Luscious Lemon Layer Cake

I needed something sweet today. But not overpoweringly sweet. Something light and fluffy… and fruity. Unfortunately, I scarfed down all the strawberries I had gotten at the store the other day, and didn’t feel like driving all the way to the store to get more. Yes, I know the store isn’t really that far away, I just didn’t want to go, ok?! But, that is ok, because I just happened to have some lemons on hand!

This cake turned out better than I expected, it had a great lemony flavor – not too tart and not too sweet!

Tips on frosting a layered cake:
*This cake is a sponge cake, so be careful when removing it from the pans as it is very fragile. If you have the time, I would highly recommend placing the cake layers in the freezer on a layer of wax paper for 30-45 minutes before frosting. This will allow the cake to be handled with better ease so it won’t completely fall apart on you, and will make sure that crumbs don’t infiltrate your frosting. If you have to move everything out of your freezer to make room for the cake, don’t worry, just place whatever you have to move from the freezer in your fridge until you can transfer it back. I do this all the time, it won’t hurt anything.
*To get as smooth a frosting as you can, run your frosting utensil under hot water before you begin, and occasionally while you frost.
*Place small waxed paper strips on your serving platter, tucked just under the edge of your cake, and this will help make a clean finish on your platter. When you are done frosting, carefully remove the waxed paper strips and Viola! Perfectly clean edges!

Luscious Lemon Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 servings Cooking Time: 2 hours


  • Cake:
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking salt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Syrup:
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Filling:
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Frosting:
  • 1.5 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 3.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest



For the Cake:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8 inch round cake pans.


In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.


Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


Add the whole eggs and the yolks one at a time and beat well after each addition.


Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest.


Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the lemon juice. It will appear as if the batter is curdling, but don't freak out, it will smooth out later.


Alternate adding in the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then beat again for 10 seconds.


Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. While the cake is baking, make the syrup by combining the 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp lemon zest in a saucepan. Let the mixture boil until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. When you take the cakes from the oven, brush some of the lemony simple syrup over the top of the cakes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.



For the Filling:


In a medium non-reactive saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined. Whisk in the lemon juice, butter, and salt.


Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes or until the mixture turns opaque, thickens, and coats the back of a spoon. Do NOT let the mixture boi or it will curdle.


Stir in the lemon zest and allow the filling to cool. Transfer to a bowl.


Press cling wrap onto the surface of the filling, making sure no air can get in.


Place in the refrigerator for one hour.


Beat the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form.


Remove the filling from the fridge and stir with a spoon until smooth.


Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the whipped cream into the lemon filling.


Cover and refrigerate until ready to use


For the Frosting:


In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy.


Gradually beat in the powdered sugar on low speed.


Add the cream, lemon zest and vanilla.


Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.



To Assemble the Cake:


Place one cake layer on a serving plate.


Pile all the lemon filling onto the center of the cake and spread into an even layer, leaving a 1 inch border around the edge.


Top with the second layer.


Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting.


Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Bring to room temperature before serving.

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