Triple Lemon Layer Cake

lemon layer cake

When life gives you lemons . . .

Today I continue the lemon theme with a Lemon Layer Cake. Like my Jelly Donut Cake, this recipe uses a box mix for the cake layers and spruces it up with a special lemon filling and lemon-cream cheese frosting. Lemony goodness!

Make the lemon curd filling

Pick your pan

Please don’t overlook this important step. The choice of pan is important. I am very sensitive to “metallic” tastes, and the acidity of lemon juice can cause aluminum cookware to leach metallic aluminum ions into the sauce. Not only will the reaction create an unexpected taste in your sauce it will also cause damage to the pan, such as staining and pitting the cooking surface.

Finding the right pan isn’t easy. I once had a small glass Pyrex saucepan. Intuitively, I thought glass was a good choice, amiright? But the sticking . . . not great. So, I invested in a stainless steel saucepan. If you’ve seen the term “non-reactive cookware,” this is what stainless steel is all about: it means the cookware is made from material that will not react with acidic cooking ingredients.

So far the new pan is working great. Although it’s metal, stainless steel, there’s no metallic taste in my sauces.

Make the lemon curd filling

To get a lemon filling that is bursting with fresh flavor, use fresh-squeezed lemon juice and plenty of zest. In a small to medium saucepan, first mix together lemon zest, lemon juice and cornstarch. Then add butter and sugar, and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.

cooking the filling

Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with a wire whisk until smooth.

Just as we did for the Lemon Meringue Pie, first add a small amount of the hot lemon mixture to the beaten egg yolks, then pour this egg mixture back in the pan. Reduce heat to low, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until thick (Note: not to boil).

Lemon curd cooling

Place sauce in a bowl and put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming as it cools.

Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I tend to make this a day in advance due to the refrigeration time.

Lemon curd for lemon layer cake

When cool, the filling will be much thicker, aka lemon curd.

Make the cake layers

For the cake layers, use a box mix (or your favorite scratch recipe, if you have one) according to the package directions.

cake layers

Make 2 (8-inch) round layers.

Make the lemon-cream cheese frosting

Is there anything better than cream cheese frosting? Try this lemon version – oh yum! Lemon juice and lemon zest bring so much fresh taste, and that tart lemon sensation plays so well with cream cheese. You’ll be hooked!

Beat together butter and cream cheese. Then add the lemon zest and begin adding powdered sugar a cup at a time. As the frosting begins to thicken, add lemon juice in between cups of powdered sugar to loosen consistency. Once all ingredients are incorporated, you’ll have a thick, luscious frosting, ready to top your cake.

Assemble the lemon layer cake

Place one cake layer on a plate. Cover surface with cooled lemon filling. Place second cake layer on top.

Frost entire cake with cream cheese frosting.

lemon layer cake

Cake will keep for a day or two at room temperature, but because of the cream cheese frosting refrigeration is advised for any longer.

Triple Lemon Layer Cake

This cake is such a delight! Tangy and sweet, the fresh lemon taste can’t be beat! Give it a try!

Lemon curd
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5 from 5 votes

Lemon Curd Filling

Thick and tangy lemon filling for cakes or other bakery
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Cooling time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Calories: 148kcal
Author: Sula

Ingredients

  • 1 TB lemon zest grated
  • ½ cup lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 6 TB butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks beaten lightly

Instructions

  • To a small, non-reactive saucepan, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch and mix. Add butter and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil and stir for one minute. Reduce heat to low.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add a small amount of the hot lemon mix to the bowl and stir until fully incorporated.
  • Add egg mixture back to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick, about 5 minutes.
  • Place sauce in a small bowl and put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for 3 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

lemon layer cake
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting with the tang of lemon!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Calories: 308kcal
Author: Sula

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • ½ cup butter room temperature
  • 2 TB lemon juice fresh
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add lemon zest.
  • Begin adding powdered sugar, about one cup at a time. Beat well to incorporate each cup before adding more.
  • As frosting begins to thicken (usually after a couple cups of sugar) begin incorporating the lemon juice by adding a little juice in between each sugar addition.
  • Use all of the lemon juice and adjust the final amount of powdered sugar to achieve ideal spreading consistency.

Nutrition

Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 118mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 436IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

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    16 thoughts on “Triple Lemon Layer Cake

    1. Looks yummy. I love baking. Since we are in lock down we can experiment so much in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe. I love experimenting with new recipes.

      1. Thank you and I think you’re right in saying “refreshing” –not a word we usually think of with a cake, but lemon really is VERY refreshing.

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