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Lemon on a Cloud

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This dreamy Lemon on a Cloud dessert will make all the citrus lovers in your life swoon! This cloud of meringue topped with lemon curd and whipped cream will have everyone clamoring for seconds!  This Lemon Pavlova was a specialty of my mom and one of my favorite childhood desserts!

Lemon Pavlova garnished with berries and cream on a white 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 on a cloud is one of those gems that’s etched in my memory.

Overhead view of Lemon on a Cloud on a platter

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 pavlova!

If you love lemon, try these lemon bar cookie cups from Barbara Bakes, these mini lemon cheesecakes, this lemon mascarpone layer cake or this lemon layer cake. Plus here are all my Dessert Recipes!

Lemon on a Cloud garnished with berries and cream on a white plate



Lemon on a Cloud

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 200ΒΊ. Beat egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until mixture is very stiff and glossy. Add lemon juice.
  2. Place parchment paper on baking sheet. Trace a 9 inch circle in middle of paper, then flip so that marks are on underside of paper. Pile meringue into center of circle, then spread to edges, building up 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 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 same beaters, beat lemon filling until smooth. Fold 1/2 cup of the cream into 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.

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53 comments on “Lemon on a Cloud”

  1. 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! πŸ™‚

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

  3. 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 πŸ˜€

  4. 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 $$$$$). πŸ™‚ Perfect dessert with a sweet glass of wine!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. Sweet memories, Liz. Beautiful dessert, never seen it before! πŸ™‚ ela

  12. 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

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

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

  15. How delicious! I would have it alone and with some probably simple cake.. or fresh berries.. I think it would taste great with anything πŸ™‚

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

  17. 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!

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

  19. That is a perfect name, this dessert is definitely comparable to a cloud πŸ˜€
    Or even heaven, it looks so indulgent!

    Choc Chip Uru

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

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