Whole Lemon Layer Cake


This layer cake has strong lemony flavor without a sticky syrup drizzle.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
50 mins
Additional Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 55 mins
1 9-inch layer cake


  • 2 organic Meyer lemons, scrubbed

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon limoncello liqueur (Optional)

  • ½ cup lemon curd

  • 2 cups cream cheese frosting


  1. Place Meyer lemons in a 2-quart saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cover; simmer lemons until soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and lightly grease the parchment paper.

  3. Remove any stems from the lemons. Slice into quarters and remove all seeds.

  4. Place the lemon quarters in the work bowl of a large food processor and process until fairly smooth, about 30 seconds. Add flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, and salt. Pulse about 10 times, just until the batter comes together into coarse crumbs with flecks of lemon rind. Pour in eggs and limoncello with the motor running; process until a thick, slightly grainy batter forms, 10 seconds or less.

  5. Divide batter between the prepared pans.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops are light gold and spring back lightly to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on baking racks.

  7. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate and cover with lemon curd. Top with the second layer and frost just the top, or top and sides, with cream cheese frosting.

Cook's Note:

In season, this also works well with the low-acid lemonade lemon in place of Meyer lemons.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

634 Calories
26g Fat
99g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 634
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 335mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 99g 36%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 70g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 17mg 86%
Calcium 87mg 7%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 110mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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