Lemon Layer Cake

Lemon Layer Cake

I didn’t grow up in a family that bakes. Nobody I knew baked. We didn’t even own an oven. The first time I’ve ever attempted to bake was when I was twelve, and I don’t remember using a recipe, but remembered mixing a bunch of stuff in a bowl with a friend and placing the bowl in a microwave oven. That’s the extent of my baking experience as a kid.

Fast forward twenty years, living in Canada, soaking in the North American culture, I grew to love baking, especially the eating part. It all started with just Christmas baking but now I bake whenever I can (and also eat whenever I can! I’m trying to work on not eating as much. ;))

Slice of Lemon Layer Cake

This lemon layer cake is one of my go to cake recipe, a favourite among my family and friends and is often the cake I would bake if I have a birthday party. It is a very light cake, not too sweet but so so yummy. This is the kind of cake that you go for seconds and thirds and you never seem to get enough of it.

You can choose to bake this using regular flour or make it a gluten-free version (see Extra Notes below recipe). The difference is hardly noticeable. If you have friends who only eat gluten-free, they will think you are a gluten-free cake goddess.

Well, here’s how you do it…


Zest a lemon

Zest lemon, enough for 3 1/2 teaspoon. I used to really dislike this part, but now that I know how to do it properly, it’s pretty quick.

I used to drag the lemon back and forth on my hand grater but trust me that takes forever.

Now, I hold the lemon down on my counter with my left hand and drag the hand grater. For some reason, it works a whole lot better and faster.


Cream Sugar & Butter by Ling Abson

Beat sugar and eggs together.


Mix dry ingredient

Mix flour mix, salt, baking powder.

Stir together milk, soda water, vegetable oil, vanilla and zest in another bowl.

I like to first add half the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Then add the wet ingredients. Finish by adding the rest of the dry ingredients.


Mix wet ingredient

It should look like this…


Smooth into sheet pan

Spread batter on a baking sheet. Smooth the top. Chuck it in your 325 degrees oven for about 10 minutes..

While cake is baking, I start my lemon curd since it needs time to cool.


Lemon Cake in sheet pan

Yummm…smells lemony…


Lemon Layer Cake by Ling Abson

Give the cake time to cool before turning it out of your sheet pan.

I cool the lemon curd by saran wrapping it tight and then put it in the fridge.

While cake and lemon curd is cooling, I start to cream the powdered sugar and heavy cream for my frosting (I forgot to take any picture..oops!).

Once frosting looks like it can hold soft peaks, I fold about 1/3 of the lemon curd into the frosting.


Cut into fours

After the cake has cooled, I eye ball where the half way point is and cut the cake in half crosswise, then lengthwise, to make 4 equal rectangles.


Spread lemon curd

Spread lemon curd on the first layer. Place the next cake layer on top.
For the second layer, you can either spread lemon curd or the frosting. I did lemon curd this time but I wished I did the frosting.

Stack the third layer and add the rest of the lemon curd.


Lemon Layer Cake by Ling Abson

Frost the entire cake with the frosting. I added blueberries and shredded coconut to make the cake pretty.


Lemon Layer Cake by Ling Abson

And serve it up! Yum!


Lemon Layer Cake by Ling Abson



Lemon Layer Cake by Ling Abson

Lemon Layer Cake


Cake Layer

  • 1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour (For gluten free, see Extra Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Milk (or Almond Milk)
  • 1/4 cup Soda Water (or Ginger Ale or Milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest (freshly grated)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs

Lemon Curd

  • 1/2 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest (freshly grated)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 sticks Unsalted Butter (6 tablespoons, cut into bits)


  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (sifted)


Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line bottom of sheet pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
Stir together milk, soda water, vegetable oil, vanilla and lemon zest in another bowl. You can use a 1/2 cup milk instead of soda water. I find the soda water helps my cake to rise better.
Beat together sugar and eggs with electric mixer at medium speed until just combined.
Reduce speed to low and add half flour, then milk mixture, ending with flour mixture until just combined.
Spread batter into sheet pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center of cake layer comes out clean. I used a sheet pan that is 19 inch by 12 inch and it took me about 8 minutes, checking every 3 minutes after.
While cake is baking, make lemon curd.
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 20 minutes.
Transfer lemon curd to a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill, until cold
Beat heavy cream and powdered sugar in electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold one third of whipped cream into 1/3 of lemon curd to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream. Be careful not to over mix frosting.
Once cake and lemon curd are both cooled, cut the cake in half crosswise and repeat lengthwise to get 4 equal rectangles.
Spread lemon curd onto first rectangle layer, stack second layer on top.
Spread lemon curd (or frosting) onto second rectangle layer, stack a third layer on top.
Spread lemon curd onto top of third layer, stack last layer over cake.
Frost entire cake with frosting.
Chill cake in fridge for an hour before serving.
Extra Notes
For a gluten-free version, replace all purpose flour with this brown rice flour mix:
- 2 cups brown-rice flour (extra finely ground)
- 2/3 cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour

Put all ingredients in a ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake.

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