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)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

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.

Default-small

5 months ago sfpipeline

Use the zest and juice.

Food25

5 months ago Tom Salamone

Thanks.

Default-small

5 months ago Lisanne

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

Default-small

6 months ago Rosie

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

Default-small

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!

Open-uri20140112-8514-uczbt8

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!

Default-small

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?

Default-small

6 months ago nutcakes

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

Default-small

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

Default-small

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.......

Default-small

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.

Eggs

over 1 year ago MEPhotoGirl

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

Photo

about 1 year ago Kate

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

Default-small

over 1 year ago clintonhillbilly

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

Default-small

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!

Default-small

over 1 year ago Hattie Spade Cunningham

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

Default-small

over 1 year ago Garry Higgins

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

Food52_photo

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.

Open-uri20131203-29710-2636q4

over 1 year ago Please sign me up

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

Default-small

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.)

2010-09-24_amherst_-_marc's_garden_4a_headshot_closeup

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...

Default-small

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:)!

Default-small

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!

Default-small

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.

Default-small

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.

Default-small

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!

Default-small

about 2 years ago sally larhette

A similar recipe was on my test to graduate from a culinary school!Hammersley Bistro in Boston had a similar dessert on the menu for years, if not still. Some recipes have rich cream instead of milk.

Eat your cake and pudding at the same time,laced with fresh Lemon.Good chilled and as soon as you can without burning your tender lips.

Default-small

about 2 years ago Robin Foster

The very first recipe I made from Food 52 and it was awesome. Rave reviews from the family and definitely a keeper.

Default-small

about 2 years ago Cooks4Crowds

I made this just tonight and it was great. Everyone loved it.

Default-small

over 2 years ago The Good Cook

This is delicious! Also, try substituting the lemon with chocolate. I used a double-boiler to melt some dark chocolate and mixed that into the batter.

Default-small

over 2 years ago MissSpicy

So delicious and the perfect end to a meal . . . made these for a dinner party Saturday night . . . so simple to make and turned out perfect in white ramekins . . . made six . . . the sponge cake was soft and the custard was creamy and just the right lemony tartness . . . topped with fresh whipped cream . . . yummy . . . this is a keeper recipe for me!

Default-small

almost 3 years ago CharlieR

This looks wonderful!

Could you tell me though where you got the glass bowls?

Default-small

over 2 years ago The Good Cook

From yo mama! Lolz...

Default-small

over 2 years ago The Good Cook

From yo mama! Lolz...

Default-small

over 1 year ago Dazzle-dae

So,if you didn't get any from YO mama, try JENAer Glas Wagenfeld egg coddler (2? sizes available, EXPENSIVE, but a Bauhaus designer classic)

Default-small

about 3 years ago whitsy

I don't have a lemon on hand, any way to use lemon juice? Maybe the measurement of it?

Hib_kitchen

about 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

I just tried to measure this about a month ago. It was different depending on the lemon itself. I came up with 3T as average. Hope that this helps. This is such a good recipe.

Default-small

about 3 years ago whitsy

Thank you for the tip! I found 2T on another website, so I ended up with maybe between 2T and 3T. They're in the oven now!

Hib_kitchen

about 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

I can't image that it makes a huge difference in this recipe. I can't wait to hear how it turned out. It has been a huge success in my house.

Default-small

about 3 years ago whitsy

Delicious!! Going to add a bit more lemon juice next time though, they don't have quite the lemon taste I was hoping for, I love lemon!! But otherwise, perfect.

Capture_d%e2%80%99%c3%a9cran_2011-11-10_%c3%a0_19.20.48

over 3 years ago Elizabeth2

Just made them..Can't wait to see how they come out !

Default-small

over 3 years ago ellenl

I adore this recipe and, like others, really want to buy those egg coddlers! Many thanks.

0_240

over 3 years ago DIANELLY

can I make them the day before and store them in the fridge? and what do I put in individuals for them no to stick, butter with flour?

Default-small

about 3 years ago whitsy

I sprayed with a butter no-stick spray, and it turned out perfect.

Default-small

over 3 years ago artsycella

Yum! I saw this on here yesterday and had to make it right away! My cups turned out perfectly, even though there were a few points I was a little confused about when attempting to follow the directions. I didn't know how long to beat the egg yolks, or whether I should use a beater to incorporate the yolks into the flour/sugar/butter mixture, or just a spoon. I also didn't know if it matter how high the water bath came up to on the sides of the cups. Anyway, whatever I did, they turned out to have perfect texture, a great contrast between the custard the the airy cake. They looked beautiful and tasted so good I helped myself to two of them.

Ashtaco

over 3 years ago wanderash

Another beautiful family recipe!! Congrats! This is very similar to one of my fav desserts to make, which is a batter of lemon curd and meringue baked in a pretty little dish. I make it for guests a lot, because they too make me feel fancy :)

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

Congrats ENunn. What a lovely recipe. Well deserved!

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I just got an email from one of my cousins who lives next door to Aunt Mariah's daughter - your cousin?, and is her business partner, and just had these for dessert tonight at her home. That's gotta win a prize for "it's a small world"!! My cousin described these as luscious! Now I HAVE to make them!!

