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Italian lemon cake recipe

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

The 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.

Like I always say, “If I can do it, so can you!”   That couldn’t be more true considering I have never, and I repeat never made a cake from scratch before.

Is Lemon Cake Lemony and Tart?

Lemon cake is not tart.  

It isn’t like a lemon meringue pie that is satisfying but leaves you content to wait another 365 days until you decide to have some again.

Is it a Dense Cake?

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.

Why Lemon Cake?

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 that didn’t require anything out of the norm, I came across Italian Lemon Cake.

However, the recipes I found were either 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.

How Long Does it Take to Make it?

So, with you, my reader in mind, 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.  

This recipe takes 25 minutes prep time (unless you’re fast which I’m not), and takes 30 minutes in the oven at 350.   You let it cool on a wire rack, sprinkle confectioner sugar, 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.  The first time was a standard recipe online which was so bad I tossed the cake.

I then made my own adjustments and changed some ingredients to common household ones and tried again. It amazingly came out awesome.  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!

Video Proof for Italian Lemon Cake

Watch my video below 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.

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!!!

Mixer:  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 and my experience with the stand mixer is that it turns it into a paste which is fine, but when I added all the other ingredients it didn’t mix all that sugary goodness into the batter and 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 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.

Basting brush – this is also handy to have for brushing butter on different foods, even breads, chickens etc.

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