The Most Delicious Lemon Bar Cake

May 8, 2023

Lemon Bar Cake – lemon cake layers baked on a shortbread crust, filled with lemon curd and topped with a lemon buttercream.

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Is it Springtime Yet?

This winter is proving to be a long one and even though spring is supposed to officially start in just a couple weeks, I’m doubtful it will really come. We’ve had so much snow and so many freezing cold days this winter. And just when you think it’s over with the arrival of blue skies and 55 degree weather, winter comes back with a vengeance. It hit hard again last week for a couple days and I couldn’t help but dream of springtime… and spring baking. Flavor combinations started flooding my head and the one that seemed most appropriate was a cake inspired by lemon bars.

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Lemon Bars

Why lemon bars, you ask? Well, this past weekend was my mom’s 60th birthday and she’s a huge fan of lemon bars. She actually makes the most delicious lemon bars and I’ve been eager to get another lemon cake recipe on the blog for a while. It seemed like the perfect inspiration for a new cake.

Plus, a few months ago, my brothers, sister and I decided to surprise my mom with US for her birthday! Yup, the four of us together would be our big gift to her. But I didn’t want to show up empty handed, and we all know that every birthday needs a cake… so, it was the perfect time to try out this new recipe.

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Lemon Bar Cake

This cake has all the makings of a lemon bar, but in cake form, of course. I started with a shortbread crust that you’ll bake on it’s own for about 8 minutes. I then added a lemon cake on top of the crust. This lemon cake is so divine and would be equally delicious without the crust if you wanted to just have a basic lemon cake.

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I’ve filled the inside with a lemon curd and lemon buttercream.

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I realize that sounds like a lot of lemon, but trust me, it all blends so beautifully that it doesn’t feel over powdering. Plus, the savory shortbread crust is the perfect contrast to the tartness and sweetness of the rest of the cake.

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I was able to share this cake with friends and family and it’s been a hit all around!

Tips:

  • Make the lemon curd a few days in advance.
  • Make sure not to put too much curd in between the layers so it doesn’t lose stability. Instead, use only about ¼ to ⅓ cup curd in the cake and serve extra on the side of each slice.
  • Make sure to use a sharp knife to cut the cake.

Enjoy!

Join the Conversation

  1. 3 stars
    The BEST lemon curd ever! Thank you so much!! But my cakes came out really dense, not light and fluffy. Baking Powder is fresh & I made sure I didn’t overmix the batter …. could it be because I made my own buttermilk with milk and lemon juice?

  2. Can I pre-make and freeze the curd too? How long will the buttercream last in the fridge?

    1. Yes you can. The buttercream can stay in the fridge for a week or so.

  3. 5 stars
    This cake was SO GOOD. Even better the next day. I was so surprised because I wasn’t sure how the texture would be, but it WORKS. Mmmmm

  4. 5 stars
    Can I make these in 9in pans?

    1. Yes 1.5x the recipe.

  5. Has anyone left out the straining through the seive step? I kind of want to keep the zest in the curd. I’m imaging that the texture would be enjoyable. Any feed back would be appreciated. (⁠◕⁠ᴗ⁠◕⁠✿⁠)

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