Aunt Mariah's Lemon Sponge Cups

By • April 20, 2010 • 89 Comments



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
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&MA&M

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 lemon, grated rind and juice
  • 1 1/2 cup 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.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
Jump to Comments (89)

Tags: Easy, lemon

Comments (89) Questions (10)

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4 months ago Lisa addario

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

Food25

5 months 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.

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5 months ago sfpipeline

Use the zest and juice.

Food25

5 months ago Tom Salamone

Thanks.

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6 months ago Lisanne

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

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6 months ago Rosie

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

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7 months 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!

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7 months ago Superyalda

I made these tonight and served them with caramel oranges with cardamom on the side http://food52.com/recipes...
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!

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10 months 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?

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7 months ago nutcakes

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

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5 months 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

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10 months 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.......

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12 months 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.

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over 1 year ago MEPhotoGirl

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

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about 1 year ago Kate

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

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over 1 year ago clintonhillbilly

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

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over 1 year 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!

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over 1 year ago Hattie Spade Cunningham

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

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over 1 year ago Garry Higgins

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

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12 months 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.

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over 1 year ago Please sign me up

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

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over 1 year 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.)

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almost 2 years ago Marc Osten - Marc's Culinary Compass

This is an unbelievable photo, idea and recipe. Looking at it reminded me of how food can provoke such deep emotion. My 12 year old daughter/chef made a batch of madeleines last week, a small French sponge cake. When I put the 3 minute video of her doing it on my Culinary Compass blog I added some words from the French novelist Marcel Proust. Those words totally apply to Aunt Mariah's lemon sponge cups. He writes: No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me." You can watch Olivia at work and read the rest of the Proust quote at http://www.marcs-culinary...

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over 1 year ago ChefCitron

Hi, Marc! I really enjoyed this budding chef's demo- what a remarkable and poised young chef! Very nice that you can cook and share culinary adventures together. Keep up the good work:)!

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almost 2 years ago Amani

Hello! I was wondering if i could make these in the morning, and bake them at night? The look so lovely!

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almost 2 years ago sfpipeline

If you make them early, bake them early too. Those whipped egg whites aren't going to wait all day for you to put them into the oven.

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almost 2 years ago sfpipeline

I have a couple of recipes that are almost exactly like this one that I have made many times. One calls for plain milk and the other one calls for buttermilk. Try using buttermilk sometime, it's delicious! Also, who makes the glass baking dish in the image - I love it.

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almost 2 years ago alice_kim

Just made these to use up our super-ripe lemons! So quick and easy (though the wait time while in the oven was agonizing :P). I don't eat wheat, so I subbed the flour for brown rice flour, and didn't have milk so used SoDelicious' Coconut Milk instead (not the canned full-fat kind meant for baking/cooking). I also reduced the amount of sugar but added a bit more lemon zest!

The slightly crystallized spongy crust right out of the oven was delicious. I made too many so I'm going to refrigerate them and just enjoy them as a kind of pudding!