lemon Pudding Cake
    Micah A. Leal
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