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Lemon-Rosemary Layer Cake Recipe

Lemon-Rosemary Layer Cake Recipe

Tall and impressive, this unique dessert is a treat for the senses with flecks of lemon peel and fresh rosemary. Just wait till you taste it! —Mary Fraser, Surprise, Arizona
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling YIELD:16 servings


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 3 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 8-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons lemon juice


  • 1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, peel and rosemary.
  • 2. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • 3. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon peel and juice; beat until smooth.
  • 4. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 756 calories, 28g fat (17g saturated fat), 146mg cholesterol, 527mg sodium, 119g carbohydrate (90g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.

Reviews for Lemon-Rosemary Layer Cake

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rmbarr059 User ID: 4046105 254685
Reviewed Sep. 26, 2016

"I just love this cake! I've made it twice now. A little time-consuming with grating all the lemons, but totally worth it. It is a very dense cake, but that is what contributes to how delicious it is. The second time I made it, my oven was having issues and totally burned the cake and it still tasted delicious-- wasn't even dry much to my surprise!"

ddmyers83 User ID: 8507164 253642
Reviewed Sep. 4, 2016

"I used this recipe to make our daughter's wedding cake. The cake was moist, delicious and even impressed the cater!"

pamsterhamster User ID: 2978210 174502
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2014

"Made this for a friends birthday & it was wonderful."

ehlertn User ID: 1826861 189245
Reviewed Aug. 8, 2014

"Because the frosting recipe was not enough for the cake (even in the picture) I gave the recipe 4-stars. Otherwise, I would have rated this recipe at 6 stars!

I made this cake for my mom's 70th birthday in March. It was elegant and the flavors were fabulous! I ALWAYS use Softasilk flour for my cakes and NEVER all purpose. The crumb turns out more delicate with Softasilk and the cake lighter. I poured and baked only two layers, and sliced each into two layers so that I had a four layer cake instead of three. Unfortunately, I followed one person's advice below (to add lemon curd between the layers) and would NOT recommend this at layers slid in the fridge and I had to do some last-minute cake rescue to fix it (which was very nerve-wracking)! I also needed more frosting--probably because I made an extra layer--and combined the given frosting recipe with a classic butter cream recipe. This made the original frosting turn out lighter and fluffier than what was originally given. I liked the presentation of this cake with the fluffier frosting."

lizzitish User ID: 1974656 108781
Reviewed May. 21, 2014

"For those of you complaining that this cake was too dense, my advice to you is beat, beat, beat. When they say beat well after each addition, they mean it. This pumps volume via the eggs. My cake was light and airy and I beat the heck out of it. A simply fabulous cake and well worth the effort."

nla4999 User ID: 7635049 170380
Reviewed Mar. 30, 2014

"This cake was easy to make and when I filled the layers with lemon curd it came out really good. This is being added to my spring recipes."

AudreyMcWills User ID: 5346455 211379
Reviewed Mar. 24, 2014

"I wanted to make this cake for a family dinner, but decided to try it out first. This was the heaviest, most dense cake I have ever made. I took half to the office to let co-workers rate. Most thought it was just "ok". I stored the rest in the fridge overnight and by the next day is so heavy and even hard to cut through, that I threw the rest out. The simple icing hardened as well and had no creaminess to it all. And even after doubling the rosemary, you could hardly detect the taste. I won't make this again."

jkjk User ID: 6211 185921
Reviewed Mar. 15, 2014

"I made this cake for a baby shower at work, and it was a hit. Reviews said it was easy to make, but I found it to be a bit labor intensive, but not difficult. I would definitely add more rosemary AND more lemon next time. I felt that most of the flavor came from the frosting alone -- and I added A LOT more lemon to the frosting than was in the recipe. The cake has a very heavy texture--and the cake as a whole is very heavy! It weighed over four pounds once frosted! Nevertheless, it was delicious and I will definitely make this recipe again -- and again -- and again!"

Boxermom8 User ID: 7512392 104851
Reviewed Mar. 10, 2014

"This cake deserves rave reviews. Simple to make, turns out just like it looks in the photo, and tastes fantastic. It would be fun to make two layers and the rest bake up as cupcakes just for kicks!"

