Aunt Mariah's Lemon Sponge Cups

By • April 20, 2010 95 Comments

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Author Notes: I found the recipe for these lemon sponge cups in my Aunt Mariah's old-fashioned recipe box (an actual box), when I was visiting with her in my hometown, Galax, Virginia, to learn how to make her exquisite, feathery rolls. The rolls took lots of practice. The lemon sponge cups, though, were a breeze; also, they make you feel fancy, like a lady. You pour the batter into individual souffle dishes or ramekins, and when they come out of the oven they have cute puffy-brown tops, with a layer of lemon custard on the bottom. Without whipped cream, they are perfectly light and sour-sweet; but a spoonful of whipped cream is always nice for company. - ENunn

Food52 Review: We're so glad ENunn unearthed her Aunt Mariah's version of this classic lemon pudding cake -- its evocative name, mellowed lemon pucker and bare sweetness thoroughly won us over. In one fell swoop, you get two desserts: a delicate, airy cake that rises to the top and browns handsomely, and a lush lemony custard that pools at the bottom, waiting for your spoon. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 lemon, grated rind and juice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream butter. Add sugar, flour salt, lemon juice and rind. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks; stir in milk. Slowly add second mixture to first mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff; gently fold into mixture. Pour into ramekins or individual souffle dishes and place in pan of hot water. Bake in "moderate" oven (350, in my case) for 45 minutes. You will have a layer of lemon custard, with gorgeous, lightly browned sponge on top. Let cool a bit. Turn out and serve with whipped cream, or serve still in the dish. You can also bake this in one large souffle dish. Aunt Mariah likes to garnish with a thin slice of lemon.

Tags: Easy, lemon

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Comments (95) Questions (10)


4 months ago Matilde

These are so wonderful, such adorable little cakes!


6 months ago SallyAnn Wolanczyk

Made it in a single 2qt soufflé dish and it's came out perfect. Wish this thread allowed photos to be added


6 months ago Elaine Rodney

Should i use plain or slf raising flor ?


11 months ago Alice

Where can you buy those lovely glass cups???


11 months ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Provisions; they are egg coddlers.


11 months ago Alice

Ok the ones that are in provisions are definitely not the ones pictured in the recipe :(


about 1 year ago Lisa addario

How far up the sides of the cups should the water be? How full should the cups be?


over 1 year ago Tom Salamone

Not sure I understand "1 lemon, grated rind and juice". Does this mean you use the white rind in addition to the zest? I thought you have to carefully grate the zest off of the rind to avoid a bitter taste. Anyone? Thank you.


over 1 year ago sfpipeline

Use the zest and juice.


over 1 year ago Tom Salamone



over 1 year ago Lisanne

Yummy! I made them in coffee cups, they unmolded beautifully without benefit of cooking spray! A lovely light finish to lunch,


over 1 year ago Rosie

I love the little ramekins. Where can I purchase these?


over 1 year ago Jen

Due to its custard-like texture (in the bottom of the ramekin), how will I know when it's done? I would imagine doneness may be gauged by checking the sponge (or top portion) with a toothpick. Is this correct? I very much look forward to making this!


over 1 year ago Superyalda

I made these tonight and served them with caramel oranges with cardamom on the side
OMG! These are like lemon custard topped with lemon cheesecake! Made them exactly as directed and they came out absolutely perfect. I ended up with 7 servings.
They come out of the cup pretty easily too, so I was able to plate it with a oranges. Spectacular! It's midnight. The dishes are done. I'm going to get another one!


over 1 year ago Lori

I'd like to make these, but can't eat wheat. What might I use as a replacement for the flour? Would cornstarch work?


over 1 year ago nutcakes

I've seen a recipe that used 1/2 cornstarch and 1/2 rice flour.


over 1 year ago sfpipeline

I used a commercial gluten-free flour, but you could make your own mix: 3 c. rice flour
1 c. cornstarch
1 c. tapioca starch
1 c. potato flour


over 1 year ago mudpuppy

These are beyond fantastic! I used 1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars to bake them.... then you can put the lids on after they are cool to transport. Was a complete hit! I always use at least double lemon.......


almost 2 years ago faded-elegance

Nearly identical to a recipe from a (Betty Crocker?) Cookbook for Two someone gave me for a shower gift over 45 years ago, before we all knew how to cook. I lost the book a long time ago but have kept on baking this because it's so reliably good. It's delicious with any citrus (or a combination of citrus) rind and can handle addition of fresh blueberries, raspberries or rhubarb tossed with sugar if made in one large pan. Try it with buttermilk for a more interesting flavor.


over 2 years ago MEPhotoGirl

Baked this last night. Easy and delicious! Served with a fresh thyme sugar syrup. Perfection!

almost 2 years ago Kate

Oooh, that sounds delicious. Do you have an easy recipe for the syrup?


over 2 years ago clintonhillbilly

This was wonderful, a perfect end to a dinner party!


over 2 years ago gremolata

i love this recipe...Where do you find the 3 footed little jam jar?
Weck has a jar, not as good looking as the one you have!


over 2 years ago Hattie Spade Cunningham

I've made a similar recipe and put into a pie crust. Very good!

over 2 years ago Garry Higgins

Will I be able to bake these earlier on in the day and then reheat for dinner time?


almost 2 years ago ENunn

Gary, you don't need to heat them up. They are great at room temperature and cold. In fact, I don't really like them hot. So I'd make them, put them in the fridge, and pull them out when you start serving dinner.


over 2 years ago Please sign me up

Wonder what these would taste with grapefruit. Plenty of grapefruit on hand.


over 2 years ago AEC

These are wonderful in every way. Quick, easy & cheap, yet with elegant results. Kids and adults both gobbled them up and wanted more. I think any citrus would work. Bravo. (BTW: I only had low-fat milk on hand and still terrific.)