Lemon Cake with Creamy Filling and Lemon Curd

Homemade Lemon Cake with a layer of creamy lemon frosting and fresh lemon curd! Delicious and made entirely from scratch, this is one impressive cake.

Lemon Cake with lemon frosting and fresh lemon curd. Copycat Olive Garden Lemon Crumb Cake.

This cake. Words hardly do it justice.

Lemon Cake has a stronghold over my heart. Okay, all lemon desserts do.

Seriously, have I mentioned how much I love lemon desserts? Has it been made clear to you all yet that I would choose a lemon treat over a rich chocolate brownie? Not to say I don’t love brownies. Please. I just happen to LOVE LOVE LOVE all lemon desserts.

For instance, the only item on the hypothetical dessert buffet I’d choose over a good lemon dessert is a Rice Krispie Treat. That’s because Rice Krispie Treats and I have a bond that goes WAY back. In all other cases, lemon will win out every time.

Olive Garden Lemon Crumb Cake

So, you can imagine that whenever I order dessert at a restaurant, I gravitate toward anything with “lemon” in the name. On those rare occasions I don’t over indulge on garlic breadsticks at Olive Garden and save room for dessert, I order a slice of their Lemon Crumb Cake.

After ordering it a few times, I decided I could probably make an even better version of the cake at home.

Oh boy, was I right. This copycat Olive Garden Lemon Crumb Cake is so much better than the original.

Okay, it’s not QUITE identical to the Olive Garden recipe. I fancied it up a bit. I pimped it out. I added all the bells and whistles, from creamy lemon filling to extra tangy lemon curd.

Best lemon cake recipe

As a base for this layered cake extravaganza, I made a lemon cake batter from scratch using my favorite lemon cupcake recipe. The batter gets baked into two layers–that way you can add creamy filling and lemon curd in the middle.

How to get level cake layers: The trickiest part of making a layer cake is getting the layers even and level. To do this, I always use Wilton Bake Even strips on my cake pans. Works like a charm. No leveling and cutting the cake!

Homemade Lemon Cake with a layer of creamy lemon frosting and fresh lemon curd #cakerecipe #lemon @shugarysweets

How to make Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd

The extra layer of homemade lemon curd is another one of my extra touches to this cake. It’s optional, technically, but I think it’s gorgeous! The curd adds even more lemon flavor and moisture to an already heavenly cake.

Then there’s the crumb topping–the buttery crumb with a hint of vanilla flavor and powdered sugar is the finishing touch.

There are a few steps to this recipe, but I think it’s more than worth it, especially for a special occasion.

First, make cake:

Beat together the ingredients for the batter and pour into greased layer cake pans. Bake for about 25 – 28 minutes, then let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

While the cakes are cooling, you can mix together all the ingredients for the butter crumb topping so it’s ready to go.

To make the filling:

Beat butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 tbs of lemon curd together until well combined and fluffy.

Assemble the cake:

Put the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread half of the cream cheese filling over this layer, along with part of the remaining lemon curd and crumb topping.

Top this with the second cake layer. Spread this with the rest of the lemon curd, the frosting and the remaining crumb layer.


Pop your cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let everything set. Slice, serve and enjoy! Lemon Crumb Cake is best served cold.

Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator. I cover it with the cover from a cake stand, but you could also transfer the whole thing to a large tupperware.

Can you freeze this cake?

Yes, the cake will freeze well. You can freeze it with the filling and lemon curd already applied, or freeze the layers and then thaw them when you’re ready to assemble the cake.

If you plan to freeze the cake whole, I’d recommend leaving the crumb topping off until a couple of hours before serving so that it doesn’t get mushy.

Leftover slices of cake can be frozen individually for quick single serve desserts! Convenient and delicious.

With rich lemon curd and an irresistible crumb topping, it doesn’t get any better than this copycat Olive Garden Lemon Crumb Cake!

Homemade Lemon Cake with a layer of creamy lemon frosting and fresh lemon curd #cakerecipe #lemon @shugarysweets

More Lemon Recipes

  • These Lemon Crunch Cookies are filled with lemon cream cookies, crumbled. Oh my are they delicious!!
  •  These Citrus Cookies not only have lemon, but also some orange and lime! One of my favorite cookies!
  • Lemon Curd Tart with Macadamia Crust. Really, no other words are necessary!!
  • Fresh citrus and juicy berries come together in this easy Lemon Blueberry Cake recipe. Made from scratch, it’s topped with a sweet lemon cream cheese frosting!
Yield: 12 servings

Lemon Cake with Creamy Filling and Lemon Curd

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

From scratch lemon cake with creamy filling and lemon curd


For the Cake:

  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, divided
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ cup cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

For the filling

For the Topping:

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. To prepare cake, grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper (cut circles to fit). Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites, ¼ cup of the buttermilk and lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly add in egg white mixture. Beat in remaining buttermilk.
  4. Pour evenly into cake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25-28 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Remove and cool in cake pans 5 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
  5. For the filling, beat butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp lemon curd in a mixing bowl for 3-5 minutes, until fluffy. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. It's easiest to use your hands and just crumble the butter with flour and sugar until pea size. Set aside.
  7. To assemble cake. Lay first layer of cake on a cake stand. Top with all but ½ cup of cream cheese filling. Add ½ cup lemon curd and ½ cup dry cake topping. Top with second layer of cake. Spread remaining ½ cup lemon curd on top and remaining ½ cup cream cheese filling. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the entire top of the cake. Refrigerate at least two hours.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 311mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 1gSugar: 55gProtein: 6g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on February 23, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. I ordered the 6 piece set of the Wilton Bake Even Cake Strips. Thanks for the information on them.
    I love anything lemon. This is going to be the next cake I bake. Thanks for all the yummy sounding recipes.

    Always looking for new recipes to try. Glad I found you.

  2. I made this for Easter 2019 and it was delicious!!! Your white cake is now my go to white cake recipe. Thanks.

  3. I would like to make this for Easter but am trying to plan how to make as much of it in advance as possible. I don’t want to assemble the entire thing and have it dry out. What would you recommend?

  4. hi Aimee, love your lemon cake. This came out a lovely white colour ideal for wedding cakes. The flavour was yummy even though I forgot about in the oven – I would imagine it would taste even better when cooked for the right amount of time. Good texture for simple carving of shaped cakes.

  5. The cake is in the fridge. Yet to taste, my issue is 
    with the curd recipe. Why do we juice 4 lemons for 
    1/3 c juice? And zest of 4 lemons is not specific enough. I have a lemon tree and the lemons are huge. 4 lemons could yield a cup of zest. Thinking that would be too much. 

  6. The instuctions don’t seem to follow the picture, unless I’m just no reading it right. Could you list the order for assembling for me, please?

    1. Hi Carole: thanks for stopping by! I updated the directions so they are hopefully more clear! Let me know if that helps 🙂

  7. I just made this tonight and it took me four hours 🙁 It was my first layer cake and I did the lemon curd from scratch but mine doesn’t look like yours at all. The frosting and lemon curd are dripping down the side, I’m sure it’ll still be good though. I made it for my sister’s birthday tomorrow so hopefully everyone likes it! Don’t know why it turned out so messy though, it was hard to do the lemon curd, frosting and crumb layers on top of each other.

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