Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake is made with a moist lemon cake, lemon curd and a smooth and creamy whipped mascarpone frosting! It’s light, yet sweet and tart and so darn good! It’ll be your new favorite cake for spring!

pinterest collage image for lemon mascarpone layer cake

So today I’m sharing an update on this recipe. I originally posted it about 2 years ago and it had kind of mixed reviews during it’s time. The lemon curd and frosting are solid and I’ve used them many times in many ways, but some people had issues with the cake layers. I find with most recipes that there are always people who have trouble. It’s the nature of baking. But if people have enough trouble, it catches my attention. And being one who would prefer that everyone be successful (even though I know that’s nearly impossible), I thought I’d give this recipe an update.

When I shared my Lemon Poppyseed Cake last year, I fell in love with it. The cake layers are pretty perfect and the reviews back it up. So I decided to swap out the original lemon cake layers used in this cake with the lemon cake layers from that cake. Everything else is the same. Even if you loved the original version of this cake, you might want to try this new version because I do think it’s even better.

lemon cake on a galvanized metal cake standslice of lemon cake on a metal plate

So if you’ve never seen this cake before, let’s chat about it a bit. This cake was inspired largely by this Lemon Mascarpone Cream Pie that I made shortly before making the original version of this cake. I loved the sweet and tart flavor with the smooth mascarpone cheese and thought it might bake a fabulous cake. Boy, was I right!

To get started making it, you’ll make the lemon curd. It’s fairly simple to make with lemon juice and zest, sugar, egg yolks and butter. It’s cooked over a double boiler (or in a bowl over a pot of simmering water) and when cooled, thickens nicely for layering inside the cake.

The cake itself is lemon heaven. It is wonderfully moist from the addition of some oil along with the butter used. Plus, it uses both lemon juice and lemon zest for that great flavor.

overhead shot of lemon mascarpone cake with lemon slices and mint leavesslice of cake with a bite taken on fork

And then there’s the frosting. If you’ve made my Berry Mascarpone Layer Cake before, then you’ve made this frosting and know how amazing it is. So light and tasty with the flavor of the mascarpone cheese! You’ll make homemade whipped cream and then add mascarpone cheese to it and you’re done!

Once everything is made, put the cake together and dig in!

The flavors of this cake are seriously amazing. The lemon cake is tender, sweet and super moist. The curd is plenty tart and full of lemon flavor. The cake and curd alone are wonderful together, but then you add the whipped mascarpone frosting and it takes it over the top! It softens the tartness and sweetness of the cake and adds a creaminess that is perfection! I love, love, love the flavors and textures together. Hard to stop eating it!

slice of lemon mascarpone cake on plate with lemon slices and mint

If you’re a big fan of the original recipe, you can download a PDF file of it here.

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/13/20 to address concerns about the cake layers being dense. It’s a new recipe for the cake layers, but the filling and whipped frosting are the same.

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
slice of lemon mascarpone cake on plate with lemon slices and mint
Recipe

Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake is made with a moist lemon cake, lemon curd and a smooth and creamy whipped mascarpone frosting!


Scale

Ingredients

LEMON CURD

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup (69g) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp (42g) salted butter

LEMON CAKE LAYERS

  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon zest

WHIPPED MASCARPONE FROSTING

  • 2 1/2 cups (600ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 1/2 cups (173g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16 oz (452g) mascarpone cheese, chilled*

Instructions

TO MAKE THE LEMON CURD:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water). Heat while whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reaches 160 degrees, or coats the back of a spoon.
2. Pour the lemon curd into a heat proof bowl, cover with clear wrap pressed onto the the top of the curd to avoid a film developing, and refrigerate until cold.

