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This cheery lemon cake is perfect for festive occasions. Top it off with our Whipped Frosting that's the perfect light and fluffy complement to this moist cake.

Source: Everyday Food, May 2009
Total Time Prep Servings




To make the recipe Martha prepared with John Barricelli on "The Martha Stewart Show," follow these instructions immediately before frosting the cake: Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with lemon curd. Top with remaining cake; continue frosting top and sides as directed.

Cook's Notes

When making frosting, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for the vanilla extract.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • radrinnon336492
    5 MAR, 2019
    I see some reviewers are saying their cakes are burnt or dense, there are a few things to keep in mind here... 1)the type of pan you're using- dark or nonstick pans vs. Shiny aluminum pans. Shiny pans should be used about 25° lower temp 2) check your levener- how old is your baking powder? It seems to me that most of the problems people are having appear to be operator error. If you've never baked, THIS IS NOT A BEGGINER BAKER RECIPE. As another reviewer mentioned, when grating your lemon peel only use the outermost layer of peel, keep the pith out or you will have a bitter cake!
  • cboucher31
    15 MAY, 2017
    This is by far the best lemon cake I've ever tasted! I made one on a Tuesday and it was gone on Wednesday (only 4 in our household) and I HAD to make another one! NEVER has a cake gone so quickly and been requested for another so rapidly! If you follow the directions precisely you will not be disappointed. I've made this cake so many times now, and it comes out perfectly every single time! When invited to a get-together and I ask "what do you want me to bring?", they always say bring the lemon cake please!
    • ashokvrushali17
      11 MAY, 2018
      fahrenheit or celsius
  • CakenGifts12
    20 MAY, 2017
    "I love this recipe! Excellent taste"THANKS for sharing GOOD Recipe.
    • ashokvrushali17
      11 MAY, 2018
      did you bake it in fahrenheit or celsius?
  • ALR11186978DW
    8 SEP, 2017
    My sponge fell apart after I brushed on the syrup. When I transferred one of the sponges to the top, it fell apart! I noticed Martha had brushed all the syrup onto the sponges in the segment, so I did the same and it made my sponges too soggy. Why did it work in the segment- doesn't anyone know? I used 8x2 cake pans and they rose quite a bit in the oven. Btw, other than being ugly, it tastes amazing. I used Ina Garden's lemon curd recipe for the center. Appreciate any advise!
    • ashokvrushali17
      11 MAY, 2018
      fahrenheit or celsius?
  • ALR7138241DW
    23 DEC, 2017
    The first time I made this it came out perfect and I made it as directed. The second time my frosting broke down after I put it on. I think I didn't whip the whites to be firm enough. Today I'm about to try it as a lime cake. On another note, John Barricelli is a superstar - really kind and personable and his pastries are like magic (try the monkey bread or chocolate almond croissants).
    • ashokvrushali17
      11 MAY, 2018
      is it fahrenheit or celsius?
  • writesewgmail
    26 MAR, 2017
    Loved this cake! I made it for a party and it was a big hit, with lemon buttercream frosting and sprinkles. What a great recipe! Will be making this again.
    • mmaroto
      8 MAY, 2017
      Thank you - I would definitely make this with buttercream frosting! No one in my family like that egg white frosting.
  • jeniandjonimae
    7 MAY, 2017
    I haven't even made this cake yet, but can tell by the comments on here that it is a beautiful cake, BUT THAT IS ONLY IF YOU LIKE 'LEMON ' CAKES! I MUST say that the negative comments must come from those who 'think' that they are following a recipe and simply don't know the rules for 'baking'!!! Such as one who claimed the cake was dry, tasteless ,and too dense. Plus, it left a bad taste ??? In their mouths and it was thrown in trash. I would suggest that any cake can make those claims if one does not know the secrets of taking a cake out of the oven at the precise moment. Even 1 minute can make a huge difference in the texture of any cake. Also, with a 'lemon' recipe using grated lemon, knowing HOW to grate lemon peel can be bitter by even a small bit of grating too deeply past the out peeling., etc. Suggestion: practice makes perfect.
  • Alia Sa
    22 SEP, 2013
    Dear Martha, i can't find buttermilk where i live, what can i use instead it?! Thanks
    • MS10607356
      7 MAY, 2017
      use w[filtered] milk and vinegar. I think the ratio is one tables[filtered] vinegar to one cup milk. Google can give you the correct ratio
  • MS11801247
    29 APR, 2017
    So many seemed to have a problem making this cake. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out amazing - a moist, tender lemonly crumb
  • mybonesaolcom
    27 JUL, 2016
    Followed the recipe exactly. Cake was awful. Most at the party through it away. Cake was dry, tasteless and way too dense. Candied lemons left a bad taste in your mouth that could not be washed out. Trust me skip this one.

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