The refreshing tang of lemon cake makes such a change to the deep sweetness of many bakes. This cake is both beautiful and delicious, and is sure to jazz up a summer meal. 

Ingredients (serves 8 - 10)

For the Topping

  • 100g caster sugar 
  • 2 lemons, finely sliced (zest them first and save the zest)

For the Cake

  • 225g salted butter, at room temperature 
  • 225g caster sugar 
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 225g self raising flour (I like 'supreme sponge' flour)

For the Filling and Topping

  • 250g mascarpone cream cheese 
  • 50g icing sugar 
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3tbsp lemon curd  
  • Nibbed/pearl sugar or crushed sugar cubes

Essential Equipment

  • 2 x 20cm loose bottom round cake tins, greased and lined with baking paper


Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. For the caramelised lemon top, place a small saucepan over a medium/high heat and allow to get hot. Add the caster sugar and let it melt into a dark caramel, stirring as it melts. Immediately pour the caramel into one of the prepared cake tins, tilting the tin so the caramel more or less spreads across the bottom. Overlap the slices of lemon on top of the caramel and set to one side. 

For the cake batter, whisk together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, and the sugar has dissolved into butter. Add the lemon zest and eggs and beat in until well mixed. Sift over the flour and fold in until you have a smooth batter. Divide the mixture into the two tins, being careful not to displace the lemons. Bake the plain cake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, and the lemon-topped cake for 5-10 minutes longer; a skewer inserted into both should come out clean. Immediately invert the lemon-topped cake onto a cooling wrack, and let the plain cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing. 

For the filling beat together the mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon zest until smooth. Spread the lemon curd over the plain cake, top that with the mascarpone (using a piping bag is much easier), then the lemon cake on top.