May 12, 2015 Kimberlie


Lemon Icebox Cake The Finer Cookie

Oh how I wished this cake worked for me, but I really can't explain what happened. Why did two of my Angel Food Cakes fail? Why did the assembled cake crack in half when I unmolded it, and why didn't it slice nicely? I've made many of Rose's Angel Food Cakes successfully, but this cake seemed to be wet and sticky instead of light, dry and fluffy. The texture of the Lemon Mousse Filling was beautiful, but the cake didn't hold together.


  • Each component of this cake seemed to be good. The egg whites were fresh. They whipped perfectly. The sugar was added easily.

    The sugar going into the meringue

  • Finished meringue for the cake

  • Vanilla and lemon juice going into the meringue

  • This meringue looks beautiful

  • The flour incorporated well.

    The flour going into the meringue

  • The oven was at the right temperature, and set with heat just from the bottom to give maximum rise. The internal temperature of the cake was at around 190ºF-200ºF before I removed it from the oven and it had great loft.

    The Angel Food Cake #1 just out of the oven

  • Then while hanging upside down, it fell out of the pan and died.

    Look at it! It loft completely disappeared. I utterly sunk. Gone.

  • CAKE #2

    Batter filling the pan properly

  • Cake #2 came out of the oven like the first one, but it sank and collapsed too (but didn't fall out of the pan)

    Cake #2. I ask you, does this look right?


  • I put this together without any incident. It tasted really good and was the right consistency.
  • Then I whipped the cream.

    Lemon Mousse and Whipped Cream

  • This tasted beautiful


  • Again, looks good.

    Adding the Italian Meringue to the Lemon Mousse


  • I understood that if the cake were fluffy, light and dry, it would have absorbed the moisture of the lemon mousse over the 12 hours in the fridge. The cake would sort of dissolved into the mousse, like a bread pudding. The picture in the book is beautiful and I so wanted mine to come out like that.
  • I wasn't going to make the cake a 3rd time, so I began to cut and assemble the cake and hoped for the best.

    Cutting the cake (if you could call it that)

  • Look at the texture of the cake. Again, the texture is all wrong. Too dense for sure. Anyone know what happened?

  • Hoping for the best.

  • So I filled the cake pan with layers of cake, Lemon Mousse and cubes of cake. All the components filled up the 16 cup cake pan. There wasn't an inch left.
  • When I unmolded it, it cracked in half and the more I sliced it, it just fell apart.
  • I give on the Lemon Icebox Cake. It tasted good though.

  • WHAT ARE THE ALPHA BAKERS? : Here's how it works: once a week, for the next two years, 25 Alpha Bakers commit to baking their way through every recipe of Rose Levy Beranbaum's newly published The Baking Bible. Each week we post our experiences on our blog sites: our successes, our failures, our like and dislikes . The recipes are scheduled in advance so that everyone will be baking the same recipe at the same time. Unfortunately, no recipes can be shared in my Alpha Bakers posts due to publishing restrictions, but if you love to bake, The Baking Bible is a must-have book. You can see other tutorials for the same recipe at the following link The Baking Bible Alpha Bakers at http://rosesalphabakers.blogspot.ca/.


  1. Lakota 3 months ago

    Maybe compare the recipes for Angel Food Cake and see the differences? Perhaps then you could find the pitfall.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 3 months ago

      Thanks Lakota for this exchange. I’ll do that and maybe I’ll find something. Keep in touch.

  2. Lakota 3 months ago

    I have made this cake multiple times. It is a favorite. I am so sorry yours did not work out. It really is lovely when it does.
    I don’t think I can say specifically why it didn’t work because your post is limited. Here are some thoughts:

    1) For whipping egg whites it can actually be better to use slightly old ones. Egg whites keep quite well in the refrigerator. You will recipes sometimes saying to use older whites.
    2) Room temperature whites is so important. Leave them out over night if you plan to start in the morning.
    3) It looked like a lot of liquid (lemon juice and vanilla). But this is just me seeing a photo so I don’t know the actual ratio. But too much liquid would certainly bring down the loftiness of an angel food.
    4) Do you have a recipe for angel food cake that works for you? If so, use that in its place so you can enjoy this lovely cake.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 3 months ago

      Hi Lakota,
      Thanks for your response. I’ve made many of Rose’s angel food cakes very successfully. This time, the cakes just refused to cooperate.
      Yes, you’re completely correct about the age of the eggs and their temperature. If fact, I mentioned these points in my post on How to Whip Egg Whites http://www.thefinercookie.com/how-tos/how-to-whip-egg-whites. I remember being very diligent about warming the egg whites properly and the meringue whipped up perfectly. Don’t remember how old the eggs were.

      I didn’t like the consistency of the meringue after adding the liquid. It seemed like too much liquid to me as well, but I didn’t have a choice in the cake recipe, being part of the Alpha Bakers.

      The batter looked good: it filled up the whole pan. It seemed to bake properly, but they failed while cooling. Could I have over-baked the cake? Or under-baked it? Though I was careful there too. The whole thing remains a mystery.

      I appreciate your feedback. Thank you. I really should revisit this recipe, if not just to bake another angel food cake to prove I haven’t lost my mind entirely.

  3. orin 3 months ago

    Hi, I know how frustrating it is to make couple time the same recipe and they both fail, I had my fair share and many to comes.

    I know as the summer time approach sometimes the oven temperature can be higher then a cold day for example. your cake seem much darker then how mine came so maybe that could be the reason as to much heat or over baked it. This would dry the fragile eggs white and like a when making meringue treats if you over bake it will make it dry and cracked.

    as far for the filling my assumption either the lemon curd didn’t cooked enough or maybe the water were too hot for the gelatin.

    hope this might help.

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