Lemon Curd Cake Recipe

lemon curd cake

The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 1 layer cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
663 Calories
34g Fat
86g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 663
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 17g 84%
Cholesterol 145mg 48%
Sodium 370mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 86g 31%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 63g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 118mg 9%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 108mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sweet and luscious lemon curd cake is the perfect treat for lemon lovers everywhere.  Lemon is infused into every part of this cake. A homemade (and easy!) lemon curd is sandwiched in between sweet layers of lemon cake, then the whole thing is frosted with lemon buttercream. The frosting and lemon curd can be made ahead of time to make the cake assembly go quicker, or swap the curd for store-bought. 

Make sure to pick the freshest lemons you can find, organic if possible. Since there’s so much lemon going into this cake, only fresh lemon juice will yield the best result. 

Prepare this cake for baby showers, small weddings, or birthdays. It’s fancy enough for special events but easy enough to make for small gatherings. Decorate it with lemon slices, lemon zest, or adorable buttercream roses.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • Baking spray or butter, for greasing

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup water

For the Lemon Curd Filling

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Lemon slices, for serving

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round baking pans. Then line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper.

  3. Add the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer. Beat until combined and set aside.

  4. Whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon, zest, and eggs in a large measuring cup or separate mixing bowl.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Do not over-mix; stop once no pockets of flour remain.

  6. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix until well combined. Again, be careful not to overmix. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl to ensure the batter is well mixed.

  7. Fill the prepared pans with the batter, splitting it evenly between each pan.

  8. Place on the center rack and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door. Allow to vent with the cakes inside for 5 minutes and then remove the pans and place on a cooling rack.

  9. After the cakes have cooled for 10 to 15 minutes in the pans, flip them onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before assembling the cake. While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon curd.

Make the Lemon Curd Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the eggs and sugar until they are well incorporated.

  3. Add the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, whisking, until the mixture has thickened, 5 for 7 minutes.

  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cubed butter until it is well blended and the butter is melted and incorporated.

  5. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl to remove the lumps. Use a rubber spatula to force the curd through the sieve. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let the curd cool. While the curd is cooling, prepare the frosting.

Make the Frosting and Assemble

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add softened butter, confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer. Alternatively, use a large bowl and a hand mixer. Beat until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the frosting is fluffy. Add more heavy cream if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if it is too thin.

  3. If needed, trim the top of each cake so the rounded dome is removed, making the top flat. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each cake layer lengthwise so you have four thin cake layers. Make sure to hold the knife level so the halves are evenly cut through.

  4. Place a dollop of the frosting onto the base of your cake stand and top it with a cake layer. Add about a 1/4 cup of the lemon curd to the top of this layer and spread to evenly coat the entire layer.

  5. Add another cake layer on top and repeat with another 1/4 cup of lemon curd. Continue until the final layer is placed on top. Add a skim coating of the frosting to the entire cake, sealing in the crumbs and preventing them from being seen on the outside layer.

  6. Add a cup of frosting to the top of the cake and carefully frost the cake with an offset spatula.

  7. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired, then slice and serve.

How to Store

  • Cover and store this cake in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • You can freeze individual slices. Just wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months.

Recipe Tips

  • You can make the lemon curd and buttercream frosting a few days in advance. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Let the frosting warm up on the counter for several minutes before using.
  • Take your time to juice and zest all that you need for each part of the cake before starting to make the cake. That way you will have all of the lemon prep done and out of the way.

How Do You Make a Cake Light and Fluffy?

Surprisingly, the addition of water is what helps make a cake light and fluffy. Butter and milk contain fat which tend to weigh a cake down and make it dense. Adding in the water instead of more fattening ingredients help make the cake light, fluffy, and moist.