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Lemon Cake from Capri

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From Capri - Lemon Cake

Continuing on with my recipes inspired from our trip to Italy is this lemon cake. While we were on Capri, I had breakfast one morning that was just a simple piece of lemon cake, a fresh orange and a cappuccino.  It was just such a perfect breakfast in a place where there were either lemon groves or orange trees everywhere you looked. I bought a nice little ceramic lemon juicer on the island and knew right then and there that I would make a lemon cake for the blog when I got back. 

my breakfast on Capri.


This is a really easy lemon cake, with no glazes and no whipping or folding.  I wanted a cake that wasn't overly sweet, so I didn't do a lemon glaze and I added a little almond flour because I like the taste.  

I always cut parchment paper circles to fit into my cake pans when I bake.  After years of hit or miss when it came to getting cakes out of their pans, I was tired of it and now I just do it every time.  It seems that no matter how well you prepare your pan, sometimes the cake just doesn't fall out very well.  If you cut a parchment paper circle, your cake comes out perfectly every time.  It's worth doing and very easy - I show you how in the photos in the post.  Make sure to brush a little butter on your pan first, so the paper sticks to the pan.  Then just brush butter all over the paper and up the sides of the pan and dust with flour.

my juicer from Capri - a fun little reminder of the island


Make sure your cake is completely cooled before adding your powdered sugar. This cake will last several days but you may have to add a little more powdered sugar on the top, if you like, each day. 

This cake is great in the morning with coffee, but it's awfully good also after dinner with a little limoncello!


Lemon Cake

for a printable recipe click here


  • about a tablespoon of butter and a little flour for dusting the cake pan
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1-1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), not unsalted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used whole, but you can use what you like)
  • 1/4 cup powdered confectioner's sugar 



Prepare your pan: Cut a parchment paper circle to fit the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Melt the tablespoon of butter and brush a little of the bottom of your pan.  Place the parchment paper on the bottom of your pan and then brush the rest of the butter all over the paper and the sides of the pan. Add a little flour and coat everything, the sides and bottom, shaking the pan til everything is well coated and then tap out the excess.  

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix the flours and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until very white and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and milk and blend. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, just until the middle is set. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  Invert cake onto wire rack, with bottom side facing up.  After cake is completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

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Reader Comments (102)

Saw where it was already asked but didn't see a response and was wondering the same thing "Can you freeze this cake". Wanting to use at our wedding this Saturday and need to know if can make couple days ahead of time freeze then let thaw out for the big day. Thanks

July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen

From The Italian Dish:

Kristina: I have never tried it with olive oil - if you do, let me know how it is!

Carmen: I have never frozen this particular cake but cakes in general freeze very well. I would think it would be just fine.

July 8, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Your recipes never disappoint. This was my hail mary dessert after my lemon icebox bars failed miserably and it came out PERFECT! Even after getting slightly distracted and mis-measuring the flour and adding in a tad more baking powder to save it. Perfect! Everyone loved it! I also made the beet chips and they were a hit. Thanks!

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn S

I'm definitely going to have to try this! I've been sticking to my own French Lemon Pie recipe which you guys can find at !

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark Bego


just read your blog. we don't have lemons that big in our country. So could u plz tell me how many tablespoons of lemon juice you put in?

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaha

Hello Elaine Have just discovered your magic site! Sorry to burden you with more " international queries" but in Australia we can't get cake flour. I was told once that a substitute is 3parts plain flour to 1part corn flour ? Also by almond flour do you mean what we call almond meal (ground almonds) Not really flour consistency but more gritty?
Thank you for the opportunity to enquire.
Happy cooking..Lois

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLois Milner

I have made the Limoncello. It is so very good. A refreshing taste after dinner for sure.
I am making the home made vanilla and next I will try the caramels.
I love the recipes and the wonderful stories.
Please more of the same!

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBetty

I found your site searching for how to make fresh pasta with my new Kitchen Aid mixer attachments. Fantastic post on that, by the way! But after that, this recipe caught my eye since I love lemon. I had some Meyer lemons in the fridge and used almond meal instead since that's what I had, and I have the most wonderful, light, moist, lemony cake in front of me right now! Not too sweet like you said, which is what I like. Thank you so much!!

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReya

My daughter made this cake for her catering test it' tastes fantastic, even after the 3rd cake!!!!! all the family have enjoyed tucking into it over the past few days. Thank you.

November 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

My daughter made this cake for her catering test it' tastes fantastic, even after the 3rd cake!!!!! all the family have enjoyed tucking into it over the past few days. Thank you.

November 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Made this at our wedding last year then vacuum sealed and froze for 1 year anniversary. Had to add more powdered sugar but the cake was still good. This cake is a wonderful so glad came across it. Looking forward to making over and over for many years to come

November 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen

Thank you for this delicious recipe!! For lemon lovers like me it`s absolute temptation! :)

Just one question - when you say "1 stick butter".. how much is this?

