Rating: 4.19 stars
16 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0

A luxurious lemony cake with a lemon curd filling, and a coconut citrus frosting. A beautiful cake for Easter.

Recipe Summary test

prep:
35 mins
cook:
30 mins
additional:
5 mins
total:
70 mins
Servings:
14
Yield:
1 four layer 9 inch cake
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Ingredients

14
Original recipe yields 14 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and cream of tartar. Set aside.

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  • In a medium bowl, beat together the 8 egg yolks and 2 cups sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Fold whites into the egg yolk mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Spread evenly into the prepared pans.

  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let layers cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely. Using a long serrated knife, slice the layers in half horizontally.

  • To make the filling: In the top of a double boiler, combine the 1 1/3 cup sugar, 4 egg yolks, 2 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Cool to room temperature before filling cake.

  • To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, cream the 1/3 cup butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar and mix in the orange zest, orange juice, lemon zest and lemon juice. Finally, stir in coconut. Frost the outside of the filled cake.

Nutrition Facts

523 calories; protein 6.4g; carbohydrates 99.2g; fat 12.4g; cholesterol 195.9mg; sodium 161.2mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (14)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
11/19/2007
This is an old and grand recipe and worth all the effort. BUT it is a LOT of effort and very time-consuming. I admit over the years I cheat and adapt. You can have basically the same cake minus the jellied bits by buying lemon cake mix doubling the frosting and mixing in a bit of coconut. I make this "cheaters" RELee cake and no one ever notices the difference. It's a great adaptation if you're pressed for time (and who isn't!) Read More
(19)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
12/31/2018
I will never make this cake again. It took HOURS to make and the cake came out dry. I also stirred the lemon curd for a long time bc it didnt thicken and it thickened when i removed it. It was almost impossible to cut the cake into 4 pieces without it crumbling so I put the lemon curd in the middle and the entire cake slid off. I had to put it in the fridge with skewers which dried the cake out even more. The flavor of the frosting was good but I will never make this cake AGAIN. Read More
16 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
11/18/2007
This is an old and grand recipe and worth all the effort. BUT it is a LOT of effort and very time-consuming. I admit over the years I cheat and adapt. You can have basically the same cake minus the jellied bits by buying lemon cake mix doubling the frosting and mixing in a bit of coconut. I make this "cheaters" RELee cake and no one ever notices the difference. It's a great adaptation if you're pressed for time (and who isn't!) Read More
(19)
Rating: 5 stars
02/11/2010
It's unusual to find a new cake recipe so good. I've had this saved to my recipe box for no joke 10 years. Finally tried it out this weekend for my MIL's birthday. A real show-stopper. Very special. Not at all hard to make although the zesting/juicing of all of those lemons/oranges took a lot of time. Only modification: I thought it was strange that the cake recipe had no oil/fat in it. I thought of how oil makes chiffon cakes so nice and tender and added 1/3 cup canola oil to the batter. Taste and texture of cake was superb. I will make this again for a special occasion. Thank you for sharing! Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
05/17/2007
well regardless of the name of the cake I thought it was delicious! Read More
(4)
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Rating: 4 stars
02/23/2011
Cake is more like a sponge-cake than I was anticipating but the lemon curd is AWESOME Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
06/21/2010
Best cake ever. Enough said. But to elaborate: The recipe is wonderful; the only change I made was to add more zest than was called for in all parts of the cake. I might try to convert this to a sheet cake for more common every-day use but it was superb. Received rave reviews from my parents and my family and I loved it. Thanks so much!!! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
03/04/2021
I have commented on this cake in the past. Always a good recipe. Instead of the unclear directions for the lemon curd in this recipe, I use Chef John's lemon curd lite recipe which fits the bill. I make this ahead so the entire production is more staggered. Just for convenience. I did try to make orange curd; don't do this for this cake. Lemon is the best part. Be generous with the zest. Bake on! Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/16/2020
Loved it. Made it in 2013, lost the recipe. Finally found it again seven years later under a different name. If you are looking for General Robert E Lee Cake II, this is it. Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
01/11/2014
I was excited to try this recipe because of the combination of lemon and coconut. Like other reviewers have said this recipe does take some time. I think the prep time listed in an underestimation. I was a little concerned when I separated the layers because the cake did seem dry and bland but once I poured the delicious lemon filling on and let it soak in the cake had a great lemon flavor. Definitely let the cake sit a couple of hrs before serving. The cake does have a dense texture and is not comparable to the texture of a boxed cake mix. This was the main negative for me. The frosting is really sweet but tasty. For me the best part is the filling which has a wonderful lemon flavor. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/27/2015
Fantastic cake! Instead of making the frosting in this recipe I used the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting found elsewhere on this site. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
12/31/2018
I will never make this cake again. It took HOURS to make and the cake came out dry. I also stirred the lemon curd for a long time bc it didnt thicken and it thickened when i removed it. It was almost impossible to cut the cake into 4 pieces without it crumbling so I put the lemon curd in the middle and the entire cake slid off. I had to put it in the fridge with skewers which dried the cake out even more. The flavor of the frosting was good but I will never make this cake AGAIN. Read More