Triple Lemon Cake

This Triple Lemon Cake recipe is easy and so, so good. A fluffy, sweet and perfectly tangy lemon cake topped with homemade buttercream frosting.

I have been meaning to post this recipe for Triple Lemon Cake for a while now. However I’ve been busy baking it over and over for my parents’ birthdays. Now that both birthdays are over with and I finally have some time, here is the recipe.

And it’s good. The lemon curd is the best part, so sweet and perfectly tangy. Mmmm. I could bathe in it. And the buttercream is so light and sweet, yet still with just enough tang. The cake is nicely dense and delicious. It’s all a perfect combo.

slice of easy Triple Lemon Cake on white plate

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe

I made it the first time for my mom’s birthday in July and I was surprised how much of a hit it was.

My family has never really been big on lemon. My grandmother loves lemon and we’ve had lemon cakes for her birthday before. But I can’t say anyone else was ever really into it.

So imagine my surprise when my mom requested it for her birthday. Her cake was two-tiered, so I made the smaller tier the lemon cake because I thought for sure it would be less popular than a chocolate cake.

I was wrong.

close up image of triple lemon cake slice

My mom was fighting people off it! She finally cut off a big chunk and put it in the freezer (She likes to save cake and stockpile it for when she feels like a piece. My kind of lady.)

And then an even crazier thing happened. My dad requested it for his birthday! Never in my life did I think my dad would request a lemon cake!

image of side of Lemon Cake with buttercream flowers

The only person that doesn’t knock someone over for a piece of this cake is my husband. Of all people I thought he’d love a lemon cake. Part of the reason I think I like lemon more now is that he got me into using fresh lemon on seafood.

But he would barely even taste this cake. I was blown away. How is it that my family likes a lemon cake and he won’t even touch it? Apparently, he thinks lemon should only go on seafood.

Seriously? He’s missing out.

Oh well, more for the rest of us! 🙂

You might also like:
Lemon Curd
Lemon Cake with Lemon Bavarian Cream
Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake
Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake

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Triple Lemon Cake slice on white plate
Recipe

Triple Lemon Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Triple Lemon Cake recipe is easy and so, so good. A fluffy, sweet and perfectly tangy lemon cake topped with homemade buttercream frosting.


Ingredients

CAKE

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

LEMON CURD

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)

LEMON BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening
  • 12 cups (3 lbs) powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 12 tsp water – plus more to the consistency you want

Instructions

CAKE:

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
2.Add eggs, oil and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
3. Add sour cream and beat until smooth.
4. Bake at 350 degrees in two 8-inch pans for about 25 minutes or until done.

LEMON CURD:

1. Combine all ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, like I did).
2. Heat while stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. It is done when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You will be able to tell it has thickened, but I wouldn’t say that it’s “thick.”
4. Refrigerate until cool and thick.

LEMON BUTTERCREAM:

1. Beat butter and shortening together until smooth.
2. Add 6 cups of powdered sugar, one at a time, beating to combine.
3. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and combine.
4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat to combine.
5. Add water to get the consistency you want, starting with 1/2 tsp, beat to combine.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

1. Divide the cake into four layers by slicing each cake in half.
2. Fill two layers with lemon buttercream and the other two with lemon curd.
3. Frost the outside of the cake.

Keywords: homemade lemon cake, easy lemon cake, best lemon cake, homemade lemon curd, how to make lemon cake, how to make lemon curd

Enjoy!

Cake recipe modified from Bakerella’s Key Lime Cream Cake recipe. Lemon curd from Glorious Treats Homemade Lemon Curd recipe.

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

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Recipe rating

329 Comments
  1. Eva

    Oh wow, better than our favorite bakery! Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe. The cake is so good, you can eat it by itself. We made the cake, the lemon curd and just served the two together with whipped cream for my mother in law’s birthday. It was a huge hit!!!

  2. Jim Walls

    I have a lemon tree, so was on the prowl for recipes to use some of them. Made this cake several times out of last season’s lemons and will make it again each lemon season.

  3. JP

    I’m going to try this recipe out in the next couple of days. I only have 9 inch cake pans currently. I ordered some 8 inch ones online so hopefully they come in before I have to start (the cake is for a birthday). The only part that confuses me slightly is when you cut the cakes. You cut them to make four roughly equal sized cakes. What kind of knife should I use, and have you ever had issues with crumbling? I’m nervous to try it as I’ve never seen a recipe like this where you slice a cake into two.

    1. Lindsay

      It’s actually a fairly common thing to do and I have a tutorial that shows a couple options for how to do it. That said, 9 inch layers will be thinner than 8 inch layers and will be a little tricker to cut.

      1. JP

        Thank you! This will be the first of your recipe’s I’ve tried but it looks very interesting. Never made a curd before either so it’ll be a learning experience.

