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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
- Yield: 12-14 Slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
This Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake is made with a moist lemon cake, lemon curd and a smooth and creamy whipped mascarpone frosting!
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice (about 1–2 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*
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.
- Serving Size: 1 Slice
- Calories: 618
- Sugar: 41.9 g
- Sodium: 281.9 mg
- Fat: 38.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 61.1 g
- Protein: 9.1 g
- Cholesterol: 187.5 mg
Keywords: lemon cake recipe, best lemon cake, mascarpone frosting recipe, lemon desserts
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Just to warn folks that if you use a metal bowl to make the curd the acid in the lemon juice will react with the metal and your curd will come out tasting metallic. I thought it was just me but my kids noticed it while sampling. I would remove the metal bowl recommendation from the instructions.
I’m sorry you had trouble. Perhaps it’s your particular bowl. I use my mixer bowl every single time with no issue.
Made this the other day for my daughters birthday cake! Best lemon cake I’ve ever made! It’s definitely in my top list of cakes to make!! I also made the updated recipe! I just had 9 inch cake pans so I just made it a 2 layer cake. Wow! Everyone loved it!! Thanks for sharing!!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Yes we did indeed like this cake that I made today for my husband’s birthday, BUT it’s way too much sugar. If I cut back, will it still turn out the same?
Also, too much whipped cream. I ended up throwing out at least 1.5 cups of it, because once you incorporate the Mascarpone in it, the amount automatically doubles–or triples–the whipped cream frosting.
Too much sugar in the cake itself? You could maybe cut it back a touch before it affects the texture too much. But it will affect the texture.