Lemon Layer Cake Recipe That's Sweetly Tart (+ Lemon Filling)

You'll fall in love with our lemon layer cake and filling that combines the best of both worlds — sweetness with a citrusy tang.

Updated December 19, 2023
lemon cake

Our lemon layer cake with lemon filling is pure citrus bliss. Using just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up a sweet and fluffy cake with layers of citrusy delight. We love making this for special occasions and when we're craving something refreshingly delightful. 

How to Make Lemon Layer Cake 

Double or triple-layer your cake by duplicating the recipe below. This recipe makes one cake layer that's sliced in half and filled. Makes 8 to 10 servings. 

Ingredients for Cake 

  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted and cooled

Ingredients for Lemon Filling 

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions for Cake 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray, or grease it and dust it with flour. Place a piece of parchment on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Crack the eggs into a doubler boiler or heatproof bowl and whisk them thoroughly. Add the sugar and lemon zest.
  3. Set the double boiler over a pot of boiling water and whisk the ingredients until the mixture is warm. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Take the double boiler off the heat and continue beating the mixture with a whisk or electric mixer until it stiffens and cools. 
  5. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and add baking powder and salt. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  6. Add the vegetable shortening to the batter and stir gently with a spatula until fully incorporated.
  7. Place the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
  8. Let the cake cool completely. 
Quick Tip

For the cake and filling, we love the vibrant flavor of Meyer lemons. 

Instructions for Filling 

  1. Place the egg yolks and egg white in a double boiler or heatproof bowl. Beat them with a whisk and set the mixture over a pot of simmering water.
  2. Add the shortening, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and salt to the beaten eggs. Whisk the mixture constantly until it is warm and thickened and the sugar has dissolved completely. This should take 5 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  4. Pour the filling into a bowl and top it with a layer of plastic wrap to prevent it from developing skin. Put the plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  5. Chill the filling for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to use, slice the cake in half horizontally and distribute the lemon filling in the middle.
Quick Tip

Frost your cake with whipped cream, extra lemon filling, or dust with powdered sugar (or try Sally's Baking Addiction's lemon buttercream frosting. Adding lemon slices, berries, and/or mint leaves can give your cake a pop of color. 

True Lemon Bliss 

If you're looking for a cake that's sweet but has a little tang, this is the one for you. We promise you that you'll be going back for an extra slice or two (because we know we do). 

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Lemon Layer Cake Recipe That's Sweetly Tart (+ Lemon Filling)