Celebrate something special with this Lemon Curd Cake, made with two layers of moist yellow cake, thick and luscious lemon curd and rich lemon curd buttercream.

A lemon curd cake decorated with white frosting, orange 1 and 0 candles and orange and yellow flowers, on a teal cake stand.

Today marks the ten year anniversary of hitting “publish” on the very first post on Foxes Love Lemons (this poorly lit but delicious shrimp and polenta). Ten years! Almost 700 recipes later, what started as a hobby while I found a “real job” became my full-time, very real job, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Curiously though, for a blog with “lemons” in the title, most of my top five posts of all time don’t really include that much lemon. Creamy salmon pasta really just has a lemon wedge garnish, and I feel like it’d be weird to serve bacon in the oven with lemon.

Chicken parm soup and Asian noodle salad recipe are both delicious and very popular, but again, no lemon! Thank goodness my lemon smoothie rounds out the top five and brings all the lemon with it.

I’m also bringing all the lemon today with this cake I made to mark this anniversary. This lemon curd cake has a rich layer of lemon curd in between two layers of perfect yellow cake, finished off with a lemon curd buttercream.

A slice of yellow cake with lemon curd filling and buttercream frosting on a small white decorative plate.

What’ll you need for this lemon curd cake recipe:

  • butter – in my opinion, a crucial element to any cake you want to taste great, including my orange bundt cake. Butter is used for this cake batter, the lemon curd AND the frosting, and I have zero regrets about that.
  • oil – I also add a bit of oil to most cake batters for texture. A neutral, non-flavored oil like vegetable or canola works best here, and in my Black Forest cupcakes.
  • eggs – Also critical for any great cake. At the time of this writing, eggs are expensive, so I regret to inform you that you’ll need 3 eggs + 7 egg yolks for this cake. It’s worth it, but be sure to use all the egg whites up in something like an egg white frittata.
  • sugar – you’ll need granulated sugar for the cake batter and lemon curd, and then powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for the lemon curd frosting.
  • flour – all-purpose flour forms the backbone of the cake batter.
  • sour cream – this has long been the secret ingredient in my family’s sour cream sugar cookie recipe. We love the tang it adds to baked goods!
  • baking powder – get that cake to rise!
  • milk – I think whole milk is best for baking (and caramel coffee), so that’s what I used for this lemon curd cake recipe.
  • lemons – you’ll be using lemon zest and fresh lemon juice for the lemon curd. Buy a few extra lemons and try my simple salmon recipe with lemon Brussels sprouts for dinner! You can also make a batch of creamy feta dressing to use all week.
  • salt – a little bit of salt appears in the cake, the lemon curd and the frosting to balance the sweet ingredients.
  • vanilla extract – this is added to both the cake batter and the lemon curd buttercream for flavor.
  • almond extract – my current favorite ingredient in just about any baked good, including my buttermilk blueberry muffins and blackberry muffins. I’ve even been know to add a few drops to a carrot cake smoothie.
A cake decorated with white frosting, citrus wedges and yellow and orange flowers, on a light blue cake stand.

Some tips for the best lemon curd:

First of all, wash your lemon before you zest and juice it. Seems like a simple thing, but it’s really easy to forget!

Lemon curd comes together very quickly once you get cooking, so be sure you have all of your ingredients measured and laid out before you begin.

Like chocolate creme brulee or really, any of my creme brulee flavors, I think it’s critical to strain lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer before cooling it. Even the most experienced pastry chef with the best technique in the world would probably tell you to strain it just in case some bits of cooked egg end up in your curd (it’s almost unavoidable, really).

Finally, when storing lemon curd, make sure you press plastic wrap right on the surface of the curd to prevent a film from forming. Then I also cover the bowl itself with another layer of plastic wrap.t –

Psst – make a double batch of lemon curd and serve some as part of a yogurt bar for brunch!

Cake slices filled with lemon curd and decorated with lemon curd buttercream on small plates, with the rest of the cake on a teal cake stand.

Lemon curd frosting was a happy accident!

