If you like lemon and you like cake, then you will LOVE this delicious Lemon Curd Cake recipe. It is made completely from scratch and is a crowd pleasing favorite. With moist lemon cake, tangy lemon curd, and cream cheese whipped cream frosting, everyone will be wanting seconds.
Why You Will LOVE This Lemon Curd Cake Recipe
Watch Me Make This Cake In Under A Minute!
Lemon Curd Cake Ingredients
This cake is 3 delicious elements: single layer lemon cake, lemon curd, and a stabilized cream cheese whipped cream. Below are a few notes on each ingredient and substitution suggestions.
Single Layer Lemon Cake
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour like I did, or Gluten Free 1:1 flour with no difference in texture, taste, or bake time.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Essential leavening agents.
- Salt: To help boost the flavors and round out any acidity.
- Unsalted Butter: Make sure it is softened to room temperature. You can use salted butter, just omit the additional salt.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness and structure. I do not recommend substituting or reducing the amount.
- Lemon Zest: Always wash your lemons and zest them before juicing them (it is easier).
- Eggs: Brought to room temperature. This recipe has not been tested with egg alternatives.
- Vegetable Oil: Used for moisture. You can also use canola, or other neutral flavored oils. Just stay away from olive oil, it is heavy and weighs the crumb of the cake down.
- Vanilla Extract: Always use pure extract, imitation is not as flavorful.
- Sour Cream: To add tanginess and moisture to the batter. Plain Greek yogurt is a great alternative.
- Buttermilk: Brought to room temperature. Make your own buttermilk by taking 1 cup of whole milk, remove 1 tablespoon and replace it with either white vinegar or lemon juice. Allow to sit and sour prior to using.
Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting
- Cream Cheese: Soften it to room temperature and always use full fat cream cheese (it results in the best texture and flavor).
- Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioner’s sugar, do not mistake this for other types. This one adds sweetness without being grainy like other sugars.
- Vanilla Extract: see note above.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Make sure it is as cold as possible.
- Double Boiler: Always use glass, metal double boilers gives the curd a metallic taste. Make your own by using a medium sized saucepan (with an inch or two of water in it) and a heat safe glass bowl on top of the saucepan to make your curd in.
- 9″ Round Cake Pan: I recommend Fat Daddio’s pans, they are superior to all other brands out there. You will also need parchment circle and a little bit of nonstick cooking spray to prep the pan.
- Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer: This will make your life so much easier. You can make it by hand, but the recipe will take you longer to make.
- Icing Spatula: You can use a small silicone spatula, an offset spatula, or a butter knife to spread the frosting. It glides effortlessly so you can really use anything to spread it on.
How to Make Lemon Curd Cake
You will love how simple and easy to make this single layer cake recipe is. Here is a basic overview of how to make it, the recipe card below will have more details.
1. Cook the homemade lemon curd in a double boiler and refrigerate until cooled completely.
2. Bake the single layer lemon cake in an 9 inch round cake pan. Allow it to cool to room temperature or the heat from the cake will melt the curd and frosting.
3. Whip together the cream cheese whipped cream frosting. Refrigerate it until you are ready to decorate.
4. Construct the Lemon Curd Cake. Mine is lemon cake topped with frosting and lemon curd swirled into the frosting. Top that with fresh lemon slices and lemon zest. Remember, you can decorate your cake as much or as little as you would like. I chose a rustic feel for mine.
Single layer cakes are not only easier to make, but they are easier to store. This Lemon Curd Cake should be refrigerated and in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Any leftover lemon curd can be refrigerated in an airtight jar or container for up to 3 months. Use it on pancakes, in a cocktail or mocktail, or even on top of these Lemon Curd Cookies or Easy Lemon Lavender Cookies.
It can be stored at room temperature but only for a day or so. It should not be left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time or the whipped cream can liquify.
I do not recommend freezing Lemon Curd Cake. Once thawed the frosting becomes an odd texture and runny consistency.
You can freeze the lemon cake for up to three months by wrapping it in plastic wrap. The lemon curd can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight container.
Make Ahead Information
You can make the lemon cake and lemon curd up to 2 days ahead of time. Do not prepare the cream cheese whipped cream until you are ready to decorate and serve the cake.
The lemon cake should be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator. The lemon curd can be kept in an airtight glass container or jar.
4 Tips For Even Better Lemon Curd Cake
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor. Bottled just is too acidic and is just not the same.
- Measure your flour correctly (or it will alter the texture of your cake). Just fluff it up with a whisk, spoon it into your measuring cups, level it off with a knife. This gives you the correct amount of flour every time.
- Properly prep your cake pan. I recommend cutting out a parchment paper circle and pressing it into your cake pan, then spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. This method never fails and the cakes come out beautiful every time!
- Watch your cream cheese whipped cream VERY carefully, it can be over whipped into a curdled mess. Typically it takes only 30 seconds to 1 minute for the frosting to come to stiff peaks.
