Italian Lemon Cake Dessert Recipe

How to Make the Best Italian Lemon Cake Recipe

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This recipe for how to make Italian lemon cake is easy and delicious. This Italian dessert is so amazingly awesome that when I first tasted it all I could say was WOW.   Or was it, “Mama Mia!”?  

Italian lemon cake is not only simple to make, but it uses simple ingredients that every household should have, so I’m sure you can make it.

italian lemon cake

Like I always say, “If I can do it, so can you!”  

What is Italian Lemon Cake?

Italian lemon cake has the texture and consistency of a cake. It is moist and light.

It is a lemon flavored Italian cake.

It is not a bundt cake or a pound cake. This recipe does not use creme.

This recipe is probably one of my favorite Italian dessert recipes.

Due to the lemon extract (or fresh squeezed lemons), you may think that the cake has a strong lemony flavor and is tart. But this is not the case, as the lemon is more of a hint of flavor.  

Italian lemon cake is not like a lemon meringue pie where the lemon flavor is strong.

In contrast the lemon cake is light and has a slight sweetness to it.

Is it a Dense Cake?

Italian lemon cake recipe

The density is just slightly denser than a regular cake, and this Italian cake is only about an inch in height.  

I’m not a baker, in fact I don’t enjoy baking, but this recipe I’d make any day any time for anyone because it literally is that easy and that good.

Just watch the video and you’ll see me step you right through it.

Where is this Lemon Cake Recipe From?

This particular recipe is not from the hidden vaults of anyone on either side of my family.  

In my pursuit to find authentic Italian Easter dessert recipes such as Italian lemon ricotta pie, I came across Italian Lemon Cake.

My curiosity was peaked.

However, the recipes I found were either way too complicated or used ingredients I most likely wouldn’t have on hand, like almond flour for example.  

And frankly, no one in my family or my husband’s that I know of has ever used almond flour in any Italian recipe that I know of.

So, maybe that’s authentic somewhere else but not where my lineage comes from.

After quite a bit of testing and recipe development, I finally had a tried and tested recipe I could duplicate easily.

How to Make Italian Lemon Cake

So, as I explained, I decided to take the recipes I found and modify them.  Real (in my opinion) unadulterated Italian cooking isn’t Americanized with tons of this and that.  

It’s simple.  Even the desserts.  

How to make italian lemon cake

This recipe takes 25 minutes prep time (unless you’re fast which I’m not), and takes 30 minutes in the oven at 350F.  

Mix the dry ingredients of flour and baking soda.

Then in a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Lemon Extract

Add in the sugar and blend well.

One mixed, start adding in the dry ingredients slowly and blend until a thick dough is formed.

Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes.

You’ll know when it’s done doing the toothpick test and it comes out clean without any wet cake dough sticking to it.

Let cool for about 10 minutes so you can handle it.

Remove the cake from the pan by placing it upside down on a wire rack.

Let cool again for about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle confectioner sugar when ready to serve and you’re done.  

Easy right?  Right!  Si!

I Made this 4 times in less than a month!

I actually made this recipe 4 times in about 2 weeks making sure I had the ingredients just right.  

I then decided to do a video so I made a recording thus making the cake a third time, but the video file got corrupted.

So I almost gave up because you know… it’s not like I have every night free.  

But I rarely quit anything so I did another recording thereby making another cake in the process and that’s 4 times all together!

I have it memorized and if I can do it I know you can!

How Long will Italian Lemon Cake Keep in the Fridge?

Italian lemon cake will last up to five days in the fridge just like any other regular cake.

Video Proof for Italian Lemon Cake

Watch my video in this post to see the proof that it really is that easy! The printable recipe is further down.  

The video is a little longer than my normal videos but that’s because I really explain what I’m doing so anyone out there like me who is a novice at baking can feel comfortable doing this recipe.

 I hope you enjoy the video and benefit from the tips I give you.

Supplies You Need for Making Italian Lemon Cake


Hand held or a stand mixer will do.  I used a stand mixer, but I actually wonder if the hand mixer would have been better.  

The reason is because you use it to “cream” the butter and sugar.

In my experience with the stand mixer turns the lemon cake dough into a paste which is fine, but when I added all the other ingredients it didn’t incorporate all that sugary goodness into the batter fully.

I ended up doing a final manual mixing to blend it in.  

You’ll see what I mean in the video.

Spring form pan

If you can, use a spring form pan.  

I wouldn’t want anyone held back from doing the recipe if they don’t have one so use a cake pan if you don’t have a spring form pan.

I suppose just make sure it’s greased down so well that the cake won’t have a problem coming out.

Parchment paper

This truly is a good thing to have on hand and I understand why so many bakers use it.

It helps to use the parchment as a way to keep the cake from sticking to the pan itself.

This is important because we want to remove the cake from the pan gently onto the wire racks upside down.

Basting brush

This is also handy to have for brushing butter onto the cake pan so the cake won’t stick to the sides and bottom.

If you enjoy this recipe, you may also enjoy:

Italian Lemon Cake

An easy and simple Italian dessert that is great for Easter or any day of the year!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian Lemon Cake Dessert
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8


  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter plus 1 tbsp for melting
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk 2% is probably fine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or juice of whole lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • confectioners sugar for top


  1. Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and set aside

  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and put parchment paper down in pan

  3. If you don’t have parchment paper, don’t worry but you’ll want to really make sure the bottom is buttered

  4. Brush the melted butter on all sides and bottom (yes on top of parchment paper)

  5. Coat the pan with white flour and tap off excess as shown in video.  You want all sides covered with a nice coat of flour

  6. Use a mixer to cream the butter (1/2 stick) and sugar until evenly blended

  7. Add in the eggs one at a time while mixing and mix until well blended

  8. Then add in the milk, lemon juice, and vanilla and blend well

  9. Then slowly add in the flour and blend until it is a nice creamy smooth thick batter

  10. Pour the batter into the coated cake pan

  11. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes until done in center

  12. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes

  13. Flip upside down on wire rack and remove from pan.  Let stand for 20-30 minutes until cool

  14. Add confectioners sugar when ready to serve

  15. Store in a container, not out in the open as it will dry out. 

  16. Enjoy!!!

Recipe Video

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How to Make the Best Italian Lemon Cake Recipe


  1. Hello, I’m looking for a pastry cream that was used for cannolis. No eggs. Used milk flour or cornstarch. Cinnamon and vanilla for flavor. Sets in fridge to thicken up. Thank you for your time and any info, cindy

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