December 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLulu

Great recipe, pretty safe for even less skilled bakers. Lemon comes through in flavor, the cake is not too sweet at all. It will be my go to recipe for any occasion and I do appreciate the simplicity of it - refreshing due to no icing, extra creams, sugars which are so overwhelmingly present in baking nowadays. Curdling upon addition of lemon and milk is a very natural process, which you will see also in other Italian dishes calling for lemon/dairy combinations, so make sure you don't mistake it for cake gone wrong. Thanks to the author, this is an awesome cake!!!

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMB

made the lemon cake and it tastes a bit like flour. What did I do wrong. Did it need to be sifted? Also the powdered sugar,, is that only for the dusting or does also get added into the butter with the regular sugar?

February 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersuzanne

I've had my eye on this cake since you posted it and finally got around to tryng it. My only question is, why did I wait so long?! I couldn't even wait for it to cool before cutting myself a piece. It's delicious - simple with a very nice, distinct tartness. Tomorrow it will taste even better I'l wager. It seems that the key to it's success is not overbaking. Many thanks!

March 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Well, this was just perfect. Thank you VERY much.

May 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Gosh think this wifi replace as my fav cake nigellas clementine cake!, however please please wld u tell me in metric or imperial, what the measurements wld be. If poss. Thank you. I will then write it down and keep forever !, I Hve tried looking at conversion sites, but they actually vary!, I am sorry to be dim. Thank you

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Wonderful cake!! I made it yesterday in an 8" springform pan because I wanted a taller cake; baked it longer and it is perfect!
I also used some of King Arthur Flours' Fiori de Sicilia' instead of the vanilla, it is an intense vanilla and orange flavoring that I love.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDolores

I was hoping that someone out there might have taken pity on my inability to work out the recipe in metric, or even ounces!!! But clearly no one knows! Maybe I just go for the middle of the road conversion site .... Can't believe they vary so much! I just need a baker who has scales and cups!!! I am desp to make this lovely lemon cake and am afraid to spoil it with incorrect measuring. I have read in previous posts that a stick of butter is equal to 4 Oz so that's a start!!! Sorry to ask again, xx

June 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Measurements for Maggie - Hope this helps! Nancy

1/4 cup almond flour = 25 grams
1 1/4 cup cake flour = 162.5 g
1 tsp. baking powder = 4 g
1/2 cup butter - 113 g
3/4 cup sugar = 150 g
1 tsp. vanilla = 4 g
1/4 cup milk = 60 g
1/4 cup confectioners sugar = 28.5 g

June 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNancy in NJ

I followed the recipe and made a beautiful cake. Had to use a spatula to move my batter into the springform pan. Don't know If I should have blended the mixture longer? Took 19 minutes in my oven. Suggest you rotate the pan in the oven to avoid uneven heat. The recipe lacks times and measures for the blending processes (whip until..) and the lemon juice.

Will make again.

Luke (7/25/2015)

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Just wondering if I can use less sugar to make the cake?

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Made the cake and it turned out well but the batter curdled after I added the milk (I added it last of the wet ingredients). Should we be puttng the ingredients in a different order?

January 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMP

From The Italian Dish:

MP: don't worry about the curdling - that's a reaction of the milk from the lemon! Not to worry.

January 9, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Thank you very much Nancy for the conversion. I do apologise for not thanking you before .....I actually gave up on the recipe I am afraid to say, I have had disasters with my conversions. I will try again, because every one else loves it, and it does look sooooo delicious.

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Do you think I would be able to make this with all Almond flour? I am gluten/grain free.

February 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

Just made this cake -- the batter was very thick. Definitely not pourable. Can you tell me how thick the batter should be -- maybe my lemon wasn't juicy enough . . . I added more milk to the batter. Haven't cut into it yet, but can you comment on consistency prior to cooking. Many thanks.

March 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Mc

I made your Capri Lemon Cake today. It's delicious and moist, but very dense. Should it be? I used a large lemon and am wondering if there was too much lemon juice in the batter. I would like to make this for company in the near future. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

November 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary Ann

Since I live in Northern California and have a lemon tree that never, ever stops fruiting, I'm always looking for good lemon recipes, and this looks wonderful!!!

A question though: my lemons are Improved Meyers, which means they're huge and juicy, but have a very subtle lemon taste. So... would the juice of one be a) too much liquid, and b) not enough lemony taste? Could I substitute some of the milk (or an egg) with lemon juice?

December 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

From The Italian Dish:

MaryAnn: yes, the cake is pretty dense - it's not that you had too much juice in it. If you want a less dense cake, you might try to add a little more milk.

Joan: I'm not sure about substituting some milk with the lemon juice - it might not be as rich tasting. Maybe use the same amount of juice but add more zest for a more lemony taste, if your lemons are not "lemony" enough.

