citrus cake

by Sharon Santoni

A beautiful lemon cake filled with lemon curd and iced with a vanilla bean buttercream, by Molly Wilkinson for My French Country Home

On our little team here at MFCH we are very fortunate to have some extremely talented girls, including a young lady from Texas who has a passion for patisserie!   When she’s not answering your enquiries about tours, or helping out with the magazine, Molly also runs her own patisserie classes in Versailles, and she’ll be announcing the schedule for the new season very soon.

Today Molly is sharing with us a recipe for one of the prettiest cakes I’ve seen.  We hope you love it and we’d love you to tell us if you make it and how it turns out !   Over to Molly …



With spring just around the corner, I’ve been inspired to bring a bit more of bright florals into my new apartment in bouquets with tulips and daffodils, but also on cakes! This citrus cake is made with lemon cake, lemon curd, and covered in a simple vanilla buttercream to let the decoration and the flavors shine.

A beautiful lemon cake filled with lemon curd and iced with a vanilla bean buttercream, by Molly Wilkinson for My French Country Home

If you are making this for a garden party and have lots to do to prepare, bake the cake slices several days in advance. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and for an extra barrier, place each in a freezer proof plastic bag before sliding into the freezer. When you’re ready to decorate, take them out of the refrigerator and set on your countertop a couple of hours in advance to thaw completely, but slowly.

The flowers are carefully picked from either those growing organically on my balcony or after speaking with my local florist. I also dried slices of lemon to cover the top as another fun pop and hint to what is inside. Everything is edible, but it is more for decoration than flavor.

A beautiful lemon cake filled with lemon curd and iced with a vanilla bean buttercream, by Molly Wilkinson for My French Country Home


To make oven-dried lemon slices:

Thinly slice a lemon using a serrated knife. Place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 2-3 hours or until dry to the touch at 200F/90C. Note: These are great to make tea as well!


A beautiful lemon cake filled with lemon curd and iced with a vanilla bean buttercream, by Molly Wilkinson for My French Country Home

Citrus Cake

Serves: 8
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 3.1/5
( 10 voted )


  • For the cake:
  • 400g (3 1/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 335g (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 430g (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp lemon extract (or to taste)
  • 235ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 8 egg whites
  • 55g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • Lemon Curd (store bought or homemade)
  • For the Icing:
  • 250g (15 tbls) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 650g (5 cups) powdered/confectioners/icing sugar
  • 4 tbls whole milk
  • 1 tbls vanilla extract


Start by making your favorite lemon curd. I love Sharon's recipe here. Chill completely so it is set when you are ready to use it.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and butter and flour two 8" (20cm) cake rounds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter, sugar (430g), and lemon zest in an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon extract and then alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk while mixing on low speed.

Whip the egg whites separately, adding the 55g of sugar slowly when it reaches soft peak. Beat until stiff then fold into the batter.

Divide evenly between the two cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake springs bake to touch.

Allow the cakes to cool completely.

To make the icing, use the whisk attachment and whip the room temperature butter until the texture is soft, almost like mayo. Slowly start adding the powdered sugar on low speed, taking your time.

Then add in the milk and vanilla. Adjust by adding a little bit more or less milk to get the desired texture.

Assemble the cake by piping a circle of icing around the top of the first layer to create a dam. Fill with lemon curd and then place the second cake layer on top. Do a crumb coat, by putting a thin layer of icing along the sides to trap in the crumbs.

Chill, then do a final coat of icing.

Decorate with fresh herbs, edible flowers, and dried lemon slices.



Chill the cake if you will not serve it for several hours. When ready to eat, make sure to take it out in advance so the cake comes to room temperature.


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Vicky from Athens March 12, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Sharon, this makes my mouth water! It’s so beautifully decorated one can’t help but want a slice. I know it will be delicious.

Linda March 12, 2019 - 1:38 pm

This cake looks delicious ! My youngest daughter always requests an orange cake for her birthday, but I think lemon cake (especially with the inclusion of lemon curd) will win the day. Thanks so much for making the measurement conversions for those of us in the States. Simply lovely. Linda

Audrey March 12, 2019 - 1:39 pm

Hello Sharon,
In France, can you tell me please which flour you use as an equvalent to ‘All purpose’ flour in the States, and what would usually be called ‘Self Raising’ in UK and Ireland.? I get a bit mesmerised with all of the speciality choices of flour on the supermarket shelves here in France.

Molly @ MFCH March 12, 2019 - 2:38 pm

Hi Audrey, Molly here 🙂 In France I would use T45 flour, this is my go to flour here. It’s a finer grind that I would liken to a cake flour in the US. You can use T55 as well if you’d like, this is the all purpose equivalent. All purpose flour in the States does not contain a leavening agent so it’s actually really important to distinguish between the two. Happy Baking! Molly

Dona Stewart March 12, 2019 - 1:47 pm

The recipe is for two 8 inch cake pans, however it appears that the cake is taller and maybe 4 layers? I’m dazzled by the cake but confused

Molly @ MFCH March 12, 2019 - 2:44 pm

Hi Dona! Molly here. Oo good eye! 😀 I made an extra layer for this one, but it would be just as delicious with two layers as written in the recipe. 🙂 If you’d like to make it taller, it’s easy to do this, just divide the batter between three pans. Your layers will be a bit shorter, but you’ll have another layer of lemon curd of buttercream to make this a bit taller. Watch your cooking time as it might be just a tad shorter 🙂 Hope this helps! Happy baking 🙂

Janet March 12, 2019 - 2:15 pm

I work for a catering company that makes large batches of our own lemon curd. We then place it in plastic containers and freeze it for about a week without any ill effects. So if you are busy organizing a dinner party you’ve got a couple components ready to go for the cake. You could even dry the citrus ahead of time. The cake sounds and looks lovely.

