This is one of my grandmother's recipes, a Southern classic. It is similar to a doberge--six thin layers with a tart lemon filling. I usually need 3 large fresh lemons for this recipe to produce the zest and juice.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
30 mins
additional:
1 hr
total:
2 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 9-inch layer cake
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans. In a bowl, whisk together 3 1/4 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.

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  • Cream 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons softened butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, then mix in 2 1/4 cups of sugar until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Beat 6 egg yolks into the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each yolk is added. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk. Mix in 3/4 teaspoon of grated lemon peel and 1 3/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.

  • With clean beaters, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks in a bowl; lightly fold the egg whites into the batter; use a rubber spatula or wire whisk to fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter. Gently run the spatula through the center of the bowl, then around the sides of the bowl, repeating until fully incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites, folding just until incorporated.. Pour the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

  • To make filling, whisk 2 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of grated lemon peel, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 5 1/2 tablespoons of flour, and beaten egg together in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly, until the filling almost comes to a boil; cook until thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Allow the filling to cool.

  • To assemble, place each cake layer down on a work surface, and place one hand lightly on the top of the cake. Use a serrated knife to slice the cake in half horizontally, with a light sawing motion, to create 2 layers from each cake (6 total layers). Brush crumbs from the layers. Place a cake layer onto a serving dish, and spread with 1/6 of the filling; repeat with all the layers and filling, ending with a layer of lemon filling for the top of the cake.

Nutrition Facts

653 calories; protein 8.6g 17% DV; carbohydrates 106.2g 34% DV; fat 22.9g 35% DV; cholesterol 161.2mg 54% DV; sodium 295.5mg 12% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (10)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
04/05/2011
This was a lot of work and time. The filling and frosting didn"t come out the way I thought it would. I may have cooked it too long but it had an awesome flavor. I followed the recipe as posted. May find a different lemon frosting next time. Gave it 4 stars because even though it was time consuming the flavor is very lemony!! Read More
(21)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/21/2020
This cake turns out heavy and I want light and fluffy Read More
17 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
04/05/2011
This was a lot of work and time. The filling and frosting didn"t come out the way I thought it would. I may have cooked it too long but it had an awesome flavor. I followed the recipe as posted. May find a different lemon frosting next time. Gave it 4 stars because even though it was time consuming the flavor is very lemony!! Read More
(21)
Rating: 4 stars
10/25/2013
This is my favorite lemon cake recipe. I don't care for the glaze consistency of the frosting so I use a different frosting recipe. Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
02/19/2015
This is a very old Southern Cake receipt. In Georgia we call it a lemon cheese cake. You are right about the photo but I have never known the recipe for this to match one! In my family we frost the sides with Divinity Fudge. It is not a cake for beginners! Once mastered it is very good. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 4 stars
11/29/2017
I'll make this again but might half the filling as I didn't split the layers and it was too much. Needless to say it's delicious lemony and wasn't that difficult to make. I found the filling a bit tricky to get right I was expecting it to be more of a curd than the syrup it ended up being. Very nice! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/18/2020
Cake is perfect! I do not use the filling. I make either a lemon cream cheese frosting or old fashioned egg white with lemon syrup. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
02/25/2014
I was so excited when I found this recipe. I am not a baker at all and suddenly got the bug to start trying different recipes. I used this recipe for my mom's 70th birthday as a surprise. I thought I could adjust the recipe based on the suggestions of previous reviews but the cake was terrible to hard to cut. The only thing that I improved was the lemon flavor but the cake itself was not moist and fluffy and just too stiff. Too much work for such a great disappointment! It took me 3 hours to complete. Unless you are a pretty confident baker and know how to adjust the recipe for your benefit I suggest just using an entirely different recipe. I've had great success with other home made recipes that I've tried. Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
05/25/2015
I thought the cake was delicious- dense and moist. The glaze was very sweet -but thin and the cake is "plain" enough it can take it. I can to use a separate recipe for the frosting (I chose lemon) overall good/great cake Read More
Rating: 2 stars
03/24/2019
I really wanted to like this recipe but couldn't. As other reviewers have said the glaze consistency is way off. I ended up tempering in an extra egg yolk and cooking (boiling) it for around 10-15 minutes to get it to thicken up. I should have just used my "stand by" lemon pie filling recipe. The cake itself came out somewhat dry I don't think I overworked it but I could have done so. They show frosting in the picture but there is no frosting recipe with this cake. I ended up making a lemon cream cheese frosting. I like the idea of a six layer lemon cake with a curd filling but this one isn't it. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
01/20/2020
This cake turns out heavy and I want light and fluffy Read More