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Lemon Custard Cake

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close up shot of a slice of Lemon Custard Cake on a spatula
Watch in amazement as this lemon custard cake bakes into three delightful layers of tangy citrus flavor.
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Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Custard Cake Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Lemon Custard Cake Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This refreshing lemon custard cake is a bright and citrusy dessert that is a delight to look at. Custard cakes possess a little bit of magic because one simple batter separates into three distinct layers during baking to create a soft and creamy dessert.

close up shot of a slice of Lemon Custard Cake on a plate

Lemon Custard Cake Ingredients

Lemon Custard Cake raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature (separated)
  • ¼ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted sweet cream butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (spooned into the measuring cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon zest (1 large lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1¾ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional dusting for the cooled cake)

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

VINEGAR: You can omit the white vinegar, but it helps to stabilize the egg whites.

LEMON ZEST: You can increase the lemon zest to 2 tablespoons. You will get 1½ tablespoons of juice from one large lemon.

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How to Make This Lemon Custard Cake Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

The 8×8 square pan is essential to achieve the three distinct layers. A larger pan will spread the cake batter too thin for the creamy custard layer in the center to form. The batter won’t fit in a smaller pan. 

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some parchment paper overhang for lifting the cake out of the pan. Set it aside.

PRO TIP:

The low temperature (325°F) is important for baking this custard-like dessert.  

STEP TWO: Using either a stand mixer or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high, whip together the egg whites and the white vinegar to stiff peaks.

egg white and vinegar in a bowl

STEP THREE: Using a large bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the egg yolks and granulated sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until the yolk mixture is pale yellow.

eggs yolks and sugar blended together with the egg white and vinegar in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Lower the mixer speed to low speed. Drizzle in the melted butter and vanilla.

butter and vanilla blended together with Lemon Custard Cake batter in a bowl

STEP FIVE: Keeping the mixer speed on low, beat in the flour. Mix just until well combined.

flour blended together with Lemon Custard Cake batter in a bowl

STEP SIX: Continue mixing on low, and add the lemon juice and zest.

lemon juice and zest blended together into the cake batter

STEP SEVEN: Keep the mixer speed on low and drizzle in the milk. 

milk poured on the Lemon Custard Cake batter and then blended together in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Using a whisk, incorporate the egg whites into the batter. Leave small egg white bumps.

egg poured into the Lemon Custard Cake batter and then whisked together in a a bowl

STEP NINE: Pour batter into the prepared pan; it will be thin.

Lemon Custard Cake batter poured in a baking dish

STEP TEN: Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, just until the mixture has no wobble.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Lemon Custard Cake baked in a baking dish

STEP ELEVEN: Allow the cake to cool completely. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar and slice.

PRO TIP:

While we would suggest only removing one piece at a time from the pan, if for some reason you do want to remove the whole cake at once, lining the pan with parchment paper may help to lift the lemon cake out of the pan. We can’t guarantee that you won’t get a bit of custard that will try to ooze out the side of the cake.

slices of Lemon Custard Cake on a parchment sheet dusted with powdered sugar

How To Serve

Lemon lovers will enjoy every bit of this mouthwatering custard cake. Wow your dinner party guests with this fantastic lemon layer cake along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a homemade pumpkin spice latte to wash it down. 

If you like this lemon version, our magic custard cake and pumpkin magic cake are two different flavors of this dreamy recipe.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers of this magic lemon custard cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the cake for up to 3 months. Allow the cake to completely thaw before serving. You will need to re-dust it with powdered sugar before serving.

slices of Lemon Custard Cake dusted with powdered sugar

There is something special about magic custard cakes. They are such creamy desserts, and it’s such fun to watch the layers form all from one single batter. The bottom layer of dense cake, the middle layer of creamy custard filling, and the top layer of light, fluffy cake make this a must-try treat.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is my lemon magic cake batter supposed to be very runny?

Yes, you will have a very runny and thin batter, which is the consistency you want for the magic layering to happen during the baking process.

Can I make other flavors of this unique cake?

We have linked to our pumpkin magic cake above, and you can also find recipes for chocolate and strawberry as well.

Will freezing this cake affect the texture of the layers?

This lemon custard magic cake will actually freeze quite well and will keep for up to three months if stored properly.

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close up shot of a slice of Lemon Custard Cake on a spatula

Lemon Custard Cake

5 from 1 vote
Watch in amazement as this lemon custard cake bakes into three delightful layers of tangy citrus flavor.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 25

Ingredients
  

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature (separated)
  • ¼ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, melted and cooled (8 tablespoons)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned into the measuring cup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, pure
  • tablespoons lemon zest (1 large lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, optional dusting for cooled cake

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some parchment paper overhang for lifting the cake out of the pan. Set it aside.
  • Using either a stand mixer or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high, whip together the egg whites and the white vinegar to stiff peaks.
  • Using a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high, beat together the egg yolks and granulated sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until pale yellow.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low. Drizzle in the melted and cooled butter and vanilla.
  • Keeping the mixer speed on low, beat in the flour. Mix just until well combined.
  • Continue mixing on low, and add in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Keep the mixer speed on low and drizzle in the milk.
  • Using a whisk, incorporate the egg whites into the batter. Leave small egg white bumps.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish; it will be thin.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, just until the mixture has no wobble.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and slice.

Notes

  • The 8×8 square pan is essential to achieve the three distinct layers. A larger pan will spread the cake batter too thin for the creamy custard layer in the center to form. The batter won’t fit in a smaller pan.
  • The low temperature (325°F) is important for baking this custard-like dessert.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • While we would suggest only removing one piece at a time from the pan, if for some reason you do want to remove the whole cake at once, lining the pan with parchment paper may help to lift the lemon cake out of the pan. We can’t guarantee that you won’t get a bit of custard that will try to ooze out the side of the cake.

Nutrition

Sodium: 47mg | Calcium: 28mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 185IU | Sugar: 8g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 45mg | Cholesterol: 42mg | Calories: 95kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fat: 5g | Protein: 2g | Carbohydrates: 11g | Iron: 1mg
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