Molly @ MFCH March 12, 2019 - 2:45 pm

Hi Janet! This is so true! The lemon slices could be made a week in advance (maybe even longer!) and kept in an airtight container. Thanks for the comment 🙂 Molly

Deidra Parman March 12, 2019 - 2:23 pm

Thank you for this lovely spring dessert idea! Certainly will try this for summer as well.
Love the background tidbits too about the baker’s roots and living in France now.

Molly @ MFCH March 12, 2019 - 2:46 pm

Hi Deidra, So happy you enjoyed the post. Reach out if you have any questions- happy to help! Molly

tracy brown March 12, 2019 - 2:54 pm

Molly and Sharon-
Absolutely stunning presentation!! Will have to try it.

Our French Lifestyle March 12, 2019 - 3:37 pm

Lemon drizzle cake is one of my favourites but I have to admit, mine doesn’t look nearly as beautifully decorated as this. Adding the dried lemon slices is a great touch, I shall certainly steal this idea, thank you!

Sherry March 12, 2019 - 4:10 pm

Can’t wait to try this. Yes I want mine to be talker like pic.

Molly @ MFCH March 12, 2019 - 4:37 pm

Hi Sherry! See my response to Dona above for tips on how to do this 🙂 Good luck! & Happy Baking! Molly

Cindy March 12, 2019 - 5:44 pm

This cake is SO beautiful. The description above said it is a lemon cake with lemon curd. Is there supposed to be lemon flavoring in the cake batter itself? I didn’t see any lemon in the ingredients listed for the cake. Thanks in advance for clarifying.

Molly @ MFCH March 12, 2019 - 7:26 pm

Thanks Cindy! Let me add that right in 🙂 I use this as a base for lots of different flavors, so it’s really easy to change the flavors. Best, Molly

Valorie March 12, 2019 - 6:25 pm

This would be perfect to make for Easter dinner. I might try it then. Just beautiful! I bought Lemon Curd this past winter from Bonne Maman, made in France, for Christmas gifts for my husband’s office; it’s very good and can be ordered on-line in the states. Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post!

Colleen Taylor March 12, 2019 - 7:46 pm

This is mouthwatering & oh so very gorgeous! A real keeper for this recipe. Thank you!

Carole J March 12, 2019 - 10:00 pm

Hi Sharon, you, Molly and your team bring so much joy, Merci Merci, this will be my next bake! So pretty!!!!

Joanne Day March 12, 2019 - 10:21 pm

Oh Gorgeous Cake Molly. That’s what I’m doing today. Merci!

Lillian Plummer March 13, 2019 - 2:24 am

The icing and decorations looks very pretty, romantic and delicious. Adore florals and lemon cake. Will give his recipe a try.

Annette March 13, 2019 - 4:14 am

Beautiful! My lemon curd is in the frig and I have my cakes in the oven baking! I have never made a cake batter like this. I am excited to see how it turns out. We have no fresh flowers at the moment though, winter just won’t let go this year! THANK YOU for the inspiration.

Molly @ MFCH March 13, 2019 - 7:56 am

Hi Annette! That’s so wonderful! Please shoot us an email and let us know how it went! 🙂 Enjoy!

Debra March 13, 2019 - 4:17 pm

Oh my goodness! This is such a beautiful cake. Can’t wait to give it a try.

barbara gatti March 14, 2019 - 1:46 pm

In genere non faccio torte così complesse …. ma questa è fantastica!!!!

Jo Acker March 15, 2019 - 12:53 am

I subscribed to your magazine. I have only been able to view the first three, four pages because the download stops and asks me to subscribe. There is no option for customer service. Can you help?

Sharon Santoni March 19, 2019 - 8:56 pm

Hi Jo, Please send us an email at and we’ll get this taken care of for you straight away. There is also an excellent chat feature on Joomag, our publishing platform. Just click the green chat icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. I hope you enjoy the latest issue of the magazine. Kind wishes, Sharon

This & That: March 15, 2019 – The Simply Luxurious Life® March 15, 2019 - 5:48 am

[…] no doubt as delicious as it is beautiful, this Citrus Cake shared on My Country Home has my mouth […]

Kathleen Hennessy June 19, 2019 - 6:51 pm

Oh my goodness….what a lovely cake. I adore citrus flavors, so will be giving this a try. Curious as to what the pretty greens are with tiny flowers? Can you tell me what that is?

Annd Borella May 1, 2020 - 3:09 am

I was so charmed by the oh so pretty cake that I made it for my Easter dinner. I made and froze the cakes. I also prepared the lemon curd and the dried lemon slices a few days ahead. Assembly was easy….I actually only used one cake; I split in half and filled with the lemon curd. Following the instructions I did a crumb layer of icing…chilled and finished the final coat of frosting. Then came the fun part….I picked a few Pansies and Nasturtiums from my garden….found a few wispy bits of greenery together with a snippet or two of fresh herbs and built my floral half wreath atop. The photo of my creation is now the screen saver on my computer! Lovely to have the reminder of my labor of love available at a glance. Oh…and the cake was delicious! I am about to make another for a friend’s 80th birthday!


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