Lemon Cake with Coconut Meringue

A great spring/summer cake.

CAKE
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
5 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

SYRUP
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water

MERINGUE
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup egg whites (5 to 6)
Dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Spray 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper; spray paper. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.

2. Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, oil and eggs at medium speed 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in flour mixture just until combined. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice, lemon peel and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla; beat at medium speed 30 seconds. Pour into pan.

3. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on wire rack. Meanwhile, bring syrup ingredients to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil 4 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.

4. With wooden skewer, poke holes in top of cake every 1/2 inch, inserting skewer through cake. Brush 1 cup of the hot syrup over hot cake, allowing syrup to seep into holes. Cool 15 minutes.

5. Place plastic wrap over top of cake, invert cake onto plate; remove parchment paper. Brush remaining 1/4 cup syrup over bottom of cake. Place cake, top side-up, onto heatproof serving plate. Cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, egg whites and dash salt in large bowl. Place over saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water). Heat 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved and temperature reaches 160°F., stirring constantly with heatproof spatula. Egg whites should feel smooth not grainy, between fingers.

7. Remove from heat; beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes or until glossy stiff peaks form and bowl has cooled to warm room temperature. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla; fold in coconut. Swirl meringue over top of cake.

8. Heat broiler. Watching carefully, broil 3 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Or use a kitchen blowtorch to lightly brown meringue. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator; serve at room temperature.

12 servings

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