Years ago, probably just before or around the time that I started this blog, I firmly believed I did not like lemon or really any citrus desserts.  And then one evening, we had dinner at our friends’ house and for dessert they served a lemon pudding cake.  Of course I accepted it out of politeness but was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it. It was both sweet and tart, with a cake layer on the bottom and a top that was more – well, pudding like.  That single dessert was what opened my mind to the possibility that other lemon desserts might be not horrible.

Recently I received a gorgeous box of Meyer lemons from a reader’s mother who lives in California and happens to have so many lemons growing on her tress that she is giving them away.  How lucky am I?!  I have quite a wealth of lemons and in pondering all the ways I plan to use them, I recalled that first lemon pudding cake that opened my mind.  I figured it was time to revisit it and see if it was really as good as I remembered.  No surprise – it was.


  • Softened butter, for greasing the dishes
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar, divided, plus more for coating the dishes
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs, separated


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Lightly grease the inside of six to eight 8-ounce ramekins with the softened butter and coat with sugar.  Prepare a baking dish or roasting pan by lining the inside of the pan with a clean kitchen towel.  Place the prepared ramekins on top of the towel inside the baking dish.

  • 02

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ¾ cup of the sugar and salt.  Add in the lemon zest and rub the zest into the flour mixture until evenly combined and fragrant.  In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and egg yolks.  Whisk to blend, and set aside.

  • 03

    In a separate medium bowl, combine the egg whites and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Whisk or beat until soft peaks form, being careful not to over beat.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the buttermilk and whisk until well incorporated.  Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the bowl and fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining whites in two more additions.

  • 04

    Once the batter is evenly combined and all the egg whites have been incorporated, divide evenly between the prepared ramekins.  Fill the baking dish or roasting pan with hot water so that it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  • 05

    Tent the pan with foil, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 20-30 minutes more, just until the cakes rise up and are lightly browned on top.

  • 06

    Transfer the ramekins to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.  (If you have home canning equipment, I found a jar gripper very useful for this!)  When ready to serve, gently run a paring knife around the edges of each cake and invert onto serving plates.  Top as desired with candied lemon slices, whipped cream, etc.

  • I’ve always loved lemony sweets (though I’m not such a fan of orange). The.Boy doesn’t quite understand my obsession, but the way I see it…more for me. Like, this whole batch of pudding cakes. All mine.

  • Liz N.

    My mom will so thrilled to see this recipe and I cannot wait to make this over the weekend! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have a few lemons left to use so this will be perfect! Love it!

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These sound so neat! I love the idea of a “pudding cake”! Yum!

  • I keep hearing about these Meyer lemons on people’s blogs, do they taste different to normal lemons? The puddings look gorgeous by the way :)

  • annieseats

    Yes, they do taste different. A Meyer lemon is a hybrid between a lemon and a mandarin orange, so it has a different flavor. Though to be honest, this is probably the first time that the difference has been noticeable to me – I think because these were fresh and organic, versus the conventional kind from the store that I have tried previously.

  • Amelia

    Meyer lemons are the best! I stock my fridge when they are in season. These little pudding cakes look delicious! Perfect light dessert or for a ladies afternoon.
    By the way, the Cabernet short ribs on valentines were a hit! Everyone practically licked their plates clean. :)

  • Christina

    You can make lemon curd for Southern Living’s Lemon-Yogurt Crumb Cake. Perfect for Easter!

  • JS71

    Is that a candied lemon on the top or a slice of real Meyer Lemon?

  • annieseats

    It is a candied slice of Meyer lemon.

  • annieseats

    Woohoo! So glad to hear it.

  • Elizabeth from Indy

    Hard to believe you used to not love lemons: your lemon loaf cake may be my favorite dessert ever. And now I want some. :)

  • Kensey Gosch

    Okay, this may be a stupid question, but I don’t understand the kitchen towel part. Do you bake these with the kitchen towel (covered with water) in the pan?

  • Candy

    I made this recipe last night! I had a slight hiccup when I realized I didn’t have enough ramekins to make individuals (yay, toddlers), so instead, I made it in one of the bigger, oblong shaped corningware dishes. It turned out superb!! I didn’t know if it would turn out as one big cake, but it did so perfectly. Dollop of freshly whipped cream, and it was heaven on a plate. Thanks, Annie!

  • BlueCrabMartini

    LOVE Meyer Lemons! My mom grows them and it’s such a treat when I get to have a few. I use them in a lot of my recipes. Can’t wait to try them in your dessert!

  • What a sweet gesture from your reader! Looks like the lemons were put to very good use too. :) Meyer lemons aren’t common here at all, I’ve often been tempted to buy a tree just so I can make some of the many wonderful meyer lemon recipes floating around!

  • Sarah @ Miss CandiQuik

    These little cakes look amazing! I love Meyer lemons and never knew the real difference until a few years ago when I used them for a cookie recipe – thanks for sharing!

  • annieseats

    Good to know, thanks for sharing! I considered doing part in a large dish to see how it would go. Glad to know it worked out.

  • annieseats

    No, not stupid – I totally wondered the same thing. Yes, the towel is in the pan and is wet. It provides extra insulation.

  • Tracy

    I have a few friends who claim to not like lemon, yet amazingly, the right recipe turns them around! What a lovely get to a box of lemons. These pudding cakes are gorgeous!

  • Nicole

    slightly adapted the recipe? I don’t see any difference, other than you wrote the recipe list in a different order. looks delicious though

  • annieseats

    Wrote instructions in my own words, didn’t add jam on the top = slightly adapted. I suppose I could have just given no credit and called them my own, as a lot of bloggers do.

  • Aimee

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate how you always give credit where credit is due. You even go the extra mile of citing the original source along with the blog you found it on. I really can’t think of more than a few other bloggers who do that. Anyway, haters gonna hate.

  • annieseats

    Thanks Aimee!