This pretty lemon curd cake is simple to make and guaranteed to brighten up any occasion. Bursting with flavour from both the lemon syrup and lemon curd, this cake will impress all the lemon dessert lovers in your life!
I have always loved the taste of lemon in desserts and this lemon cake is no exception. I wanted to make a cake that was easy to prepare and where lemon is the real star! I’ve made many citrus desserts over the years, but I have to say this one just might be my favourite and I hope it will become yours too!
The sponge is moist and has a light lemon taste thanks to the addition of lemon zest. You’ll split one layer of cake into two then soak them with simple lemon syrup which helps to keep the sponge moist. Finally, the layers are sandwiched together with a luscious sweet and tart lemon curd.
I make my own lemon curd at home and I encourage you to try it yourself! If you prefer to buy lemon curd from the store, you can absolutely do that if it makes things easier.
What You’ll Need to Make this Recipe
- One 8” cake pan
- Cake/pastry flour (you can buy this flour readymade, or I have a tip below for making your own at home)
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Butter (I use salted butter in this recipe, but you can use unsalted, just increase the amount of salt that you add)
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon zest
- Large egg
- Yogurt (I like to use plain, whole yogurt in this recipe)
- Milk (I used 2%)
- Lemon curd (you can make your own at home or buy it from the store)
How to Make Lemon Curd Cake
If you plan on making your own lemon curd, you’ll want to make it ahead of time to allow the curd time to cool completely before using it for your cake.
For the cake, begin by pouring the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a medium-sized bowl and whisking together. Set this bowl aside.
Next you will cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. You can use a stand mixer to do this step, or you can cream everything together in a bowl using a wooden spoon. It will just take a bit more time if you’re doing it by hand.
Once everything is smooth and creamy, add in the egg and beat everything well until it is fully incorporated.
Now pour in the flour mixture, continuing to beat everything and then finally add in the yogurt, milk, and vanilla.
Continue to beat until everything is just combined and smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you’re beating the mixture so that everything gets incorporated.
The cake will bake for 30 – 35 minutes. You’ll know that it is done when you prick it with a toothpick, and it comes out clean or even better with 2-3 crumbs attached.
While the cake is cooling, you can make the lemon simple syrup by heating lemon juice, sugar, and water in a small pot over medium heat. You’ll want to stir the syrup constantly until it comes to a boil and then continue on a low bowl for 10 minutes until the sugar has melted completely and the syrup has thickened slightly.
Assembling the Layers
Now it’s time to put the whole thing together! Carefully slice the cake into two even layers. You can check out my tips below for cutting these layers.
Brush or spoon the simple syrup on the both layers, top the bottom layer with the lemon curd and then place the second layer on top and gently press down. You don’t want to press down too hard, or the lemon curd will squeeze out between the layers.
To finish off the lemon curd cake, you can dust it with some powdered sugar. The easiest way to do this is to pass the sugar through a fine meshed sieve which will allow you to lightly shower your cake.
Tips for Making Lemon Cake
Make sure that your ingredients are at room temperature before you begin to make the cake. It is so much easier to cream butter and eggs that aren’t straight from the fridge! Take them out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you begin baking.
Always grease and flour your cake pans before you pour in the cake batter. This method will help to ensure your baked cake comes out of the pan. You can also line the bottom of your pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, to make for easy removal.
Try rolling the lemon on the counter first or heating in a microwave for 20 seconds to soften the lemon which makes it easier to squeeze out the juice.
You’ll want the lemon cake to have cooled completely before you cut it in half horizontally. There are a couple of ways to split your cake. You can use a cake leveller if you have one. This tool is designed specifically for splitting or levelling domes off the tops of cakes to make them easier to stack. Another option is to use a serrated knife to cut across the cake, using a gentle sawing motion, being careful to keep your hands out of the blade’s way!
Cake flour is made of soft wheat and has a lower protein content than other flours. This lighter flour is perfect for making delicate cakes and pastries. If you can’t get your hands on some cake flour, don’t worry because you can make your own at home! All you need is some all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For every cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Make sure to sift the flour and cornstarch together this will eliminate any lumps before using it in your recipe.
While not strictly necessary, simple syrups are used to brush or spoon on cakes for added flavour, sweetness and most importantly moisture.
Any leftover cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap well in plastic wrap. It will keep up to 2-3 days in the fridge. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
You can freeze the cake after it is baked and before you split it into two layers. Once the cake has cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it into a freezer bag before placing it in the freezer. Let the cake come to room temperature again before you fill it with the lemon curd for serving.
This lemon cake is perfect just the way it is, but if you are in the mood to dress it up a bit, you can consider garnishing it with any of the following:
- Candied lemon slices
- Whipped cream
- Lemon glaze
This lovely Lemon curd cake is simple and full of flavour. I hope you enjoy making it!
More Cake Recipes to try
Lemon Curd Cake
- 1¼ cups cake/pastry flour
- 1 pinch salt*
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup +1 tablespoon butter (softened)
- ½ cup +2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- zest of a lemon
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- ½ cup yogurt (plain whole fat/ room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon milk (I used 2%)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
*If using unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon salt.
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 Lemon Curd Recipe
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered/icing sugar
Make the Lemon Curd, while it is cooling make the cake.
FOR THE CAKE
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and flour an 8 inch (20 cm) cake pan.
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl or stand up mixer beat on medium speed the butter, sugar and zest until creamy.
- Add the egg and beat well, then add the flour and beat to combine, add the yogurt, milk and vanilla beat until smooth, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Spoon into the prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick, when 2-3 crumbs are attached the cake is done.
- Let the cake cool completely, then slice it to make 2 layers, brush or spoon each layer with the simple syrup and top with the lemon curd. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy.
FOR THE LEMON SYRUP
- In a small pot add the juice, sugar and water, stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat, continue on a low boil for 10 minutes until the sugar has evaporated and the syrup has thickened slightly. Let cool completely then brush or spoon on the completely cooled cake.