MissKarla User ID: 271602 169041
Reviewed Mar. 9, 2014

"A nice bright cake. I split 2 of the cakes in half and made a four layer cake with lemon curd spread on 1 layer. Very good. The other cake I left whole and made a thin lemon glaze with just lemon juice and powdered sugar and poured over the top. Excellant!"

angelmaryel2 User ID: 7016763 104837
Reviewed Mar. 8, 2014

"Very nice this cake hood tadte"

frvanilla User ID: 4097950 117111
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2014

"this is so dee-lish without the frosting. I tried it both ways and the cake itself is great....."

mrs. marvelous User ID: 5558083 103056
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2014

"Can someone tell me if this would be good without frosting? I have some pretty flower shaped mini muffin tins and need a cake that would be good without frosting."

Annlin User ID: 6533457 117110
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2014

"This cake looks delicious but one slice of it howbeit good, I would have to fast the rest of the day! However, I know I will without abandon indulge in it all the same one day; who could resist! :))"

Mamasgardens User ID: 7402015 103054
Reviewed Sep. 10, 2013

"I made this for Christmas one year, and fell in love. My husband and I loved it SO much that we made our own wedding cake just so we could have this at our reception!"

LilyMc90 User ID: 6402072 185920
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2011

"I made this cake tonight, and it is fantastic! I added a layer of lemon curd for extra lemon flavor. I will definitely make this again."

JesusandMe4u User ID: 5467942 128026
Reviewed Jun. 14, 2011

"This cake is such a surprise. When I tell my friends the name their eyebrows raise. When they taste it, their eyebrows practically float right off their foreheads. Delicious!"

LBrouse User ID: 2574118 117106
Reviewed Apr. 25, 2011

"As others have said, this is a very heavy/dense cake thus I would likely make it as a smaller, 2 layer cake next time. That said, the flavor is wonderful! My husband's eyes lit up at the first bite and he told me to be sure to save the recipe!"

justaminit71 User ID: 5919313 188696
Reviewed Apr. 23, 2011

"I was so excited to try this recipe. It taste delicious. But had more of a muffin texture. A little to dense for my liking. I will make this again but may tweak it a bit."

skullaria User ID: 2610705 211378
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2011

"I used just my own chicken's eggs so this cake turned out yellow instead of white. It's very pretty.

I give it 5 stars based on the taste of the recipe. It is simply awesome. Well held together and moist and tasty.
I did have some problems though with the recipe. I have a glass cake plate and the 3 layers were way too high. I ended up freezing one. Then I had an over abundance of icing.
I will make this again, as it was a hit with both kids and adults alike, but next time it will be cupcakes instead of a 3 layer cake."

tdrost User ID: 1174521 170378
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2011

"I have made this many times, and it always gets many compliments. I've even been asked to make it for a Valentine's Banquet two years in a row because it's been so popular. I always double the lemon juice in the frosting (which does make more than enough like someone commented), and I usually add a little more rosemary to the cake. It does well even at high altitude without adjustments."

historyfoodie User ID: 5283921 211377
Reviewed Sep. 14, 2010

"Certain desserts possess the ability to make a lasting memory. After trying this delicious cake, I helped my 9 year-old daughter make it for our county fair this summer. It won Best of Show and was raved by the judges. I put in plenty of lemon and doubled the rosemary. Splendid! cake Love and Perfection!"

debrafillingim User ID: 3080353 170376
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2010

"I did not make this cake but had it as a friends. It was absolutely delicious. I am considering making it as cupcakes or loaves when I make it myself."

Joyce Lundeen User ID: 4512215 186007
Reviewed Dec. 26, 2009

"This may have been the best cake I have every tasted. I love the slightly dense texture, the subtle flavor of the rosemary and the sweet tart flavor of the frosting. One thing I did find is that there was probably 25% more frosting than needed for the cake. But it did not go to waste since a friend gave us a homemade angel food cake. JLL Kansas"

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