Not gonna lie, I wasn’t expecting this recipe to end up with a lemon curd buttercream! But, after several rounds of testing to make a batch of lemon curd big enough to be the cake filling but without leftovers, well, I still ended up with too much. Not the worst thing in the world, in my opinion.

So, as I started to make my buttercream (which I planned to add lemon juice and lemon zest to) I had a lightbulb moment – instead of thinning the buttercream with a little milk, which is the traditional method, what if I tried to thin the buttercream with lemon curd?

I wasn’t sure it would work, but I gave it a try and it did! Not only did 1/4 cup of lemon curd thin out my buttercream perfectly, but it added the lemon juice and zest flavor that I wanted to add anyway!

I *still* had a smidge of lemon curd left over after making the lemon curd frosting, so I just spread it on top of the cake! This is totally optional, but I think it looks cool and it adds another layer of lemon flavor to this vanilla cake with lemon curd filling, too.

A lemon curd cake decorated with white frosting, lemon slices and yellow and orange flowers, on a teal cake stand.

Don’t forget the toothpicks between layers:

My Dad and I used to always tease my mom, because whenever she served my birthday cake as I was was growing up (almost always after a birthday dinner of her lasagna recipe with cottage cheese!), the first thing she would say would be “watch out for the toothpicks!”

But you’ll be saying that with this lemon curd cake, too, because the toothpacks between layers are CRUCIAL here, because the lemon curd is kind of . . . slippery.

If you attempt to cut this cake without toothpicks holding everything together, it gets really messy, really fast.

After spreading the lemon curd on the bottom cake layer, I recommend poking 5 to 6 toothpicks into the bottom layer before carefully placing your top layer. I also do this with my chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. It just makes things easier.

Slices of cake with yellow filling and white frosting on small plates, with the rest of the cake on a teal cake stand.
A slice of lemon curd cake with buttercream frosting on a small decorative white plate with a fork alongside.

Lemon Curd Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Celebrate something special with this Lemon Curd Cake, made with two layers of moist yellow cake, thick and luscious lemon curd and rich lemon curd buttercream.


For the Cake Layers:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

For the Lemon Curd:

  • 5 large egg yolks 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2-1/2 lemons; be sure to zest 1 or 2 of them first)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Lemon Curd Buttercream:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup prepared Lemon Curd

  • 5-6 toothpicks, for assembly


  1. Make the Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray parchment and sides of pans with cooking spray. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt until well combined.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter 2 minutes or until smooth. Add oil and mimx until well combined.
  3. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing each addition until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and almond extract and mix until well combined.
  4. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Then add sour cream, another 1/3 of flour mixture, milk, and remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined after each addition.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Transfer to oven and bake 25 to 27 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake layers comes out with just a few crumbs, but no wet cake batter. Do not over bake.
  6. Transfer cake pans to cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before flipping cakes out onto cooling racks and allowing cakes to cool completely before assembling.
  7. Make the Lemon Curd: In medium saucepot, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth. Cook over low heat 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture thickens (do not let it come to a full boil), whisking constantly.
  8. Remove from heat and add butter cubes a few at a time, while whisking. Whisk until all butter is fully melted and incorporated. Whisk in salt. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Cover surface of lemon curd with plastic wrap, and then cover entire bowl with plastic wrap, and transfer to refrigerator at least 2 hours or until fully cool (up to 3 days).
  9. Make the Lemon Curd Buttercream: In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla and salt and mix until well combined.
  10. With mixer on low speed, add sugar 1 cup at a time until all sugar is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup Lemon Curd and mix at medium speed 1 minute or until frosting is smooth and creamy.
  11. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on cake serving plate. Spread cake with some of the remaining lemon curd. You do not need to use it all. You want the lemon curd layer to be thick enough to see and taste, but not so thick that it will ooze out between layers when you add the second cake layer.
  12. Place 5 to 6 toothpicks in bottom cake layer before placing top cake layer over them. Frost entire outside of cake with Lemon Curd Buttercream. If desired, spread any remaining Lemon Curd over top of cake. Slice and serve right away, or store refrigerated up to 2 days.


Recipes adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch, A Red Spatula and Wilton.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 977Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 279mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 133gFiber: 2gSugar: 83gProtein: 13g

This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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