I made Nigella's Lemon Meringue Cake. The meringue came out of the oven looking good, but then deflated and was very soft and not at all crunchy. Is there anything I can do to remedy this?
Nigella's Lemon Meringue Cake (from FEAST) has thin layers of sponge cake, each with a layer of meringue baked on top. When cooked the sponge will be firm and the meringue will be browned on top. However the meringue will be soft inside, rather like a pavlova, and not a crisp meringue. The sponge layer will let off some steam as it bakes and this will prevent the meringue from becoming hard and crisp, plus the baking time is too short to fully dry out the meringue. Nigella mentions in the recipe that the meringue part will deflate and become thinner as the cake cools.
If the weather is humid or if you have a steamy kitchen then the meringue may soften a little more as it cools but the cake is still fine to eat. The cake is also best eaten on the day that it is made as the meringue will continue to soften as it stands. Any leftovers should be kept in the fridge and eaten within 24 hours.