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Triple-Layer Lemon Cake

A smooth and silky citrus filling separates the three layers of my lemon cake. It's a homemade favorite that friends and family never tire of. Serve it after a special spring or summer meal.—Connie Jurjevich, Atmore, Alabama
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling BakE: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12-14 servings


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  • In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
  • Pour into three greased and waxed paper-lined 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.
  • For filling, in a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg; return to all the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in lemon juice, zest and butter. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Cover and refrigerate.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, zest and enough cream to achieve desired spreading consistency. Spread filling between cake layers. Frost top and sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 734 calories, 30g fat (12g saturated fat), 121mg cholesterol, 324mg sodium, 114g carbohydrate (88g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.

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  • amitchell71
    Oct 1, 2016

    Loved the filing and frosting but I did not like cake at all, barely had a taste and the batter was thick and gooey

  • erospert
    Jan 29, 2014

    My triplets wanted a lemon cake for their birthday so I thought I would give this recipe a try. It turned out to be a total disaster and it didn't even make it into the oven! I consider myself an intermediate baker but I'm always willing to admit that it could have been an operator error. All I can think of is that there has to be an error in the ingredients or the quantity. I was afraid to throw the batter down the disposal so I had to put it in the trash. I almost substituted the oil for butter and wish I had. The batter turned into a very thick glob of flour and sugar. It looked more cookie dough but I couldn't even fold in the egg whites because it was way too thick. If any other readers have any ideas as to what I did wrong I would appreciate your advice. The pictures of this cake had our mouths watering and I'm very disappointed that I wasted all the ingredients.

  • CSRaber
    Apr 12, 2012

    Instant husband pleaser. It's a huge cake and absolutely delicious. My filling didn't set up enough, too runny, so I added 4 oz. whipped topping to get better consistency. After spreading filling between layers, I stuck 2 drinking straws through the 3 layers to keep it from sliding and refrigerated it a couple of hours to firm it. It was much easier to frost a cool cake with room temp. frosting.

  • meganshakes
    May 12, 2010

    I just made the filling and used a boxed cake and frosting and it was amazing! The filling was perfectly tart and really easy to make. My husband said he wanted to dig into the cake and eat just the filling. Everyone loved it.

  • LeLimey
    Apr 8, 2010

    I used my own sponge recipe for the cake and just used the frosting and filling from this recipe and I have to say, as someone without a sweet tooth - I've had two slices of this myself! The filling and frosting are out of this world. I have been overloaded with compliments! I made this for one son's birthday and two of his friends have begged me to make this for their birthdays too along with my youngest son - a confirmed chocoholic! I think we can safely say this is a resounding success and has become an overnight legend here! Thank you so much for sharing a truly delicious recipe.

  • saraherter
    Mar 26, 2010

    My husband loves everything lemon, so I made him this cake for his birthday. He loved it. The only alterations I made were -- double the lemon peel in the filling and frosting, and an additional tablespoon of lemon juice in the frosting. I also used freshly squeezed lemon juice rather than from the bottle. Delicious!

  • jillbu
    Jan 14, 2010

    cake is not very moist, very crumbly, icing recipe needs to be increased as those measurements really don't cover the cake. Flavor was fine, and it has a regal appearance (besides the very thin frosting)

  • hungrygirl78
    Nov 24, 2009

    I made this recipe to bring it in to the office. While I particularly don't much care for lemon cake, the cake did receive excellent reviews from my co-workers. The white cake in this recipe is very light and moist too.

  • MommyNeedsMoreCoffee
    Jul 4, 2009

    Made this fabulous cake for my son's 5th birthday. The whole family loved it and we were all glad he requested lemon cake this year. (A tip for lemon lovers, I doubled the lemon juice in the icing.)