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Lemon on a cloud on a white serving plate

Lemon on a Cloud

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This dreamy Lemon Pavlova combines a meringue, lemon curd, a cloud of whipped cream and luscious fresh berries! You’ll swoon with every bite!

This Lemon on a Cloud was a specialty of my mom and one of my favorite childhood desserts! It’s a perfect treat for citrus lovers and they’ll all be clamoring for seconds!!.

Lemon Pavlova on a white serving plate

Lemon on a Cloud

The BEST recipes tell a story. My mom was an excellent cook, and growing up, we wise-acre children didn’t always appreciate her gourmet dinner offerings. Moussaka for example. I’m pretty sure I went to bed hungry the first night that layered spiced lamb and eggplant dish appeared on our table.

But we did love when she made desserts. She’d often come home from bridge club with the latest recipe from one of her cohorts, eager to try it out on the family. This lemon pavlova is one of those gems that’s etched in my memory, and back in Ames, Iowa, it was called “lemon on a cloud.”

Lemon Pavlova on a white serving plate garnished with berries and mint

A Lemon Pavlova

We had a huge freezer down in the basement of my childhood home. Perfect for those times my parents purchased a side of beef or made a run to the Sara Lee outlet in Des Moines and came home with boxes and boxes of cheese danish.

My mom typically made a double batch of this lemon meringue dessert and popped one in said freezer. But as soon as we knew of its existence, my sisters and I would sneak down to the musty cellar with a knife and carve ourselves slivers of this citrus beauty. I’m certain our fingers were sticky and our sweet tooths satisfied before returning upstairs.

Years later, I tried to recreate my mom’s recipe, but I think her version had more of a lemon curd topping followed by Cool Whip. My family loved my creation, but I may have to hunt down the handwritten recipe card next time I’m back in Iowa. It was my first taste of what I later learned was a lemon pavlova!

Vibrant fresh berries and mint on top of a meringue shell

What is a Pavlova?

A Pavlova is a large meringue that's topped with whipped cream and fruit. It's origin is often debated as Australia and New Zealand both like to take credit for inventing this dessert named for Anna Pavlova, the ballerina.

How do you store a pavlova?

The meringue shell alone can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry location. But once the toppings are added, the dessert must be refrigerated.

How long will a pavlova keep?

Once a pavlova is assembled, it's best to be eaten on that day. The meringue shell will start to soften and the fruit topping will not be as fresh the next day, but it will still be safe to eat for a couple of days after its made.

Tips for How to Make Pavlova

If you’ve ever made meringue cookies or a pie topping, making a pavlova recipe will be a breeze. Following these tips will help make your first pavlova dessert a success!

  • PRO-Tip: Make sure your beaters and bowl are scrupulously clean before you start to whip your egg whites.
  • Egg whites will not beat properly if any grease or fat from a broken egg yolk, contaminates the whites. Note that eggs separate best when cold, but the whites beat best when at room temperature.
  • Use a piece of parchment to line your baking sheet. Trace a circle on one side of the parchment, depending on the desired size of your pavlova. Flip it over and you’ll have a template for spreading out your meringue mixture.
  • PRO-Tip: I used a 9-inch round cake pan to draw the circle on my parchment since this lemon pavlova recipe suggests a 9-inch circle. Make sure your marking is dark enough so you can see it when the paper is turned over.
  • To bring your egg whites up to room temperature, you can set your bowl of whites into a larger bowl of hot (not boiling) water while doing your prep work.
  • Beat your egg whites until foamy, then slowly add 1 tablespoon of the sugar at a time. If you happen to have superfine sugar takes less time to incorporate.
  • The meringue will get thick and billowy. Once all the sugar is combined, add the lemon juice.
  • PRO-Tips: The acid in the lemon juice helps delay the coagulation of the whites, making a fluffier meringue. Fresh eggs are more acidic and will also help make a lighter meringue.
  • Mound the whipped meringue in the middle of your template on the parchment paper. Use an offset spatula to spread and level the meringue into a flat-topped circle.
  • This recipe calls for a “well” in the center of the meringue to make space for the lemon filling. Try to make it deep enough to accommodate your lemon filling.
  • Bake as directed. Meringues and pavlovas are typically baked low and slow, so they keep their white color and do not brown.
  • Cool your meringue shell completely before topping.

