Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake

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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!

Overhead view of a full Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake topped with white swirls and cut lemons on a metal colored cake stand

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.

A slice of Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake on a metal colored plate with a fork and cut lemons in the background

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.

Side view of a full Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake topped with white swirls and cut lemons on a metal colored cake stand

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!

A slice of Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake with a bite taken out on a metal colored plate with a fork and cut lemons in the background

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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A slice of Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake on a metal colored plate with a fork and cut lemons in the background

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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  1. Barbara

    I made this cake for my good friend’s 44th anniversary dinner. Total winner! The frosting is so light and not real sweet. It was just perfect in every way. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  2. Olwyn Fleury

    I have made this cake before, but am wondering if I could make the layers ahead of time and freeze? The day before the event is packed timewise.

    1. Lindsay

      If you are baking them the day before the event, you shouldn’t really need to freeze them. But yes, you can freeze them. Just wrap them well in clear wrap and foil and then thaw them in the fridge when you’re ready to use them.

      1. Olwyn Fleury

        Thank you Lindsay, will this frosting firm up or get a crust? Trying to figure out how to wrap it until tomorrow!

      2. Lindsay

        It’s like a whipped cream, so it doesn’t get any firmer than that or crust. I hope that helps!

  3. Paula Carvajal

    Hello, dear, I can see that you add only the white of the egg without the yolk. but the recipe shows a whole egg, can you please clarify? Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      Lemon curd is generally good in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks. I wouldn’t make the cakes more than a day ahead of time and the frosting should be made right before you frost the cake. I hope that helps!

  4. Courtney Sliwonik

    I want to make this for a wedding cake and am using 12,10,8 cake pans. Have you ever made bigger ones and how does it come out? Don’t want it to be dry. Thanks so much!

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t used this recipe for larger cakes. I don’t think it would necessarily be dry, but it could get a little more dense as you start to increase the size. You could try baking the larger cake pans at 325.

  5. Shannon

    I want to make this cake but watching the video it showed sour cream being poured into the bowl with the batter. The recipe here doesn’t show sour cream. I’m confused…

  6. Lia

    Hi Lindsay!
    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve made this recipe a few times now and it is absolutely DELICIOUS! My go-to lemon cake recipe! The only concern I have is every time I bake it (following the recipe exactly), the layers are quite thin and it doesn’t rise very well. Does this happen to you? Any suggestions on how to make the layers rise a bit more?

    1. Lindsay

      The layer should rise to just over an inch thick each. If they aren’t doing that, I would try to make sure you’re creaming the butter and sugar properly. It should take about two minutes or so and you should see the mixture turn light in color and fluffy in texture. Usually you can see the contrast from some of the butter and sugar that’s left on your beater blade versus what’s in your bowl. If that gets under creamed or over creamed, your cake won’t rise properly. You could also double check your baking soda and powder.

  7. Carol

    I have tried so many recipes for cake- and hands down those with vegetable oil vs butter or combination of the two, always works better.
    Cakes made with butter have that crumb that dries out quickly and just has that dense crumb while the oil based cake is so lovely and moist and stays that way til it is history.I will be making this cake and I am confident that it will be fantastic. There are not many things in life where I don’t love butter, but this is one situation where I would pass it up.

  8. Carly

    My almost 7 year old requested a lemon cake for his birthday, but he wanted black frosting (Batman lol). I had the icing recipe perfect but once I played with it trying to make it black it broke on me. I’ve tried adding more heaving whipping cream and a little more powered sugar. It is no longer grainy but not thickening up. Any suggestions?

    1. Lindsay

      Yeah, whipped cream will deflate a bit if it gets overworked. You could try whipping it again, but that may not work well. Also, to really get a black color in frosting or whipped cream, you’ll need to add cocoa powder, which doesn’t go great with lemon.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29