TO MAKE THE CAKE LAYERS:

3. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
6. Combine the milk and lemon juice, then slowly add the mixture to the batter and mix until well combined.
7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
8. Add the lemon zest and gently stir to combine.
9. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
10. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING AND ASSEMBLE CAKE:

11. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
12. Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly. Set whipped frosting in the refrigerator.
13. To assemble the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes, if needed.
14. Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Pipe a dam of frosting around the outside of the cake. I use Ateco tip 808 for the dam so that it’s tall.
15. Spread half of the lemon curd evenly on top of the cake layer, inside the dam. It should fill the dam about half way full.
16. Add some mascarpone frosting to the top of the lemon filling and spread into an even layer to fill in the remaining dam space.
17. Add the second layer of cake and repeat the filling layer with the remaining lemon curd and additional mascarpone frosting.
18. Add the final layer of cake on top, then smooth out the frosting around the sides of the cake.
19. Frost the outside of the cake, then use an offset spatula to create a striped pattern on the sides of the cake, if desired. Pipe swirls of frosting onto the top of the cake and finish it off with some lemon slice candies and white pearl sprinkles.
20. Refrigerate well covered until ready to serve. I find that the cake is best when served a little chilled, but not cold. Cake should stay fresh when well covered for 2-4 days.

*I prefer to use the mascarpone cheese when still chilled, but soft, so that it’ll in corporate well, without chunks. The warmer mascarpone cheese is, the more likely it is to soften to the point that it won’t firm up well again and can make too soft of a frosting.

Keywords: lemon cake recipe, best lemon cake, mascarpone frosting recipe, lemon desserts

Enjoy!

Share a Comment

Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

Recipe rating

217 Comments
      1. Lindsay

        This recipe was updated last week. The filling and frosting are the same, but the cake layers have been updated. The old one had egg whites only, the new version is whole eggs.

      2. Florencia

        Hi, i would like to know how many egg whites (or how was the recipe before) since i normaly have egg whites and dont want to waste them. Thank you(and sorry if the english is bad) I’m a follower from Argentina😊

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t beat them before adding, but a quick little toss wouldn’t hurt anything. You just don’t want to whip them or beat them a bunch. They are pretty much just added as is.

  1. Martha Herrera

    I’m so glad I found you on Pinterest. You are amazing!

    I had a quick question, what pipe number did you use for the swirls?

    Thanks.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure about adjusting ingredients, but you could certainly bake it as is in two 9 inch pans. You’ll just want to adjust the baking time.

    2. Nancy M

      I normally do 1 1/2 recipe, and adjust the time. Since it’s a larger pan, take away about 5 minutes, but check it at the low end of the bake time.

      1. Ivana

        Am I the only one to see there is sour cream in the video and there isn’t any instructions in the recipe? I print out the recipe and followed it to the t, only to see there is egg whites and sour cream instead of whole eggs and no sour cream? 🙁 

      2. Lindsay

        The video has been removed. It was for the old version of this recipe and it was recently updated. It currently uses whole eggs and no sour cream.

  2. Suzanne Griffin

    That cake is beautiful! Mine will never look that good (ha), but I know it will taste great! Thanks!

  3. Linda Brown

    Would love to make this cake, but need some clarification re the top layer.  The photos appear to have a layer of smooth frosting underneath the lemon slices and the mounds of piped frosting, but the directions do not mention that. Please advise.  Thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      You just want to fully frost the outside of the cake once it’s layered and then proceed with the decorations. Hope that helps!

    2. Jaime

      This sounds amazing! My 2 year old LOVES lemon, so I found this recipe while searching for something he can help me bake. He and I are the only ones that will eat it, so I’d like to half the recipe and make a smaller cake for us to share. Do you think there would be any problems with that apart from adjusting the time? Can’t wait to try it!

      1. Lindsay

        That should be fine, you’ll just want to adjust the time as you said and probably use smaller pans.

      2. Paula

        Hi! This cake IS amazing! I’m new to the baking world this is cake #12 n I have roped my husband into my sous-chef. This is the first time I did any type of filling and you lemon filling was amazing. You vanilla cake was the first one that I didn’t over mix and yours was definitely the best tasting. The whipped frosting barely made it on the cake. The amount of lemon was balanced perfectly. I know , I may be new to making n baking cakes, but not to eating em. I am looking forward to baking my way through life love and sugar. 😊

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12