December 14, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, This is the third time I've made your delicious Capri Lemon Cake. Everyone who has tasted the cake raves about it.

As directed, when the cake (still in the pan) has cooled, I place a wire cooling rack on top of the cake, flip it over, and remove the parchment paper. Then I place a cake plate on top of the cake, holding the cooling rack from the bottom I flip the whole thing over. Here's my problem. When I want to dust a cake with powdered sugar, I place wax paper strips slightly under the cake all around the edge of the cake dish. Once I've dusted the cake, I gently slide the wax paper strips out from under the cake leaving a clean plate. Each time I've dusted the lemon cake, it breaks when I attempt to slide the wax paper out from under the cake. Any suggestions to keep the cake from breaking??

December 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary Ann

Can I make this with all almond flour. I am gluten free and keto.

December 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

I am making this now and realized there isn't any rising agent... is that ok?!?!

January 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

From The Italian Dish:

Sharon: There is baking powder in the recipe. Hope this helps.

January 14, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Couldn't I use unsalted butter. It is all I ever use. How would it affect it?

February 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

mmmm made the cake this morning using the amounts that Nancy posted for me ( am in the UK) ... it was delicious ..... but am wondering if it is only meant to be abt 1" (one inch) high? mine did not rise very much ..... if anything ... I made it in a 23cm (9") tin. Also , the flour ..... I used what we call plain flour ( no raising agent in it) but followed recipe and put In 1 teaspoon baking powder .... should I have used Self Raising flour do you think ?? anyway, I heaped on the icing sugar and even had a squirt of cream with it!!!! my elevenses !! Thank you very much.

February 25, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

From The Italian Dish:

Maggie: Yes, this cake is dense and it's not a cake that rises a lot - if you look at the photo of it cooling on the rack, you can tell it's only about an inch thick. The almond flour prevents the cake from rising a lot. But it adds to the flavor. No need to use self raising flour!

February 26, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, thank you so much for replying. I am going to make it again tomorrow. Heavenly .... xx

March 27, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Can I substitute regular flour for cake flour? What is the difference between cake flour and regular flour?


July 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

From The Italian Dish:

Joan: You don't have to use cake flour if you don't want to. Cake flour is a finely milled flour that is lower in protein than regular AP flour. So, it makes a more tender cake. You can use regular flour but omit about 2 Tablespoons per cup. You can also, if you want, add a little cornstarch - about 2 Tablespoons per cup - to the flour (mix well or sift thoroughly). The cornstarch inhibits the gluten in the regular AP flour, mimicking the cake flour. Hope this helps!

July 4, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Just made your lemon cake last night. Delicious! Am not much of a baker, but this recipe gave me hope! I added a tsp. of lemon extract and a tsp. of almond extract. I love your site and recipes and am making the "pulled pork" today! I'm making another "Capri" cake to further my baking skills and impress my neighbors!
Two recipes down, 200 to go!! Not bad for a widower of 5 years! Happy summer!
Thank You!!

August 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

From The Italian Dish:

Thanks, Craig! You made my day! Keep cooking!

August 28, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

i just got back from Italy *Lucca* and was pining for anything lemony. this is really hands down - one of THE best cakes i've ever had. i followed it to the T and my family absolutely adored it. it completely transported me back to a place where i can only dream to live. thank you for sharing your culinary genius! BACI!~

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa~

I had lemons without the zest leftover after making: Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk (which I HIGHLY recommend). I swore I would use them up somehow this time. So with some dried minced lemon peel from Savory Spice I whipped up this cake. It is melt in your mouth amazing!!! I didn't have almond flour so I just used all cake flour. WOW! My cake baking confidence was at an all time low, but this has me believing that it's all in whipping the batter good after the egg addition. Make this you won't regret it!

October 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

What would cause "craters" to form on the top of my inverted cake?

March 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

I've baked this a several times and we all love it. I especially like the addition of the almond flour. So good. But I've been wondering and wondering about those gorgeous plates! Where did you get them or what is the maker/pattern. I just love them, nearly as much as the cake. ;)


September 23, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeejay

From The Italian Dish:

Beejay: Ha ha! Those plates are actually plastic plates that I bought to use outdoors in the summertime on our patio. I love them. They are from "Zak! Designs" in Washington state. They still sell dinnerware, including plastic dinnerware, but probably not that particular design. Go to their website and see if there is anything you like. Hope this helps.

September 23, 2018 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I was asked to make a lemon cake that is intense lemon flavor and moist. I read through all the comments and did not see anything about the intensity or moistness. Will you please confirm if this cake covers both requests?

October 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Found your blog by searching for salt-crusted fish and stumbled across this cake. Made it tonight exactly according to the directions. Simple but outstanding. One of the better cakes I've had. Thank you for the recipe!

January 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJames

What would cause cracks in the center of my cake, Elaine. It’s really delicious though!

January 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

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