  4. Katy

    So I have been trying your recipes for the past 6 months, so I know this one will be amazing. I have to do a 10” base tier for a 3 tier wedding cake and was wondering by how much I would need to add to this recipe. Would I double or triple it for a 2 layer? And how much time do you suggest adding? Thanks in advance! I love lemon so much so I know this cake will be awesome. 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes! Having not made a 10 inch version, it’s hard to say. I’d try it out and see.

    1. Lindsay

      You can use store bought, but I truly think homemade is so much better. Like, a big difference in flavor. So much more in the homemade version.

  5. Rich Signell

    It’s my wife’s birthday today, she loves lemon cake, and she picked this over the Silver Palate lemon cake, which is really saying something. I think the only tricky part of this is knowing when to take the lemon curd off the heat. So how about this to make things easier: just whisk the curd gently until it reaches an temperature of 155F (68C) on an instant-read thermometer. Also recommend chilling the two cake layers to make it easier to cut them into four layers. Also, others say “too much frosting”. Bah! My wife says “no such thing!” 🙂

  6. Michelle

    My son requested a lemon blueberry cake for his 12th birthday. I (of course) came to life love & sugar bc the recipes are fail proof. I made the recipe as shown except I reduced the icing and filled two layers with whole blueberries. I topped it with more blueberries and it was a smash hit!  

  7. Kathy C.

    I made this recipe exactly as written and I couldn’t be happier with the results! My family said it was the best lemon cake that could easily be sold in a top notch bakery! (Their words, but I agreed!)

  8. Cynthia Simpson

    I love this recipe – I make it for my birthday every year now! The cake is moist and bakes perfectly every time. The lemon curd is perfectly tart. When it comes to the icing, you only need one third of the recipe. What is indicated here will make enough for a three tiered wedding cake! Some will find it super sweet so I would suggest a lemony buttercream. 

  9. Ella

    The sugar in the frosting is off the charts because it is an American Buttercream recipe. This type of buttercream is always over the top sweet. This is why I almost always make an Italian Buttercream. It is delicious and calls far less sugar yet it is the perfect amount of sweetness and creaminess! It is actually very easy to make. I follow the Preppy Kitchen recipe and it comes out perfect every time. As for this lemon cake – wow! Absolutely delicious!!! Thanks for this amazing recipe!

  10. Jackie

    Pretty much follow this recipe except I use butter in the cake instead of oil. I also use butter in the fasting instead of shortening. It was delicious and I have been asked over and over again to make it.

  11. Lori Vess

    Truly the best!
    I used this recipe for my son and daughter-in-law’s baby reveal cake. I tripled the recipe because the design needed two tiers, three layers each.
    Due to the style of the cake, I covered it using fondant.
    I received so many compliments!
    Thank you so much!
    My son said he ate the rest of the cake the week after the party, lol.
    He said he loved it and was ready for another.

  12. Diane

    This recipe was amazing!! I had never made lemon curd before but it turned out delicious. I actually made this into cupcakes and filled the inside with the lemon curd. I didnt change anything except for the buttercream as I didnt want to make so much. My coworkers loved it

  13. Ericka

    I’m a beginner so I think that this recipe would be greatly improved by the addition of pictures at ambiguous and difficult steps. The steps I had most trouble with was “Bake for 25 minutes or until done” and during the cake assembly. I dont know what color this cake should be when it’s finished so I did a toothpick test after 24-25 minutes. According to that, the cake was done but it still fell apart when I tried to pull it out of the pan (maybe due to my lack of experience). Then when I tried to assemble, you could imagine my frustration when trying to piece together crumbled bits of mess with lemon curd and frosting. I think many would also greatly appreciate any tips you have on getting cakes out of the pan in one piece, butterfyling cakes and transfering larger cake pieces when stacking. In regards to taste, I have yet to try it as a whole, but individually the components tasted pretty good.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m sorry you had trouble. When preparing the cake pans, I like to spray the sides with non-stick spray and put a parchment circle in the bottom of the pan. As for help with assembly, I have a couple new tutorials you might find helpful – one on torting layers and one on building a cake. I hope that helps!

  14. Alex

    The cake didn’t work at all. I followed the recipe to a T and it came out dense and not good at all. The frosting with 12 CUPS of powdered sugar was disgusting. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!!!!

  15. Ally

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday last year and he loved it. So did I, and I’m not a fan of lemon sweets. The curd was THE BEST PART! I’m making this again this weekend. Can’t wait to eat it…yummy!

  16. Michelle

    Hi!!

    On the hunt for a cake, Mum wants a 60th cake with lemon & orange, 3 tiers. There’s a reason for the 3, wife, Mum and Granny. Dreading it as I normally only do Christmas cakes. Any tips on how to make this go smoothly for a sponge cake virgin?

  17. Christina

    My friend requested a lemon smash cake for her son’s first birthday and I found this recipe! It turned out great!  I used two 6-inch round cake pans and and baked them around 40 minutes, rotating half way through. I was surprised that there really wasn’t that much left over batter. After letting them rest overnight they sliced in half quite easily. I cut the frosting amount in half though, only due to using smaller pans than suggested. I colored the frosting a mint green with rainbow sprinkles on top and white detail icing on the edges. Great recipe! 

