Lemon Layer Cake

I adore lemon layer cake! This is my very favourite recipe; a lemony four tier sponge cake, oozing with homemade lemon curd and dripping with lemon icing....

Despite the description, this cake really isn't too sweet. The balance between the sharpness of the lemon and the sweetness is absolutely perfect. This recipe is adapted from Delia Smith's recipe and we could not improve on it, other than doubling the amount of icing she uses.

I think the lemon curd in this lemon layer cake is sublimely creamy with an amazing lemon tang. We often make extra for having at breakfast with toast. Delia-cious.

I have been tempted to put extra lemon curd in the cake. You can - but it's really not necessary. It's quite perfect the way it is.

The icing is what really makes it for me. It's so tangy, yet sweet. The flavour of the lemon really comes through. I doubled the quantity from Delia's original recipe, and I really think it's better with the extra icing.

This lemon layer cake is, I think, the best lemon cake recipe I have yet tried. I do love lemon drizzle cake, and it's much simpler to make. I also love lemon poppyseed cake. But this cake tops them both.

I think of it as a summer cake. Of course, you can have it any time of the year you like. Perhaps a little sunshine in winter is just what the doctor ordered!

I've given the recipe using self-raising flour, and also using plain flour with raising agents. Either works just fine.

Lemon Layer Cake

Level: intermediate
Time: 1 1/2 hours, inc cooling time
Serves 8-10

225g (1 1/4 cups) plain flour
pinch salt
1 slightly rounded tsp baking soda
1 slightly rounded tsp baking powder
Plus 1 tsp baking powder

225g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

225g (1 cup) butter
225g (1 1/4 cups) caster/fine sugar
4 eggs

Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 qty lemon curd
1 qty lemon icing (below)

  • Grease and line two 8inch cake tins.

  • Pre heat oven to 325F, Gas Mark 3.

  • This is a very simple "all-in-one" cake, so just pile all the above ingredients into a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. If you take a spoonful of the mixture, it should drop easily but slowly from the spoon. If it is looser than this, that's fine, but if it doesn't fall easily, then add a little milk and mix in.

  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for about 35 minutes.

  • While they are in the oven, you can make the lemon curd.

  • When the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.  It's important to let them get completely cold before you proceed.

  • This cake is best with this tangy lemon icing that drips down the side of the cake. It's the icing that gives it the incredible tang coupled with the sweetness. And I love how pretty the icing looks down the side of the cake.

    Make the icing (recipe below) and while it rests, prepare the cake.

  • Slice the cakes horizontally. Use the cooled lemon curd to sandwich the four layers of cake together.

  • Pour the icing over the top of the cake allowing it to trickle down the sides.  Sprinkle the strips of lemon zest over the cake and serve.

Lemon Icing for Lemon Layer Cake

115g (3/4 cups) icing sugar
4-5 teaspoons lemon juice
Shaved zest of one lemon

- by this I mean long thin strips of lemon zest using one of those little tools that you can drag over the lemon like this Stainless-Steel Lemon Zester from Amazon. If you don't have one, cut the peel off with as little white as possible and cut into the thinnest julienne strips that you can manage. Cut them into 1 inch lengths on a diagonal.

Mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice - adding the juice a little at a time so it doesn't become too runny. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes or so.

Serve with

I love lemon cake with earl grey tea.

I love it on its own with a cup of tea for an afternoon snack, but it is also great as part of a larger tea spread.

Try it in the winter with buttered crumpets, ham sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches and jam tarts.

Or in the summer with buttermilk scones, cucumber and mint sandwiches, tomato sandwiches and mini meringues.

If you loved this Luscious Lemon Layer Cake, you might Love Lemon Scones served with Lemon Curd...