Our Favorite Lemon Cake Recipes
Who doesn't love lemon cake? It's both tart and sweet. When we ask that question, we're thinking about all the many lemon cakes we adore—after all, lemon cake can be so many delicious things. It can be as easy as a one-layer snacking cake with raspberry cream-cheese frosting or as spectacular as 20 layers of crepes held together with a lemon curd filling and a rich, fluffy combination of mascarpone and cream covering the sides and top.
In between there are recipes including a crowd-pleasing lemon sheet cake that's citrusy from zest in the batter and a rich, silky glaze made with lemon juice and zest. Is pound cake more your thing? Our Lemon Pound Cake with Glazed Lemon Slices might just be the most lemony recipe here. It uses the humble lemon in four different ways: Zest goes into the batter; the loaves are finished with lemon syrup, lemon glaze; and the entire cake is topped with candied pieces of the citrus. As an added bonus, the recipe makes two loaves. And then there's the lemon pound cake pictured here, which has lemon in the batter and in the easy-to-make glaze. The puckery topping is all this simple yet spectacular dessert needs in terms of decoration.
For a more elegant cake, try our four-layer Lemon Honey Cake. It's so delicate and delectable that it doesn't even need frosting. The layers are made of moist olive oil cake and the filling is an irresistible concoction that tastes like a cross between lemon curd and cream-cheese frosting, but even better.
The recipes here all feature the common lemon, a transformative ingredient in both cooking and baking. Much as we like the Meyer lemon, it's a different citrus with a very different flavor so you won't find any Meyer lemon cake recipes in this collection. What you will find here is a tempting assortment of recipes that you'll want to bake for potlucks, parties, and just because.
Lemon Snack Cake with Raspberry-Cream Cheese Frosting
Lemon-Glazed Sheet Cake
For a lemon cake to feed a crowd, try this easy sheet cake. It has a double dose of tangy brightness thanks to a zest-filled batter and a silky citrus glaze. The candied lemon-rind topping is optional, but worth the additional effort.
Lemon-Mascarpone Crepe Cake
This cake is a showstopping confection of crepes layered with a luscious lemon curd and whipped cream filling, then covered with a rich mascarpone-whipped cream topping. This next-level dessert can be made ahead in stages, then assembled: make the crepes and lemon curd ahead (or use store-bought lemon curd).
Lemon-Rhubarb Olive-Oil Bundt Cake
Lemon juice and zest enhance the batter of this easy-to-make dairy-free cake. The olive-oil and whipped egg whites give it a light, fluffy texture reminiscent of a cake donut.
1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake
The name of this old-fashioned cake comes from the straight-forward formula used for measuring the main ingredients: one cup butter, two cups sugar, three cups flour, and four eggs.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake
A not-too-sweet cake with a light, delicate crumb, this lemon dessert is bursting with summer freshness, especially when mounded with whipped mascarpone cream and lots of ripe berries. Another plus: It can be made a day in advance and keeps beautifully as long as it's wrapped well.
Lemon Mousse Cake
This next-level lemon cake starts with a light vanilla cake and a bright, citrusy filling. The marshmallow-like meringue exterior is toasted with a kitchen torch and crowned with raspberries just before serving.
Lemon Honey Cake
A bit like a flavorful cup of tea, this gorgeous naked cake is infused with honey, lemon, and a hint of ground cardamom. Four layers of cake—made tender and moist with oil (in place of butter), milk, honey, and brown sugar—are brushed with more honey, then spread with a satiny-smooth filling that's a cross between lemon curd and cream-cheese frosting (for the best of both).
Lemon Pound Cakes with Candied Lemon Slices
This super-citrus recipe makes two pound cakes, which is good news because they always go fast. Lemon is featured in four ways: zest goes into the batter, and the loaves are finished with lemon syrup, lemon glaze, and candied pieces of the citrus.
Spring Lemon Cake
Sour cream makes this simple lemon cake moist and delicate. A dusting of confectioner's sugar and a garnish of edible flowers is all the decoration needed to make it memorable.
Lemon Cake Donuts
Buttermilk donuts dipped in a lemon glaze and sprinkled with lemon zest are the best way to start the day.
Lemon Poppy-Seed Tea Cake
Just right for afternoon tea but also excellent with a morning cup of coffee, this easy, lemony loaf cake is simply exquisite.