Use different sized pans. This recipe will make other single layer cakes like a bundt cake or 8×8 square cake. You can even double the recipe to make a 13×9 cake. Just keep in mind bake times may vary depending on how full the cake pans are, this is a great resource to take a look at.
Limited on time? Cut it in half by using store bought lemon curd. I like this one.
Want to use up those extra egg whites? Try my No Fail Italian Meringue instead of the cream cheese whipped cream frosting. It is approachable but definitely more complex to make than the frosting.
Try other curd flavors like lime, raspberry, passionfruit, orange. The list of options goes on and on.
Decorate Your Way
I am always drawn towards the rustic and simple method of spreading on my frosting and curd with a knife/ spatula. But here are a few more ideas:
Try extra large piping tips to make beautiful swirls and designs that look just like the bakery cakes. These are my go to piping tips.
Add fun garnishes like edible flowers, lemon zest, fresh berries, candied lemon slices, or even festive sprinkles.
Make an unfrosted Lemon Curd Cake and leave off the cream cheese whipped cream. Just top your cake with lemon curd!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
More Cake Recipes You Might Like
Lemon Curd Cake
- double boiler - use glass, metal will make the curd taste metallic
- cake pan - round 9 inch, prepared with parchment paper
- stand mixer or hand mixer - with paddle attachment
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg - room temperature
- 3 egg yolks - room temperature
- ½ cup lemon juice - about 3 lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest - about 1 lemon
- ½ cup unsalted butter - room temperature and sliced
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Single Layer Lemon Cake
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter - room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 eggs - room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream - full fat, room temperature
- ¼ cup buttermilk - room temperature
Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese - full fat at room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream - cold
- Prepare a double boiler by filling the bottom pot with 1 to 2 inches of water (the water should not be touching the bottom of the top bowl). Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Place granulated sugar, whole egg, egg yolks, and lemon zest in the top pot of the double boiler. Start whisking immediately until well combined.
- Slowly add the lemon juice while continuing to whisk and cook the curd.
- Once the mixture becomes slightly wobbly and thickened (about 10 minutes), remove pan from heat.
- Add the sliced butter and salt into the curd. Whisk until the butter has completely melted and the curd is well combined.
- Pour curd into a bowl and immediately place a piece of plastic wrap on top (it should be touching the surface of the curd or a skin layer will form).
- Place the lemon curd in the refrigerator and allow it to cool and continue to thicken. NOTE: This recipe makes more lemon curd than required, you will have leftovers.
Single Layer Lemon Cake
- Preheat oven 350 °F to and center oven rack.
- Prepare an 8 inch cake pan by placing a parchment circle in the bottom of your cake pan. Liberally spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small measuring cup combine buttermilk and sour cream. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the room temperature unsalted butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until pale in color and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes at medium- high speed). Scrape down bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
- Add vegetable oil and vanilla extract, beat on medium speed until incorporated.
- On low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture. Between each addition scrape down the bowl. It should go like this: dry ingredients, buttermilk mixture, dry ingredients, buttermilk mixture, dry ingredients, STOP and move onto next step.
- Pour lemon cake batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth it into an even layer.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around the perimeter of the cake to detach it from the pan. Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 20 minutes inside the pan.
- Carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to completely cool.
Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
- On medium-high speed beat the cream cheese and vanilla extract. It should be light in color and smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and cream together on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Turn the mixture to medium speed and slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream. Once added, turn speed to high and allow the frosting to come to stiff peaks (about 30 seconds to 1 minute, the frosting will be able to hold it's shape).
Decorating the Lemon Curd Cake
- Place the completely cooled cake on a cake plate or serving plate.
- Spread the cream cheese whipped cream frosting over the top of the cake until it is in an even layer.
- Scatter spoonfuls of the lemon curd over top of the frosting. Lightly swirl it using your icing spatula to give a marbled effect.
- Cut into 10 equal pieces and serve.
- Leftover Lemon Curd: Store in a glass jar, in the refrigerator, for up to 10 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- Lemon Curd Cake: Refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. This cake can be kept at room temperature for a day or so (out of direct sunlight. I do not recommend this cake be frozen.
Make Ahead Information:
- The lemon cake should be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator. The lemon curd can be kept in an airtight glass container or jar. Both can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- Do not prepare the cream cheese whipped cream until you are ready to decorate and serve the cake.
Use Different Sized Pans:
- This recipe will make other single layer cakes like a bundt cake or 8×8 square cake. You can even double the recipe to make a 13×9 cake.
- Keep in mind bake times may vary depending on how full the cake pans are, this is a great resource to take a look at.
Decorate Your Way:
- Try extra large piping tips to make beautiful swirls.
- Add fun garnishes like edible flowers, lemon zest, fresh berries, candied lemon slices, and even festive sprinkles.
- Make an unfrosted cake.
Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.