Luscious (and Easy) Lemon Pudding Cake

Cue Porgy and Bess! Now playing on Broadway in a Tony-winning revival! Summertiiime … and the lemon is eeeeeasy… Not exactly how the lyric goes, but I have been waiting all my life to write that. Okay all morning. This Lemon Pudding Cake is as classic and certainly as old as the beloved Gershwin tune. It’s a light-cakey-creamy-puddin’y-just-righty dessert that’s good with anything.

Lemon Pudding Cake
Lemon Pudding Cake, especially good with those juicy summer berries we have right now. Photo via the BBC GoodFood blog.

Since the BBC Good Food blog was kind enough to supply this photo, and since the Olympics are in London, home of the BBC, I will point out that the British call every dessert a “pudding.” You could be having ice cream sandwiches for dessert, but if a Brit asked if you were having “a pudding,” you would be obliged to say “yes.” Or you could elaborate and say “yes, we are having Eskimo Pies,” which is an excellent dessert, btw.

But this lemon thing actually is a pudding and brought to you today to eliminate confusion at dessert time while watching the Olympics in Britain, where they call everything a pudding. Even tarts are puddings. Not all tarts are puddings, of course; just as not all puddings are tarts, like this one is not.

You know what I’m trying to say.

Here is the recipe pretty much straight from Charleston Receipts, speaking of classic. It makes a light fluffy cake on top and a thick, luscious, silken sauce on bottom. The recipe says to serve warm, but I’ve made it the night before and served it cold the next day–and it was fine, child. More than fine. I’ve also doubled it and found it served 10 easily with a bit left over. I adjusted the cooking time to 45 minutes, but you should check it as you go along.

Read the recipe through before beginning. You should always do this of course, but you don’t always. Note that you beat egg yolks and whites separately, and that the casserole is baked in a water bath, that is a shallow pan large enough to hold water and the casserole dish without the water spilling over. Put the larger pan in the oven first, then add the water. When it’s time to bake the dessert put the dish right in the pan with the water.

Life-changing: If you microwave lemons for 40 to 60 seconds before juicing them, you will get twice the juice. But grate the rinds before-hand, while they are firm–and grate the yellow part only; the white pith is bitter.

Lemon Pudding
Serves: 4
Printer Friendly Version
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
  1. 1 cup sugar (I use 2/3 cup)
  2. 3 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 2 eggs, separated, yolks beaten and whites beaten into stiff peaks
  5. 1 lemon, juiced and finely grated peel
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 350, and butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Combine sugar and flour.
  3. Add milk and well-beaten egg yolks, lemon juice and grated rind.
  4. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, and pour into buttered baking dish.
  5. Bake about 35 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Serve warm or make ahead and chill overnight.
  7. Yum.
Frances Schultz


  1. Sounds DIVINE! And wonderfully old fashioned. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways, thank you lovely ladies of Charleston (and Miss Frances, of course)

  2. Frances, this sounds luscious; i want to make it this rainy afternoon; is the flour plain or self rising? or does it matter? 🙂

    1. Hi Sonya and good question. The flour is plain all-purpose. But because we are beating egg whites, humidity is a factor. It helps if the eggs are a few days old, and your bowl and utensils should be completely dry. Adding a little acid – teaspoon of lemon juice – or cream of tartar – 1/8 teaspoon per white – can also help. I found a good little list of tips on eHow as well: Thanks so much and let me know how it goes.

  3. This recipe should be in every girl’s hope chest…so good it makes you cry. Mine came from Troy, N.C. friends. Ah, lemon!
    xo, Lynn

  4. This is great recipe because I always have the ingredients in my larder! ( been wantin’ to use the word larder forever )

  5. Thanks Frances!! Looks so yummy can’t wait to try and the microwave lemon tip is keeper – thx for that too!!

    1. Dears, thank you all so much for writing and I am tickled you all like this. Also, as Debbie pointed out – you almost always have the ingredients on hand… 🙂

  6. Summertime?! I remember you singing that number in Lyford Quays or was it “Keys” (off-key?) about 25 years ago

    1. Darling Paul, it was Lyford Cay, pronounced key, and surely I could not have been off-cay. It must have been someone else 😉 xox

  7. Hi, i meant to write sooner, the pudding was a pleaser, but I need to tweak it; i didn’t have plain flour on hand so I used cake; and I should have cooked it a bit longer; forgot what you wrote! but everyone loved it anyway, will try again.

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