Lemon Steamed Pudding

This lemon steamed pudding is sorta a sponge pudding—a cross between pudding and sponge cake with two distinct layers. And it’s made from everyday ingredients including lemons, sugar, flour, and buttermilk and magically separates.

Four white plates, each topped with a lemon steamed pudding.

These light, delicious puddings can be made ahead and then reheated in a water bath just before unmolding and serving. They’ve been popular since Craft opened, and they work particularly well with a side of fresh blueberries or berry compote.–Tom Colicchio

LC Pass A Spoon, Please Note

These pillowy puddings practically resonate with lemony loveliness. Pass a spoon, please.

Lemon Steamed Pudding

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 7 reviews
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Special Equipment: Ramekins


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Heat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Butter and lightly sugar six 4-ounce ramekins, tapping out any excess sugar.

In a stand mixer on medium to medium-high speed, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift the sugar with the flour and salt.

In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment and a clean bowl, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, egg yolks, and lemon zest. Gradually add the flour mixture, then switch to a spatula and gently fold in the egg whites. Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins.

Place the puddings in a water bath (that is to say, place the ramekins in a large roasting pan, place the pan on the oven rack, and then carefully fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins). Cover the entire water bath situation with a large sheet of aluminum foil, crimping it to seal it tightly.

Bake until the puddings puff and the surface seems almost firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Then uncover the ramekins and continue baking until the tops are lightly golden and the puddings spring back when touched, about 15 minutes more.

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekins and then invert each onto a plate. Originally published April 25, 2003.

Invert the puddings onto individual serving plates and serve warm.

Print RecipeBuy the Craft of Cooking cookbook

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Recipe Testers Reviews

This was my first-ever steamed pudding and the end result was magical. Look at the picture: how did the pudding separate into two distinct layers like that, both tasty? The process is basically foolproof if you can whip egg whites and fold them into batter, and the results are more than worth the effort expended. My guests raved about the dessert, and I snuck a second serving while no one was looking. This recipe will get used again and again.

The plating process seemed risky to me: "Invert the puddings onto Individual serving plates..." but I need not have worried. I did run a knife around the edge of the ramekins before inverting them and they came out cleanly.

These delectable little lemon cakes are very easy to put together. You’ve got just the right amount of tartness from the lemon to offset the slight sweetness of the very light and fluffy cake. I had a thin cake layer and a pudding-like topping and that worked for me. I’ll keep making them, they’re that good. These are very nice little cakes.

This tasted delicious and was quite easy to prepare. The top lemony pudding layer was a nice texture and perfect amount of lemon taste and sweetness.


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  1. Hi, this looks lovely and I can’t wait to make one. Buttermilk is something uncommon in my country; is there substitute ingredient for buttermilk? Thank you!

    1. Helene, you can make a good substitute at home. Take 1 scant cup of heavy cream and stir in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Let the mixture sit at room temp for 15 munites. Now, this ersatz buttermilk won’t be as thick as the reak deal, but it shouldn’t affect the dessert due to the eggs.

  2. I was incredibly pleased and delighted with these cute little puddings. Creamy and oh-so-refreshing, they were a perfect way to top off a satisfying dinner. The strong lemon flavor, the soft, billowy texture created by the whipped egg whites, and the addition of buttermilk really took it to another level. Will certainly make again!

  3. My dessert’s top layer was liquidy, but when I tasted it I felt proud of being an amateur home cook. Thanks.

    1. Hi Renjini, so happy that you feel like an accomplished cook! Next time, I might try cooling the cakes a bit longer, or even refrigerate them, to help the custard set.

  4. If you love lemon, you’ll love this recipe like I did! My only change is that I’ve added the zest of two lemons as opposed to 1 1/2. Flavor was incredible, and the texture…so light!

  5. I remember making these puds when my daughters were young, they loved it!! Back then it was called Lemon surprise steamed pud. They’re just delicious!

  6. This is a Keeper! (and so easy to prepare). It’s wintertime in Vermont and that means eating/baking ! It’s also perfect all year round as it’s so light. This recipe will become a favorite of mine just like the Elizabeth David Chocolate Mousse. TY :)

  7. I made them tonight and baked them a little longer (3 mins), and the tops were more cake like; the center and bottom stay light and very moist. Served them both cold and warm,they were so good and so refreshing. My husband and I both like them cold a little better! Thanks for the fabulous recipe.


    1. Hi Ritu, I think that you could refrigerate them overnight if you wanted to make them in advance. Just gently reheat them in a water bath. Alternatively, you can let them cool and serve at room temperature.

  8. Mine didn’t turn out to be quite like the one in the picture. I had about half a cake with a thick layer of custard on the bottom. I’ll definitely enjoy making these again and perfecting my technique, though. These were delicious!

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