  18. Linda

    Lindsay, I can’t say enough good about your recipes! This is the 3rd recipe that I have tried, all my life I have loved sweets in so I have always done a lot of baking, and I’ve made a lot of lemon cakes, but this one is by far and away the very best!
     It is absolutely the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and I think the perfect amount of filling. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, you bring a lot of joy into a lot of lives with your sharing! Extra blessings for you!

  19. Leah

    I am curious as to why the cake part of this recipe is so different than the one you published just a month prior. This one has oil and sour cream and the other one had butter. Can you explain why the two are different and how they are different in the results?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure which other recipe you’re referring to, since I have several lemon cakes on the site. This was literally the second post I ever shared on this site, so the others would all be more recent than this one. 🙂

      As for why they would be different, they’re simply different cakes. Sometimes oil is nice, sometimes butter. If you let me know which other one you’re referring, I might be able to compare them a bit. Generally though, this cake is fairly dense, while my other lemon cakes are a little lighter. I hope that helps!

  20. Rachel Dowty

    I’ve made this 3 times and it’s been amazing every time. I use all butter in the frosting, no shortening. It’s a huge frosting recipe, so I either cut it down by a third or make a side batch of vanilla cupcakes to put the rest on. It’s fluffy and light, some of the best frosting I’ve ever made. This is also great with fresh raspberries. I love how moist the cake is, no worries about dry cake ever. I have frozen the cakes and defrosted a few days later to assemble, and it worked fine. Just wrapped in plastic wrap.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so sorry for the trouble! There was an issue today that affected thousands of sites – mine included. It looks like it’s been resolved, so you should be able to access it here now. Sorry about that!

  21. Leanna

    Occasionally you come across a recipe that makes you stop looking for new recipes of that particular food. This is that lemon cake. I’ve probably made it half a dozen times by now and usually make raspberry frosting for it. Super delicious!

  22. angelle

    A little bit of work, but easy to follow – I made in 3- 9″ pans -with lemon curd and buttercream in between – the flavors were tangy and sweet – Definitely a keeper and I make a lot of recipes that get thrown away…This is one to make again and again

  23. Sharon

    I made this cake for a birthday, turned out beautifully, got rave reviews. Will definitely be keeping this recipe and making again. I did omit the shortening from the frosting as I just Will not use it. But a fantastic recipe, Thank you for sharing.

  24. Mindy McMaster

    My daughter had this cake as her B-day cake three years ago and has requested it again!! It was certainly a hit! I remember how yummy the lemon curd was and I hope that it is ok if I make it a day in advance. 

  25. Cynthia Samoorian

    Lindsey,
    Do you have a more exact times for beating the batter. ( email didn’t arrive)
    Thank you,
    Cynthia 

    1. Lindsay

      It’s been quite a while since I made this cake, but I do remember that it was fairly dense. I don’t remember specific times. It’s possible that you did it correctly. For a more updated lemon cake that should be a little more fluffy, you could try this one or this one.

  26. Cynthia

    Made your cake today. The cake was very thin. After reading some of the reviews I realized that’s the way it should be. Was wondering if you had a more exact time to beat the batter after each addition.

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t made it in 9 inch pans. The cake layers would definitely be thinner and you’d want to reduce the baking time a bit. Some people have had success with doubling the recipe when using 9inch pans.

  27. Margueritta Leal

    Hi Lindsay, the recipe was great. Shared it with my colleagues at work and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I only used 6 cup of icing sugar and added more lemon juice to the butter cream and it was sufficient to ice my cake. The lemon curd is excellent. I will use it for scones in the future. I always love trying new recipes and this is definitely a keeper. Thank you.

  28. Brett Auclaire

    This recipe really works!!!  It will be a hit, I can assure you!!!  I experienced much initial anxiety as the cakes were quite thin, moist & dense, making it hard to believe one can easily split each cake into 2 layers (but it can be done).  Because I wanted to avoid overcooking them / burning them I cooked cakes just enough for toothpicks to come out clean – just under 20 minutes at 350.  The moistness of the cakes, combined with the pouring on the lemon curd (curd only got so thick with refrigeration for an hour – I could have chilled this longer to get thicker) had me anxious the whole cake would just be mush!  But it was OK!  It was great fun to make a 1-2 inch wide thick ring of frosting around the  edges of the 1st & 3rd layer which held the curd in.
    I made the cakes ahead of time & refrigerated them x 2 days.  I used 10 cups (rather than 12) of confectioners sugar.  I used all butter (6 sticks) in place of shortening – high quality Kerry Gold butter.  Softened.  I think I went through like 20 lemons.
    I think it’s about the best cake I’ve ever had.  And it cuts BEAUTIFULLY 

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!

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