This Zesty Lemon Cake frosted with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be filled with Lemon curd take 10 minutes to mix.

Zesty Lemon Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This light and refreshing butter-based zesty lemon cake is surprisingly easy and simple to make. Takes no more than 10 minutes to mix and 25 minutes to bake. Frosted with lemon flavored Swiss meringue buttercream and some pretty yellow ruffles. Ideal for a weeknight dessert with a lighter cream cheese frosting or can be made into a celebration cake for a birthday, anniversary or wedding with fondant and more. 
5 from 12 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cakes, Layer cake, Lemon, recipes, summer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 563kcal
Author: Veena Azmanov


For the Cake

For the Filling and Frosting



  • Preheat the oven at 160 °C / 320 °F.
  • Grease and line two 6-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Sift together - flour, baking powder, baking soda, zest, and salt.

Whip eggs

  • Break eggs in a mixer, add cream of tartar - start whipping on medium-low speed
  • Gradually add about ½ cup sugar (use approx. measure for sugar).
  • Once all sugar is in whip until light and foamy - ribbon stage.
  • Add sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice and extract
  • Remove eggs and Set aside.

Cream the batter

  • Working quickly - using the same mixer bowl (no need to wash)
  • Cream butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add flour and milk in three batches. The mixture will be dense at this stage.
  • Combine 1/3 of the whipped egg mixture vigorously so it loosens the batter.
  • FOLD the rest of the egg mixture with a spatula by hand.
  • Add orange food gel color


  • Divide batter equally into the baking pans.
  • I prefer to use baking strips to avoid a dome.
  • Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes clean
  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes invert onto a cooling rack.


  • Prepare Swiss meringue buttercream as shown in this recipe and video
  • Add lemon extract to the buttercream - combine well
  • Once cooled - cut off any dome on the cake to level them
  • Spread buttercream and sandwich the two layers
  • Crumb coats or spread a little buttercream around the cake. (this helps seal the crumbs)
  • Chill the cake if necessary for 10 to 15 minutes so the layers won't move.
  • Add yellow gel food color to the remaining buttercream
  • Put buttercream in a piping bag with a 104 or rose piping tip nozzle
  • Pipe around the cake in a zig-zag upwards motion holding the piping bag vertical against the cake.



  • The cake will stay fresh for up to four days at cool room temperature, longer if kept in the fridge.
  • It can be frozen for a month or more.


Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1.1mg