Lemon Pudding Cake


Rarely have I made dessert for my family, unless it’s a special occasion. I have nothing against desserts, but to me, they’re not part of a daily meal plan. I believe everyday food should be nourishing, so I save cakes and pies for celebrations.

However, when I was a private cook for a family, I made a lot of desserts. These desserts weren’t necessarily fancy; my people just felt like a meal wasn’t complete without dessert. So that’s when I bought a lot of dessert cookbooks.

Before I owned the book Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax, I’d never heard of a pudding cake. But after I made one, I was hooked.

What is it you might ask? Well, it is a pudding-y cake. That probably doesn’t help much. You prepare a cake batter that is very thin and cook it in a bain marie. I’ve also made some pudding cakes where the recipe states that you pour boiling water into the batter before baking.

Now a pudding cake isn’t something I’d prepare for a fancy meal, because it’s essentially a softer gooeyer version of a brownie. It’s pretty enough, but more preferable for a casual get together or late night snack. Trust me. I’ve made a chocolate pudding cake….

So here’s Richard Sax’s recipe. And by the way, although this book was published in 1994, it is so full of fascinating information from the author who was definitely an authority on desserts. I just discovered that a newer version, complete with a James Beard award, was printed in 2001.

Lemon Pudding Cake
serves 4

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with a rack in the center. Butter a 1-to 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch oval gratin dish or an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.


In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice; pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until blended.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high-high speed until they form soft peaks. Fold a little of the egg whites into the lemon mixture; gently fold in the remainder.

Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Place the baking dish in a slightly larger roasting pan; set on the center rack of the oven. Pour in enough hot tap water to reach about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.


Bake until the surface of the pudding is lightly golden, about 35 minutes. (The bottom layer will still be quite liquid.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.


Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.


You can tell how tender this cake is, and see the pudding-like layer on the bottom.


I serve this pudding cake with a few blackberries and some powdered sugar. It would definitely benefit from some slightly sweetened whipped cream as well.


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31 thoughts on “Lemon Pudding Cake

  1. Growing up dessert was a part of every meal, we had it in some form every single day. Mom made a lemon pudding cake like this and it was one of my favorites. I have to try this recipe it looks so good.

  2. Gorgeous, Mimi! My family was like yours. Desserts were incidental, but usually never homemade. Dessert was the rare treat when mom would bring hom Entenmanns chocolate chip cookies.

  3. First of all, your views on desserts and mine are exactly the same… (I am not too surprised.. :-)

    second, lemond pudding cake has been on my mile-long list of stuff to do for the past 5 years or more

    third, I never thought of making it in a rectangular shape – and find it particularly attractive this way…

    I am making this. I promise! ;-)

  4. I’ve never heard the term pudding cake! Your recipe is similar to an Aussie Lemon Delicious. The Chocolate version is called a self saucing pudding. It does look very delicious!

  5. What a fabulous recipe. I grew up on “pudding cakes,” but they were boxed cake with the addition of boxed pudding mix. LOL! I think it’s safe to say this is a huge improvement. I can’t wait to make it. I’m out of eggs or I’d be making it right now! :-)

  6. I’m like you, I consider desserts to be for special occasions (that’s why dessert is special!). I may just have to invent an occasion for making this cake! I love anything lemon, and the addition of the blackberries is genius!

  7. I love it. So many different types of “pudding cakes”. This looks fabulous and so moist!

    Of course, having lived in the UK, they call just about any cake a “pudding”. And that is where I also learned to make the type of cake you mention – where you add boiling water.

    Whatever you call it, yours looks great and so easy. I’m giving it a try.

    P.S. Sorry you haven’t heard much from me but I took bit of a break…

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