zesty lemon limoncello cake

Zesty Lemon Limoncello Cake

Having done a few hours gardening today, it was like working out. After resting, all of a sudden I wanted to bake a cake but after baking two chocolate cakes in a row, we need to have a break from chocolate. Peter and Bas both adore lemon cake and I had two lemons and limoncello at home, I thought I would make a cake without needing to shop for more ingredients. I searched online and found that the French likes baking yogurt cake as a base to make other different variations of cakes. What a fantastic idea! I found a few lemon cakes which has a lemon syrup pouring on the top, I was really amazed and know I gotta try out. Would the cake not be soaking wet after pouring juice of two lemons? In the end I have saved a quarter of the lemon syrup for other use and it came out just right, moist but not dripping nor feeling wet. I felt my lemons were rather juicy so I adjusted with my gut feeling. The cake stayed fresh the next day and we had a piece each for breakfast this morning.

Adapted from Orangette’s Gâteau au Citron:


  • 1/2 cup plain or natural yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of rye & spelt flour (Swiss: Roggen & Dinkel Mehl)*
  • 1 cup fine light brown sugar (minus 1 tbsp as I prefer less sweet)
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, melted

Lemon limoncello glaze:

  • juice of 1 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 1/8 cup limoncello


  1. Preheat oven at 180ºC (350ºF).
  2. Grease a 23cm baking tin and dust with flour. You can line with parcement paper of course but I find this method is even more convenient.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, yogurt and eggs together at lowest speed with a handheld mixer or using wooden spatula is fine as this cake should not be over mixed. Gradually add in the flour, baking powder and baking soda and butter mix well and lastly add in the lemon zest.
  4. Pour the batter onto the greased and dusted baking tin and bake for 30-35 mins. Check with a wooden stick by sticking into the middle of the cake until it comes out clean.
  5. The cake should have a golden brown on top. Cool the cake on a rack for about 20 mins.
  6. Mix the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and limoncello in a bowl, stir until the sugar is well dissolved.
  7. Gently spoon the lemon syrup on top of the cake, this will give a thin glaze on top, the syrup should soak into the cake.



  • When you grate the lemon to get the zest, do not go too deep to the white part, as it is the white part which will give a bitter taste, learnt from Anne when we were in Tuscany. She taught me how to make limoncello.
  • Rye and spelt flour may be more common in Switzerland and Germany. You can use rye flour instead or just use all plain white flour.
  • Do not overmix the batter when preparing and do not over bake!!!



14 thoughts on “zesty lemon limoncello cake

  1. Hi Juliana, if you do not have kids eating the cake, you can increase the amount to half limoncello and half lemon juice : ) Hope you will like it : )

  2. If you are looking for a really good Limoncello for this cake try Limoncello di Sonoma made locally in California. A better citrus profile and great for baking… and drinking.

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