Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake

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.

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

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


  • 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


  • 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.


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.


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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Recipe rating

  1. Biagina

    I’ve made this recipe many times, always to rave reviews. But recently I had a request for the frosting to be lemony. Can that be done and, if so, how?

    1. Lindsay

      Glad to hear it’s been a hit! It’s a little hard to add lemon flavor to whipped cream. You could try lemon extract or just add some lemon zest. The other alternative would be a lemon buttercream.

  2. Tulea

    Hi there, recipe calls for 3-8in pans.. would it work with 3-9in pans? Or maybe 2-9in. I hope so this looks yummilicious 🍋

    1. Lindsay

      You could do two or three pans. It just depends on how thick you want your layers. Three 9 inch pans would be fairly thin, so you may want to do two layers.

  3. Vhe Frazier-Ratajczak

    I have never done this for anything on the internet before but this recipe is so worthy of praise. I made this for my husbands birthday but in fondant for a theme. The cake is just delicious with all the natural flavors and not too sweet. Everything was perfect from prep to bake!

  4. Paula

    Hi Lindsay!
    I LOVE your recipes. Quick question: I want to use the whipped mascarpone frosting on cupcakes. How many cupcakes will this recipe frost?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure exactly. It depends a little on how much you use on each cupcake. I’m guessing it would frost somewhere around 20 cupcakes. So glad you enjoy the recipes!

  5. Heidi

    Hi. Cake looks delish and I was planning to make just the cake part tonight. How long will that keep in the fridge. I will assemble the rest of the cake in two days time.

    1. Lindsay

      The cake layers last better when the whole cake is put together because of all the moisture keeping things moist. If the layers are wrapped well in the fridge for two days, that’s probably the longest I’d leave them.

  6. Maria

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’m super excited about trying out this cake! I will actually be making it for a larger party (to feed 25 people). I was hoping to make a two-tier one. Do you have any suggestions for one of the other tiers in terms of cake pans sizes, and bake times for them?

    1. Lindsay

      I would probably cut the recipe in half for a 6 inch cake. I’m not sure of the exact bake times, I’m sorry.

  7. Christy Sloat

    Hi Lindsey! I’ve made several of your cakes (love them ALL), one of which was the “ultimate lemon layer cake” phew…more work than some of the others but SO worth it. My question here is, I’m getting ready to make a cake for a friend’s birthday, and he loves lemon. I was going to make the “ultimate” but then I saw this one. They look very similar so I was wondering how you would differentiate them and/or which is YOUR favorite? I’m making it next week – thank you for any advice!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you’ve loved the cake recipes! As for my preference between the two, it’s hard. And I’ve not actually had them side by said to directly compare them. But I believe this one would be a little lighter. These cake layers generally get feedback that they are lighter and the other ones are a little more on the dense side. This one also uses a whipped cream frosting (which is also lighter) instead of buttercream. The other one does has kind of a fancier feel with all the layers and the Bavarian cream. So I think it’s just kind of a preference. Both are going to have very nice lemon flavor.

      1. Christy Sloat

        Great! I’ll give this one a shot then, to try a new one. It looked like you used sour cream in the video? Was that part of the recipe BEFORE you changed? I just want to make sure I’m not missing something.

  8. Julie

    Hi! Could you freeze this cake to make ahead?? Assuming I could make the actual cake and freeze then defrost and assemble the day I’d like to serve?

    Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      Freezing the layers ahead of time should be fine. Just wrap them well and thaw them in the fridge before using.

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!

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