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limoncello creme cake

(9 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Kathleen Hagood
Gorman, TX

We love eating lemon creme cake at our favorite Italian restaurants although each restaurant's version is very different. I began working on my own version a year ago, and the family thinks that I can finally stop tweaking thanks to an adaptation of Karla Everett's It's extremely intense lemon flavor makes it a perfect summer dessert. If you love lemon, you really should try it! I am using a simple cake mix, and the cake and the curd and even the mousse can be made ahead.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Lemon heaven for lemon lovers. That's how we'd describe this cool and creamy limoncello cake. Each bite of this cake is bursting with lemon. This is fancy restaurant quality and isn't a dessert that can just be thrown together. There are a lot of steps but it's well worth the effort. The cake is simple and starts with a cake mix base. Brushing the baked cake with lemon simple syrup adds moisture to the cake. The homemade lemon curd is the base for a light and creamy mascarpone mousse that's full of lemon flavor. Follow Kathleen's directions and you'll have a wonderful cake that's perfect for special occasions.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(9 ratings)
cook time 40 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For limoncello creme cake

  • 8 lg
    egg yolks, reserve whites of three, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c
  • 2/3 c
    fresh lemon juice (from 7-8 zested lemons, egg-sized)
  • lemon zest, finely grated from the 7-8 lemons used for the juice
  • 1 stick
    chopped butter
  • 3 tsp
    lemon extract
  • 10-inch springform pan
  • 1
    Duncan Hines moist deluxe white cake mix
  • 1 box
    lemon pudding and pie filling, not instant, 3 oz.
  • 3
    egg whites, reserved from some of the 8 yolks used in the curd (room temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp
    cooking oil
  • 1 1/3 c
  • 3 pkg
    mascarpone cream, room temperature, 8 oz. each
  • 1
    recipe lemon curd (made ahead and cooled)
  • 1/2 c
    granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp
    lemon extract
  • 1 Tbsp
    limoncello liqueur
  • 2/3 c
  • zest of two lemons, egg sized
  • 6 Tbsp
    white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp
    lemon extract
  • 7-8 Tbsp
    limoncello, lemon flavored liqueur
  • optional: white chocolate bar for grating
  • mint and lemon slices or
  • raspberries and raspberry sauce

How To Make limoncello creme cake

Test Kitchen Tips
There are many steps to this recipe. We recommend preparing everything the day before assembling since nearly everything needs to be chilled.
  • Zesting and juicing lemons.
    LEMON CURD: (Make Ahead) Roll room temperature lemons to loosen the juice inside. Then zest 7-8 lemons using a fine grater. Cut lemons and use a strainer to strain seeds from juice as you squeeze into a bowl.
  • Separating egg whites and yolks.
    Separate the 8 egg yolks and reserve 3 whites for the cake.
  • Egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest whisked together on a bowl.
    In the top of a double boiler, mix egg yolks, sugar, the 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, and the lemon zest from all of the lemons.
  • Egg yolk mixture cooking in a double boiler.
    Bring the double boiler to simmer and keep it there. Simmer and whisk constantly. Both the temperature and the whisking are necessary to prevent curdling. Simmer and whisk 10 minutes in this fashion until it becomes a thick pudding-like consistency.
  • Lemon extract and butter added to the eggs.
    Remove from heat and whisk in lemon extract. Add butter.
  • Whisking until the butter melts.
    Whisk until it dissolves completely.
  • Straining the cooked lemon curd.
    For a smooth lemon curd, strain the curd to remove the zest. You can leave it, though. I leave it in because I like the slight chewiness one gets from the zest.
  • Lemon curd smooth like pudding.
    Once the curd is strained, it's nice and smooth like pudding.
  • Lemon curd covered with plastic wrap.
    Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Place bowl in the refrigerator to cool completely. This will be used to make the mascarpone mousse. (My curd makes around 2 cups, and whatever the recipe makes, I use it ALL in the mousse.)
  • Cake pans prepared with parchment paper, butter, and dusted with cake mix.
    CAKE: (Can bake the cake a day ahead.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Spray cooking spray onto the pan. Place parchment paper in the bottom, and then spray paper too. Dust slightly with some dry cake mix.
  • Cake mix ingredients mixed together.
    Mix pudding mix and cake mix. Then add 3 egg whites, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1 1/3 cup of water until the cake mix is moist. Mix 2 minutes (according to package directions).
  • Cake batter poured into a springform pan.
    Pour into springform pan. Place this into a larger roasting pan in case of leaking.
  • Cake baking in the oven.
    Place into the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cake cooling.
    Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing springform sides.
  • Cake removed from the springform pan.
    After removing springform sides, place the cake in the freezer for cooling. If baking the night before, I place it into the refrigerator and then place it into the freezer for about 2 hours the morning before I assemble the cake.
  • Whisking mascarpone, sugar, and lemon extract together.
    LEMON MASCARPONE MOUSSE: (Should also be made several hours before assembling to help the mousse set up before assembling.) Whip mascarpone until smooth. Continue to beat while adding sugar and lemon extract.
  • Lemon curd added to the mascarpone.
    Check to see that sugar is dissolved. Then continue to beat while adding lemon curd. (If you stop beating while adding these ingredients, the acid of the lemon could curdle the mascarpone.)
  • Adding in the limoncello.
    Add limoncello while beating. When it's smooth, chill in the refrigerator. (I do not remove all of the zest caught in the beaters or wire whip. There will still be some in the mousse.)
  • Water, sugar, and lemon zest boiling in a saucepan.
    LIMONCELLO SOAKING LIQUID: Combine water, sugar, and lemon zest in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring the heat up to medium-high and bring the syrup to a boil.
  • Straining the liquid.
    Remove the pan from heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Strain the liquid to remove lemon zest.
  • Pouring limoncello and the lemon extract into the simple syrup.
    Stir in the limoncello and the lemon extract. Keep the syrup covered until ready to assemble the cake.
  • Cake cut in half.
    TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Remove cooled cake from the freezer. Using a bread knife, carefully split layer into two layers, cutting all of the way through. Remove top layer, carefully, to wax paper with the cut side up. Carefully, loosen the bottom of the springform pan from the bottom layer by sliding knife or spatula between parchment paper and pan bottom. Then slide cake onto a cake plate with the cut side up.
  • Brushing limoncello simple syrup on the cakes.
    Using a pastry brush or a spoon, put limoncello soaking liquid on each layer. (This is why I use the springform pan and cut the layers instead of using two or three round cake pans. The cut layers really allow the liquid to absorb into the cake.)
  • Half the mascarpone mousse added to the cake.
    Using half of the mascarpone mousse on the layer of cake on the cake plate, smooth it out, and then place it into the freezer until well set. If you rush this, the mousse will squeeze out when the other layer is placed upon it. Return other layers to the freezer also.
  • Top layer put on the cake.
    Carefully, place the top layer onto the frosted bottom layer.
  • Remaining mousse spread all over the cake.
    Spread mousse along the top of the cake. You can frost the sides of the cake if you want, but I do not always do that.
  • White chocolate grated on top.
    Grate white chocolate on top of the mascarpone mousse. Chill cake for several hours. It takes a while for the mousse to firm up and it's even better the day after it's assembled.
  • A slice of Limoncello Creme Cake on a plate with lemon and raspberries.
    GARNISHES: When slicing, you may garnish with fresh mint and a lemon slice. Or, it looks really great garnished with a raspberry and some raspberry sauce.
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    NOTE: This can be made alcohol free by omitting the limoncello in the mousse, by increasing the sugar in the soaking liquid, and using lemon juice instead of limoncello.