This fabulous recipe is from Tish Boyle's Diner Desserts book. Although it's style varies from diner to diner, lemon layer cake is a regular item on the lunch counter. This version is full of pure lemon flavor: moist lemon cake layers filled with a tart, creamy filling, all covered with a lemon buttercream frosting. Serve with good-quality vanilla icecream, if you like.
For the Lemon Cake
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (slightly softened)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (whole, at room temperature)
- 3 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 large lemon (juice of)
- ½ cup whole milk
For the Lemon Filling
- 2 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ cup heavy cream
For the Lemon Frosting
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 3½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
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Lemon Layer Cake is a community recipe submitted by sezz and has not been tested by Nigella.com so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir together with a whisk. Set aside.
- In an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the whole eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the lemon juice (the batter may appear curdled at this point but will smooth out later).
- Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with the milk in 2 additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 mins. Remove onto the rack and cool completely.
- In a medium nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the 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 the spoon. Do not let the filling boil, or it will curdle.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and allow the filling to cool. Cartouche (press cling film or greaseproof onto the surface), and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until chilled.
- In a clean fowl of the electric mixer, using the whisk attachment or beaters, beat the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Remove the lemon filling from the fridge and whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the whipped cream into the filling. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
- In a large bowl beat the butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar on low speed.
- Add cream, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest. Increase the speed to medium-high, and beat for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Assemble the cake
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Pile the lemon filling onto the center using a small offset spatula, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.
- Top with the second sponge layer.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with the lemon frosting.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.