Overhead view of a pavlova dessert topped with lemon cream, whipped cream and berries

More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love:

This recipe was first shared in March 2014. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

Lemon on a cloud topped with berries on a white serving plate

Lemon on a Cloud

A crisp meringue shell topped with lemon curd and cream

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Yield 8 servings


  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 200º. Beat egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until mixture is very stiff and glossy. Add lemon juice and mix until combined.
  2. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Trace a 9-inch circle in the middle of the paper, then flip so that marks are on the underside of the paper. Pile meringue into the center of the circle, then spread to edges, building up the perimeter of the meringue to make a shell. Alternatively, you can bake meringue in a grease 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 2 hours. Cool completely at room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature, refrigerate until cold.
  4. Beat cream until stiff peaks form. Using the same beaters, beat lemon filling until smooth. Fold 1/2 cup of the cream into the lemon filling until blended, then pile into cooled meringue shell. Reserve the rest of the whipped cream in the refrigerator. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Top with remaining cream and berries to serve, if desired.


Total time is closer to 5 1/2 hours including cooling times.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 42mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 0gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g


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59 comments on “Lemon on a Cloud”

  1. Very pretty! I like that you called it a “cloud” and not snow which is a dirty word right now as they’re calling for more on Tuesday:@)

  2. Looks like a cloud of heavenly goodness to me. What a light dessert and perfect for summer too.

  3. What a beautiful name for a dessert! I love it! And it’s amazing that you can create something so fabulous with so few ingredients. I have to admit, though, moussaka is one of my favourite meals!

  4. Looks like a beautiful and tasty cloud to me! I also love pairing desserts with a sweeter white wine. your dessert and wine pairing look perfect!

  5. Love that this dessert can be made ahead and popped in the freezer. I will be making this one very soon!

  6. Liz,
    I love love love that you made a recipe that your mother used to make for you as a kid. . now wonder you are an excellent cook and baker! This Lemon on a Cloud is soooo beautiful .. and the meringue shell looks perfect!!

  7. This is so beautiful, Liz! It may be 9 degrees outside, but this lemony dessert feels very springy to me 🙂

  8. A pavlova! Love everything about this. Did someone say lemon?

  9. What a wonderful story! I agree – the best dishes tell a story! This Lemon Cloud sounds delicious! I love a good dessert wine…actually, who am I kidding, I love any good wine! 🙂

  10. I love citrus desserts, and this one is so elegant! Love that it uses ingredients that I have onhand in my kitchen all the time in Spring and Summer!!

  11. What a beautiful dessert – I can see why you’d sneak some extra bites! It’s funny: I used to do something similar as a kid. My mom would make toffee bars/squares every year around Christmas time, and when we lived in MI and WI, she would put them in tins and set them outside in the garage (since it was so cold). I was notorious for sneaking out into the garage and grabbing a square or two each time I did…and to this day even though I live in Florida, I have to put my toffee squares in the refrigerator so I can eat them cold, haha!).

  12. This dessert sounds perfect on this cold, snow flurry spring day. It will transform me to warmer weather and cool breezes like only citrus can. The white wines are great pairings for this! Mmmmm

  13. This looks absolutely amazing, Liz. Seriously, I want to just face plant into it right now. When it comes to desserts, lemon is one of my favourites (lemon meringue, lemon curd, lemon cheesecake), and this looks right up my street. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. So beautiful! I love everything you make! And that would be so cool if you could get the original recipe just to see how it looks handwritten! Joes mom gave me a box of old recipes from her family..they are so cool! Happy #SundaySupper 🙂

  15. I love the title! Makes me want some right now! I love using lemon in desserts and I think this screams Sunday family dinner dessert! A perfect ending! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  16. Liz, what a gorgeous dessert!!!!

  17. This sounds so lemony good, Liz! Perfect name for it!

  18. I have been looking for a recipe like this Liz! A friend of mine from England made pavlova for me one time and I loved it soooo much but never got the recipe. This is perfect!!

  19. Oh my. If there was ANY way you could teleport me one of these, I would pay good money for you to do so. This looks like heaven!!

  20. Wow, now that is gorgeous. And such a beautiful story in the intro, Liz xo

  21. Liz, this looks so amazing – I remember my Mom coming up with similar recipes from her friends. She knew a lot of great cooks and we got to enjoy the rewards of the sharing ways of her friends. They would all be food bloggers now! 🙂

  22. Gorgeous story and dessert! What a great title, too! Think this lemon wonder will have me floating on cloud nine!

  23. Oh my, this looks good, Liz! My mother wasn’t much of a cook, but I can at least fantasize that she would have made this 😀

  24. Don’t you love the memories food evokes? I remember going to bed hungry after a few dinners mom put on the table—like fried sweetbreads which I have ordered as an adult with much anticipation (and $$$$$). 🙂 Perfect dessert with a sweet glass of wine!

