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5 from 3 votes

Lemon meringue cake

Lemon Meringue Swiss Roll is the ultimate summer dessert to serve. Filled with the dreamy, creamy flavours of summer, it is bound to be a hit. See recipe notes for converting this recipe to an Eton Mess Swiss Roll
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time42 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 383kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Swiss Roll tin (20cm x 30cm)

Ingredients

For the Meringue drops

  • 60 g/ 2 oz Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg white - large, free-range

For the Cake

  • 75 g/ ⅓ cup Caster sugar
  • 100 g/ ¾ cup Plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 Eggs - large, free-range
  • 1 Egg yolk - large, free-range
  • Zest of a lemon

For the Filling & Decoration

  • 4 tablespoon Lemon curd
  • 250 ml/ 1 cup Double (heavy) cream
  • 24 Blueberries
  • 3 Strawberries

Instructions

Make the Meringue Drops

  • Preheat the oven to 110C/ 225F/ GM ¼ and line a baking sheet with parchment
  • Whisk the egg white, using electric beaters, in a small mixing bowl until peaks form
  • Add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, continuously beating until all of the sugar is mixed in
  • Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a suitable nozzle and pipe small mounds of meringue onto the parchment (aim for ½ - ¾ cm drops)
  • Bake for 20 minutes and try to lift a few drops off the parchment. If they peel away easily, the meringues are sufficiently cooked and can come out of the oven. If not, continue to bake for another 10 minutes and try again
  • Once baked, let cool to room temperature

Make the Swiss Roll

  • Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F /GM 4. Grease the base and sides of a 20 x 30cm Swiss roll tin and line the base with baking parchment. Do not line the sides
  • Put the eggs and yolk plus the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for around 5 minutes until pale & thick enough to leave a trail when a spoonful is lifted out of the bowl and drizzled back in (the ribbon stage)
  • Sift the flour and fold half into the batter using a metal spoon. Fold the remaining flour in, along with the lemon zest. Take care to fold in the flour very gently, so the air whipped in previously is not knocked out
  • Pour into the baking tin, spread out evenly and cook for 10-12 minutes until the sponge is golden and firm. Overbaking the sponge will increase the risk of the cake breaking up, so keep a close eye on the cake as it bakes
  • Meanwhile, lay a sheet of parchment onto a worktop and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoon caster sugar
  • Working quickly, when the cake is baked remove it from the oven, run a sharp knife around the edges of the tin to loosen the cake and then immediately invert the tin over the parchment. The cake should come out of the tin easily
  • Remove the parchment used to line the tin from the back of the cake and trim the edges of the cake to neaten
  • Score a line across the short edge of the cake about 1.5 cm in (do not cut right through the cake though) - this will help the cake to roll
  • While the sponge is still warm (but not piping hot), roll the cake up into a tight spiral - use the parchment to help (the parchment will roll into the spiral of cake as you roll the cake). Let it cool completely on a wire rack

Filling the Cake

  • Reserve 4 blueberries and 1 strawberry (quartered) for decoration
  • Whip the cream until it holds its shape in firm peaks
  • Unroll the cake and spread the lemon curd over the base
  • Top with ⅓ - ½ of the cream and spread it out (don't overfill the cake or it will be difficult to re-roll
  • Dot meringue drops over the cake along with the remaining blueberries and the strawberries (chopped)
  • Carefully re-roll the cake and place seam down on a serving plate
  • Pipe the remaining cream onto the top and use the reserved fruit to decorate
  • Serve straight away or store in the fridge until ready to serve (allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving)
  • Best eaten within 24 hours

Notes

 

How to Convert to an Eton Mess Cake

  • Omit the lemon zest from the cake batter. Add 1tsp vanilla extract in its place
  • Use strawberry jam in place of lemon curd
  • Replace the blueberries with 2-3 extra strawberries

 

Expert Tips

  • For a light and airy sponge keep whisking the egg and sugar mixture until the ribbon stage is reached. This is when the batter is thick enough to leave a trail that remains visible for at least 3 seconds before it disappears back into the rest of the batter
  • Cook your cake until it is just ready. It should be golden on top and bounce back when pressed lightly with a finger. Avoid over or under-baking:
    • Underbaking leads to a dense and heavy cake
    • Overbaking causes the cake to crack when rolled
  • Be prepared for when the cake comes out of the oven (lay out parchment & sprinkle with sugar) then work quickly once the cake is out of the oven. It rolls up best when still quite hot
  • Make sure the cake is completely cold before filling. Whipped cream will collapse if it comes into contact with warmth and the cake will be ruined
  • It's up to you whether to make your own meringue drops (recipe included) or to use store-bought meringues crumbled into pieces. Either are perfectly acceptable
  • It's tempting to be over-generous when filling this cake, but do show restraint as an overfilled cake will not re-roll well
  • If your cake does crack during rolling these can be covered by piping cream over them when decorating the cake
 
How should this cake be stored?
Once assembled this cake should either be consumed within 1-2 hours or covered and refrigerated for later. Let it come back to room temperature for an hour before eating though, to let the flavours fully sparkle.
This cake will go stale quite quickly as it is a fatless sponge recipe. For this reason it is best made on the day it is needed and should be eaten within 24 hours.
Although it is possible to freeze this cake the texture of the fresh fruit will soften and emit liquid once defrosted. For this reason, I recommend eating this lemon Swiss roll fresh.
 
Why did my cake crack when I rolled it?
There are 2 reasons why the cake might crack. Either it was over-baked or it was allowed to cool too much before it was rolled. To avoid these pitfalls, take care to cook your cake until just baked and work quickly to roll it up as soon as it comes out of the oven.
 
Why is my cake heavy and dense?
It's likely that the batter was over-mixed once the flour was added. The flour should always be folded in very gently, using a large metal spoon, until only just mixed in. If you are certain the batter was not over-worked the alternative reason for a heavy sponge is that the cake was underbaked.

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 171mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 775IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg