How to Make Lemon Cake

Most bakers will know how to make lemon cake with a variety of recipes. Lemon ranks right up at the top of the list with chocolate as being a favorite flavor around the world. Not only are there numerous lemon cake recipes but pies, cookies, muffins, ice cream and other desserts. Because of the lack of sweetness in lemons, they are also included in the recipes of many entrees.  When fish and seafood is served in restaurants, lemon is always served with it.

When you learn how to make lemon cake, you will find some recipes might include lemon juice, lemon extract or lemon peel. The peel may also be called rind or zest. Some recipes will include more than one of these. Each one of these sources offer a slightly different strength in taste when added to a recipe. 

Lemon juice can be freshly squeezed from lemons or it can be purchased in the bottle at the grocery store. Although the bottle is sometimes more convenient, I always prefer the freshly squeezed; the flavor is so much better.  Lemon extract is also very convenient and is important to keep on hand.  It adds a good flavor and only a teaspoon or less is usually needed. These are important tips if you are wanting to know how to make lemon cake.

How to make lemon cake using lemon zest?

WHAT IS LEMON ZEST? The zest (peel or rind) is the yellow outermost part of the lemon. This is where you get the strong citrus flavor to add to your recipes. This can be removed from the lemon with a tool called a “zester” or use a sharp paring knife or a potato peeler. Be careful not to cut too deep into the white membrane called “pith” of the lemon which is very bitter. Once removed, the zest can be chopped or grated or however the recipe instructs.

How to make lemon cake with this unusual recipe?


how to make lemon cakeHow to Make a Lemon Meringue Cake

This cake makes a great presentation if you are learning how to make lemon cake.


  • ¼ Cup softened butter
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 2 Eggs separated (Save whites for meringue)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 Cup milk
  • ½ Teaspoon vanilla


  • 2 Eggs separated (Save whites for meringue)
  • 1 Cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 Cup flour
  • ½ Teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ¼ Cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter


  • 4 Egg whites from above
  • ½ Teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ Cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F degrees; grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
For CAKE cream butter gradually adding the sugar.
Add egg yolks and 1 egg to creamed mixture beating well.
Combine 1 cup of flour and baking powder and sift.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternating with milk mixing after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan; bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.

For FILLING combine egg yolks and water; set aside.
Combine ¾ cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour in a heavy saucepan; add egg yolk mixture and lemon rind.
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
Boil mixture 2 minutes and remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and 1 tablespoon butter.
Cover mixture with wax paper and cool.
Place cake on baking sheet; spoon filling onto cake.
NOTE: To be able to move the cake to a serving plate when completely finished, place a piece of parchment paper under the cake on the baking sheet. Cut the parchment paper slightly larger than the cake to prevent the meringue from sticking to the tray (it will bake on the parchment paper). When the cake cools, use a cake lift or spatulas to lift it to the serving plate.

For MERINGUE beat 4 egg whites (at room temperature) and cream of tartar at high speed 1 minute.
Gradually add ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time beating until stiff peaks form.
Spread meringue over lemon filling; bake for 12 to 15 minutes until meringue is lightly browned.

Lemon Meringue Cake FillingLemon Meringue Cake Filling
Spread Meringue Over FillingSpread Meringue Over Filling
how to make lemon cakeLemon Meringue Cake Piece


lemon cake roll recipeLemon Cake Roll Recipe

This is a very delicious cake for when you are learning how to make lemon cake.

  • 4 Eggs separated
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 2/3 Cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Creamy lemon filling
  • ½ Cup flaked coconut
  • ½ Teaspoon water
  • 1 to 2 Drops yellow food coloring
  • Sprigs of fresh mint

Preheat oven at 350F degrees; grease bottom and sides of 10 X 15 X 1 inch jelly roll pan with oil.
Line pan with wax paper, grease and flour wax paper; set aside.
Beat egg yolks in a large bowl on high speed until thick and lemon colored gradually adding ¼ cup sugar.
Stir in vegetable oil and lemon extract; set aside.
Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until foamy gradually adding ½ cup sugar; beat until stiff peaks.
Fold egg whites into yolk mixture.
Sift together sifted flour, baking powder and salt; gradually fold into egg mixture.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan; bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Sift powdered sugar in a 10 X 15 inch rectangle on a clean towel.
When cake is done loosen sides with a knife and turn out on the sugared towel.
Carefully peel off wax paper; start at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together and cool completely.
Unroll cake and spread with half of the creamy lemon filling; carefully reroll cake WITHOUT towel.
Place cake on cake platter with seam side down; spread remaining filling all over cake.
Combine coconut, water and yellow food coloring in a plastic bag and shake well.
Sprinkle yellow colored coconut over the cake roll; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.

How to make lemon cake with a luscious creamy filling?
Creamy Lemon Filling

  • 1 Can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • ½ Cup lemon juice
  • 5 Drops yellow food coloring
  • 1 ½ Cups frozen whipped topping thawed

Combine sweetened condensed milk, lemon peel, lemon juice and food coloring; stir well.
Fold in whipped topping.

lemon cake roll recipeA Piece of the Lemon Cake Roll


How to make lemon cake with a pound cake recipe?

Prepare lemon curd when you take the cake out of the oven; it needs to still be warm to spread.

  • 1 Cup softened butter
  • ½ Cup solid shortening
  • 3 Cups sugar
  • 6 Large eggs
  • 3 Cups flour
  • ½ Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon extract
  • Lemon curd (Below)
  • Fresh rosemary and sugared cranberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F degrees; grease and flour a 12 cup tube cake pan.

Beat butter and shortening until creamy; gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time beating after each.
Measure and sift flour; combine and sift flour, baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternating with the milk; beat on low after each addition.
Stir in vanilla and lemon extract; pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan.
Carefully brush lemon curd over top and sides of cake; cool completely on wire rack and garnish.

Lemon Curd Recipe:

  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Large egg slightly beaten

Stir together sugar, butter, lemon peel and juice in small saucepan.
Add egg to mixture and stir until blended.
Cook mixture over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly.
NOTE: Mixture will begin to bubble around the edges and the consistency will resemble whipping cream (Not whipped).
Brush immediately over cake; mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.

How to make lemon cake with an old “cheesecake” recipe?


When you learn how to make lemon cake, you might run across old recipes for cheesecake. When I was young we never had cheesecake; they were unheard of. The old “cheesecake” recipes were simply cakes which reminded you of the texture of cheese when you tasted it. When I was about seventeen, my older sister Dorothy tried the “real” thing and loved the flavor. I remember Dad talking about this and laughing about people putting cheese in cakes. Can you imagine?

  • ¾ Cup softened butter
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 3 ½ Cups sifted flour
  • 3 ½ Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 Egg whites beaten stiff

Preheat oven to 375F degrees; grease three 8 inch round cake pans.
Cream butter gradually adding sugar.
Sift flour and baking powder together three times.
Add flour mixture to cream mixture alternately with milk and vanilla; fold in egg whites.
Divide evenly into prepared pans; bake 35 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes on rack; remove cakes from pans and cool completely and frost.

Old Fashioned Cheesecake Frosting

  • 9 Egg yolks
  • 1 ½ Cups sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups butter
  • Juice and zest of 4 lemons

Combine and mix all ingredients in top of double boiler over hot water.
Cook and stir until thickened about 20 minutes; spread in between layers and on outside of entire cake.
Refrigerate cake.