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Lemon Layer Cake with Curd and Blueberries


Layered and light, the tiers of this cake call for cholesterol-free egg whites and skim milk; the berries in between are thought to be brain boosters.

  • Servings: 10

Photography: Elizabeth Watt

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2006



  • Vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar


  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups blueberries, lightly crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Coat two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment. Spray parchment; set aside.

  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, the milk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl; set aside.

  3. Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Fold in remaining flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the egg white mixture. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack. Remove parchment; reinvert. Let cool completely.

  5. Make the lemon curd: Put egg yolks into a medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Whisk together lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the lemon juice; whisk until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually whisk one-third of the lemon mixture into the reserved egg yolks. Pour mixture into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 1/2 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until firm and cold, at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).

  7. Fold blueberries into curd; set aside. Trim top and bottom of one cake to be flat. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Set untrimmed bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup curd. Repeat with trimmed halves for second and third layers. Top with untrimmed top layer. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Reviews Add a comment

  • jdhemecogmail
    19 JUN, 2017
    I'm a pretty experienced home baker, and I have to say this one is a dud. My cakes were only about an inch thick, so I didnt slice them into layers. I also baked the cake an extra 6 minutes and it still didnt turn golden like in the picture. In fact, the cake was very white all the way through, not yellow like above. The cake in the picture almost looks like a box mix to me - very fluffy and golden.
  • shalomsalaam
    28 MAY, 2015
    This recipe was really disappointing. I followed the recipe to the letter, bought fresh cake flour, and folded my batter extra gently, but it still fell flat. The cake was thin, dense and a total flop. Tried again the next day with regular flour hoping for better results, but nope. Same flop. I'm not used to having cake fails! So sad! That being said, the curd was totally amazing. Martha's Swiss Meringue Buttercream elevated the sad, flat cake but won't make this cake again.
  • marilisa64
    24 MAR, 2015
    I used pink grapefruit curd for the filling which was a lot of work but well worth it and delicious! The cake however came out dry. In the photo the cake layers look thicker. My cake layers turned out very thin. I added grapefruit rind to the cake batter but couldn't taste it after I bsked it. The cake is bland and dry. I might give it a last go by baking it in a sheet pan and brushing pink grapefruit juice into the cake before spreading on the curd. It might work better as a Swiss roll instead.
  • ervinc
    10 MAY, 2014
    A friend made this cake for a party recently, and it was the highlight of the evening. I'm not sure how he transported it, as the layers are balanced precariously. The cake itself is light and airy, almost like a chiffon, and the lemon curd is sinfully rich. The whole mouth sensation was 'Wow!' It's my new favorite cake.
  • stevoe
    10 APR, 2013
    Don't these layers slide? It looks precarious!
  • quietbay34
    1 APR, 2013
    I made this for Easter yesterday and it was a HUGE hit. I secured it with 4 skewers so it wouldn't shift as we drove. The recipe was easy to follow and the lemon curd was fantastic. Thanks again!
  • kristyn770
    14 JUN, 2010
    The nutritional info from the magazine, per serving: 350 cals; 10 g fat; 82 mg cholesterol; 63 g carbohydrate; 278 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber
  • RobsDiva
    16 MAY, 2009
    What is the nutritional info on this cake? I don't see it listed anywhere. Thanks!
  • Lyggie
    12 MAR, 2009
    The instructions are included for the Curd. Read the recipe properly.
  • Lyggie
    12 MAR, 2009
    The instructions are included for the Curd. Read the recipe properly.