Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
16 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

This beautiful vanilla cake with meringue frosting will leave your dinner party guests talking. As one online reviewer claims, "This cake is extremely moist and delicious - and the lemon filling was a perfect compliment."

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

To prepare cake, lightly coat 2 (8-inch) round metal cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust each pan with 1 teaspoon flour.

Step 3

Weigh or lightly spoon 11 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 11 ounces flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine buttermilk and low-fat milk. Combine 1 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add canola oil and egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until combined.

Step 4

Place 3 egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy, using clean, dry beaters. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg white mixture into batter. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks. Loosen edges with a knife, and invert cakes onto racks. Cool completely; discard wax paper.

Step 5

To prepare frosting, combine 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and dash of salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240° (about 4 minutes). Combine cream of tartar and 3 egg whites in large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating at high speed until medium peaks form. Gradually pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg white mixture, beating first at medium speed and then at high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Step 6

To prepare filling, place lemon curd in a medium bowl. Gently fold 1/3 cup meringue into the curd. Fold an additional 2/3 cup meringue into curd mixture.

Step 7

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread filling over top of cake, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over sides and top of cake.

Ratings & Reviews

sproiet1's Review

October 31, 2010
This is the second Cooking Light cake recipe I have tried. I thought the cake itself was wonderful, with a nice crumb and still moist despite being light. I thought the frosting was a bit bland and overly sweet for my taste. I will definitely be making the cake again, but will try the Vanilla Meringue Frosting from November 2008 instead, since it's a buttercream meringue.

June 02, 2015
I agree with you. I loved the frosting but the cake was so dense. I made it twice, thinking maybe I had done something wrong but it turned out the same. I am done with this recipe.

kathyschroeder's Review

November 28, 2010
This cake was extremely moist and delicious - and the lemon filling was a perfect compliment. Loved it overall but definitely make the frosting and serve within just a few hours as the frosting will get stiff on the outside. Overall excellent cake. Will definitely make again and even try with other fillings. One of the best cakes I've made.

Jennifer3946's Review

October 25, 2010
This cake requires considerably more effort than many of the other cake recipes from Cooking Light. The result is a cake without a lot of flavor and that is not very moist. The frosting is ok, but with the light, airy cake and the very light, airy frosting, this is far from a rich, moist, delicious dessert. You almost feel like you are eating air with a hint of sugar. I wouldn't serve this to guests and I won't make this cake again.

nicolecorsi's Review

May 08, 2011
I might have done something wrong because the cake turned out dense, but still tasty. The meringue icing is not only beautiful, but tastes rich and worth the trouble it takes to make it. I did not have lemon curd so I used vanilla pudding, bad idea, the flavor kick I assume you get from the lemon is much needed. We ended up sugaring some strawberries to serve over slices so it would not taste so bland. I would make this again, given I had the time, and experiment with filling flavors.

sma1978's Review

June 10, 2012
I made the cake but not the filling or frosting for my son's first birthday. We made cupcakes that we decorated as baseballs and a football cake. Both got rave reviews. Personally, I liked the cupcakes far better. The football cake was a little dense but it had to cook for over an hour because of the pan shape so it definitely wasn't the fault of the recipe. I used buttercream frosting on the cupcakes and chocolate frosting on the football cake. This is definitely going in my recipe binder!

novarone's Review

March 08, 2011
Made this for a birthday and it was really delicious, so dense and moist, it's the perfect cake and could even be used as a wedding cake. A previous post said it was bland but one should note this is a vanilla cake and other flavorings could be added. Will try cocoa or cooking chocolate next time or even coconut, this is definitely one I will make over and over again.

SDJackie's Review

August 11, 2011
LOVE this cake - made for a friend's birthday & he took almost half of it home! Would gladly make this again for any occasion or for any ordinary night that I want to turn into a special occasion :-) This is absolutely worth a little extra effort. I didn't think cake flour would make such a difference, but splurge for it. You will be glad you did!

Quinnetts's Review

November 13, 2010
Made this today. We all loved it! The kids thougt is was wonderful. One said that she wants it for her birtday next year. Am curious if it should be stored in the refrigerator due to the lemon curd?

Frosting is great but cake is way too dense.

June 03, 2015
I made it twice thinking I had made a mistake but it turned out the same. The flavors are fine and the frosting is very good but the cake has really poor texture.