  25. This dessert screams summer so I am going to take it to mean warmer weather is actually coming our way. So beautiful. My favorite pairings with wine tend to be sweet. Chocolate and red wine is delish.

  26. As a kid fed every ground beef and cream of ____ soup casserole, I love hearing about all the things your mom made when you were a kid, since I try to do that for my kids. And this looks like a lovely dessert, even if not exactly what you remember.

  27. Just the name of this dish has me wanting a slice!

  28. This dessert looks beautiful! It really does look like a cloud.

  29. Liz, I love picturing you and your sister sneaking down to the cellar to grab slivers of this dessert! It must be fabulous. Anything described as a cloud sounds perfect for summer!

  30. I would love this dessert. I thank your mother for introducing you to this and for you introducing it to us. I love pavlova with fruit and cream and this just takes it one step forward. Brilliant.

  31. Sweet memories, Liz. Beautiful dessert, never seen it before! 🙂 ela

  32. What a pretty dessert. It’s such a privilege to grow up in a home where your mother is a fantastic cook. My mother was a great cook too and I learned a lot by observing her. And she used to stock up on Sara Lee too! xx

  33. Lizzy, what a poetic name – Lemon on a Cloud! It looks pretty good what with berries nestled on top, yums!

  34. A fantastic meringue dessert with lemon custard and fresh berries!

  35. How delicious! I would have it alone and with some probably simple cake.. or fresh berries.. I think it would taste great with anything 🙂

  36. This dessert looks fab, Liz!!!! And elegant as well…Wishing you a great week!!

  37. The best recipes definitely do tell a story. Thanks for sharing yours! And my wife would totally love this… she’s obsessed with lemon in dessert!

  38. This is such a beautiful dessert! Perfect for spring!

  39. That is a perfect name, this dessert is definitely comparable to a cloud 😀
    Or even heaven, it looks so indulgent!

    Choc Chip Uru

  40. So pretty, I love the contrast of meringue and lemon filling!

  41. This is such a beautiful dessert, Liz! And so perfect for this time of year. I love the fluffy lemon filling especially! Pinned 😉

  42. The name alone is appetizing and sipping Sauvignon Blanc with it sounds perfect. I thought maybe Moscato but they may have been too sweet. You made the right choice for this beautiful dessert.

  43. What a beautiful dessert and all the better when it comes with such vivid childhood memories 🙂 we all have favourites from our mums own cookbook and I can’t wait to try this one out it looks and sounds stunning.

  44. Lizzy,
    This is a gorgeous dessert. Anyone would be lucky to have some.

  45. What a wonderful memory – love that you are sharing this dessert your mom used to make for your family 🙂 I love all lemon desserts and this lemon on a cloud looks marvelous!

  46. Gosh, how beautiful! I can just imagine eating that!

  47. The one thing that mystifies me is how to freeze it? I’ve not known anyone who could freeze meringue and have it come out as something serve-able, much less freeze meringue with a liquid, such as a curd on top. You say your mother would pop one in the freezer and you’d nick pieces (which sounds delightful to me!). Please, how can this be done well?

    • Hi, Amy! This memory is my only experience with freezing meringue. I’d have the same trepidation as you…that the defrosted result would not be nearly as good as freshly made. I was only a child at the time, so wish I had more to go on…if we ever ate a defrosted one, I’m not sure my palate would have been mature enough to care if some quality was lost! Wish I could be of more help!

  48. This is my kind of dessert! It is beautiful and the lemon flavor sounds fabulous!

  49. I’m a sucker for cloud and lemons… put ’em together and I’m done for!. Just lovely.

  50. Just lovely and so yummy looking. I’d polish the whole thing off all by myself. 😉

  51. What a beautiful dessert. I would certainly feel on cloud 9 if I ate this. 🙂

  52. Oh my goodness this is so delicious! I made this for my daughter’s birthday and she loved it! It was so tasty!

  53. Pavlovas are such an easy but impressive dessert! I love how light and airy the meringue is and the lemon is the perfect accent!

  54. I’ve not heard of lemon on a cloud before but it sounds delicious and who doesn’t love pavlova!

  55. This is a very special dessert! Perfect for a gathering as it is so stunning as a centerpiece.

  56. I don’t know if this will fly in Aspen’s high altitude but I am going to try. Gorgeous, Liz.

  57. Dear Liz, I have not made meringues or pavlovas in a long time – what a delicious reminder your post is. I love the title you gave your dessert, the different components, and, of course, the super elegant look – this dessert looks like a show stopping summertime treat!!!
    Hope you are all doing well!

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