Dsc_0205

over 3 years ago Daphne

Was just thinking about this recipe, what a coincidence : ) love the glass egg coddlers too, maybe William Sonoma will pick up this line....

Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I loved this recipe when you first posted, and I love it again today. How did I forget to make it in the last 9 months? Thanks, A&M for highlighting it again!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Dang. One very similar to that just sold for $2.99 on Ebay! Fess up...who did it??

036

over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I looked for them on EBay too - I got a chicken one :-)

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Love this! Congrats on your wildcard win, ENunn! Well-deserved. And I LOVE the little egg coddling cups! So perfect.

Poppy_bone

over 3 years ago NWB

Congrats! We just had these for dessert. They were so easy and delicious! I bet they would be great with a bunch of different citrus combinations. I can't wait to try orange and anise--my personal favorite citus/spice combo.

Chris_in_oslo

over 3 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

My mother was a cook rather than a baker, but she did occasionally make something much like these, especially if my father's mother was visiting. My grandmother was one who'd eat dessert first if that were an option, and she loved lemon pudding cakes. My mother would have laughed at us gushing over egg-coddling cups, but she would have liked the idea of the individual servings.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yay! This looks so so great! Congrats!!

Default-small

over 3 years ago sygyzy

Thanks, you just chose my dessert for tonight.

Dsc03010

over 3 years ago betteirene

Lovely. Just lovely.

Newliztoqueicon-2

over 3 years ago Lizthechef

As soon as I can get back into my kitchen, this recipe is at the top of my list. Bowl of ripe Meyer lemons are staring at me...Congrats!

Img_1958

over 3 years ago gingerroot

Congrats on a lovely Wildcard win! I found a similar recipe in a recent Edible Hawaiian Islands and made it with calamansi instead of lemon. I can't wait to try your version - I like the idea of individual ramekins better than one large souffle dish (which is what I used).

Summer_2010_1048

over 3 years ago Midge

Delicious sounding! Congrats!

100_0933

over 3 years ago Eliana60

This recipe looks great! I love lemon and can't wait to try these. But the ramekins in the photo look FABULOUS too! I covet them with their little raindrop feet. Are they family heirlooms or can you tell me where to get them?

Avatar-460-white

over 3 years ago Food52

This is from your friendly editors at Food52.

They're actually German egg coddling cups (they come with a glass lid & metal fasteners) that Amanda picked up in Paris and hasn't been able to find again since. If anyone knows of a source, please share! (so she doesn't have a breakdown the next time one shatters)

Mlt_yogateau_1

over 3 years ago mtrelaun

The egg coddlers are made by Jenaer, and they're difficult to find in the US. If you don't mind some crazy shipping costs, they're easy to source on European websites.

Default-small

over 3 years ago artsycella

I second mtrelaun. I found a couple of listings below. They're gorgeous--I think I may be ordering a few myself.

http://www.connox.com/categories...

http://www.pleaseandthankyou...

Default-small

over 3 years ago allie

amanda, any hope we could convince one of the us based shops featured on food52 to carry these?

100_0933

over 3 years ago Eliana60

Thanks for the links everyone! But I will be in Paris in April and this was going to be among the things I was going to make it my mission to find there. I'd be very happy to see them in the Food 52 store though.

Profile

over 3 years ago lastnightsdinner

Congratulations on your Wildcard win!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Oh my, these look like a wonderful way to break my detox plan....

036

over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yay and Congrats! These look fantastic - we have the ingredients in house - hmmmmm

Junechamp

over 3 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, I KNOW I'm going to try these. I LOVE lemon desserts, and pudding. What a great addition to the new book. Congrats!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Nomnom! Congrats!

Ozoz_profile

over 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

It sounds stunning - superb. I love the egg coddling cups...

Lobster_001

over 3 years ago nannydeb

Mmmm, sounds good. Congrats!

Image

over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow--congratulations on the Wildcard win!

186003_1004761561_1198459_n

over 3 years ago dymnyno

Congrats on the Wildcard win. Great recipe!

Dsc_0048b

over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

These are lovely! And, actually, for a dessert, not too terribly bad for you.

Monkeys

over 4 years ago monkeymom

This looks so good! Will definitely try it.

Food52_photo

over 4 years ago ENunn

Thanks, gang! I am making this again tonight, actually, for, I believe, the fifth time since I got back from Galax and snooping around Aunt Mariah's recipe boxes. It's so good, and seems so old-fashioned to me. Make sure you use a big fresh lemon, and not some old ratty thing. I love anything with lemon, too! If Aunt Mariah were my mom, I'd enter it. But no. I should put her picture up, anyway. She's so lovely!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Oh, that looks so good.

Image

over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yum...I love anything lemon.

Img__631-1_(1)

over 4 years ago thirschfeld

this one is looking like a winner to me

Me

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love these! I have a similar recipe that uses buttermilk that this reminds me of. Perfect for a light dessert. Thanks for posting this!

036

over 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Mmmm - this is turning into a banner week - great recipes and better yet great stories ... thanks to all of our moms and aunts and grandmas and great grandmas

Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Love this recipe! It's like a lemon bar and a lemon souffle all in one.