Lemon Magic Cake

Lemon Magic Cake – one simple batter that turns into a 3 layer cake. Simply magical. The popular magic cake now in lemon flavor.


 You my friends asked for it, so here it is.

Lemon Magic Cake!

Another great flavor to add to my collection of magic cake recipes. I’m still trying to decide which one is my favorite. Right now I think there is a tie between this lemon version and the chocolate version. I might choose this one because I really love lemon flavored cakes. Don’t get me wrong, I also love my chocolate, but there’s just something refreshing about this lemon magic cake.

Maybe because it’s summer.  I’m glad I tried this because this cake is very special, it’s so light and delicate, truly delicious and one of my favorite cakes of all time. Maybe not a cake in the traditional meaning of the word cake but truly a fabulous dessert.


So many of you have written to me and asked how to make a lemon version that I just couldn’t resist. Many of you have also asked for different flavors as well, such as a coffee version or a peanut butter version. Maybe I’ll try those too sometime, but for now let’s enjoy this lemon magic cake.

Every time I make this cake I try and think of all your questions. One common question is regarding the egg whites and how to fold them in. When you add the egg whites to the batter, don’t fold the egg whites in completely so that it’s a smooth batter. You need to leave those white bits in there. I just removed the whisk from the mixer and used that to fold in the egg whites for about 10 seconds. Also the baking time probably has a lot to do with how the layers turn out. I baked this lemon cake for exactly 70 minutes and as you can see after 70 minutes it’s still not totally golden brown on top, but I touched the top and it seemed firm enough. That’s how you know when it’s done. Make sure it’s firm to the touch, and not jiggly. If it’s jiggly it’s not cooked completely.


Many of you have also asked regarding the baking time. Some people have said that after  40 or 45 minutes the cake is done, so I really believe that each oven is different. My oven is about 4 years old and it takes 70 minutes. I used to have an older oven and it still took 70 minutes, so I can’t really speak to the cake being done after 45 minutes.

The important thing to remember is that the cake needs to be a bit golden on top and firm to the touch. Also I have made it once in a bigger pan other than the 8×8 inch square pan and it did not turn into 3 layers, so I believe that if the batter is not high enough there won’t be enough batter to turn into the 3 layers. So if you choose to make this in a 9×13 inch pan, I strongly suggest to double the ingredients.

Another thing that I did different this time is instead of just spraying cooking spray or buttering the baking dish, I lined it with parchment paper, leaving extra on the sides so that it’s easy to just lift it up. This way there is no confusion as how to take the cake out.


4.8 from 9 reviews
Lemon Magic Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 9
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks from whites) at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 125 g (1 stick or ½ cup) butter, melted
  • 115 g (4 oz or ¾ cup) of all purpose flour
  • 1¾ cup milk lukewarm
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • powdered sugar for dusting cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and mix until egg whites are stiff. Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light. Add butter and vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or two after which you can add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.
  4. Add lemon juice and lemon zest then slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together. Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula or a whisk, repeat until all egg whites are folded in, but there should still be white bits of egg whites floating in the batter.
  5. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 40 to 70 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the cake is firm to the touch. The baking time could vary greatly depending on the oven, so take a peek at around 40 minutes and see how it looks.
  6. Sprinkle some powdered sugar after cake has cooled.


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  1. Camille Elvin says

    OMG!! I love your site!!! I only learned about it 3 weeks ago and I’m on here daily. I baked my first magic cake (lemon of course) yesterday and it came out perfectly. So good my husband and I almost ate the whole thing in one sitting. Surprisingly mine baked in about 35 mins, maybe because I have a convection oven. I actually did 3 other recipes as well yesterday (Family Day, I had time on my hands) your Asian glazed baked chicken strips YUM, Chicken with sweet potatoes, kale and corn YUM YUM and your parmesan and lemon roasted broccoli YUM YUM YUM (I will never cook broccoli any other way!!!). Next weekend it’s your Cinnabon cinnamon buns. Love the site Jo!!

    • says

      Wow Camille! Thank you so much, you made my day! I’m so glad you love my recipes. That’s quite a bit of cooking you did yesterday, that’s awesome. You’ll love Cinnabon buns, a favorite here. :)

  2. Connie says

    Pretty good. Not “lemony” enough for me but that’s me. Only had 2 layers and I baked it for 55 minutes. Think it should gone a bit longer. I have a well insulted oven and I use an oven thermometer. Also I weighed my ingredients because you list both 150g and 115g as 3/4 cup. I’m going to try it again because I love lemon desserts and this has good possibilities.

    • Joy Elsey says

      I have not tried this recipe yet however the reason I am responding to you is to say I have found an amazing new Gluten free flour. It is from Bob’s Red Mill and it is called
      1 to 1 Baking flour.
      For what ever the amount of regular flour in the recipe calls for you use the equal amount of the 1 to 1 flour. I have tried it in several recipes and so far it works better than any other Gluten free flour I have tried or made a mixture of. It in my mind is an outstanding blend of flour in place of wheat flour. For me the best part is there is nothing to add to this flour. I am trying this recipe over the weekend with the 1 to 1. Will follow up with you and let you know the results.

  3. Toni says

    Just made it today. Fabulous recipe. I couldn’t wait until it fully cooled. Next time I will try. Can’t promise anything.

  4. Wardah says

    Tried this cake today and it was just marvelous! I got the 3 distinct layers. It was so refreshing! I also tried a chocolate version of the cake but the lemon one is my fav one!

  5. Bruna says

    Me again! Just tried the chocolate version, OMG smells amazing while it’s baking. And guess what? Three layers!! Yes, I think I overcooked the first lemon one which came out with a lot more sponge topping that custard, and I think I overbeat the egg yolks the first time. Incredible recipe, will be making this regularly, thank you!!

  6. Bruna says

    Hi, many thanks for the recipe. I tried the lemon magic cake recipe today. I used an 8 inch x 8 inch pan as suggested, the batter almost filled it in fact. It cooked well, static oven 325°F for 65 minutes, until very golden and level with the cake tin. Attractive small cracks on the surface, very pleased with it. I allowed it to cool, then refrigerated for four hours. When I cut the cake, I discovered that I had a deep top layer of light sponge, and a thin bottom layer of custard cream. It was very nice, but I’m wondering why only two layers and why was the sponge so thick? It was the opposite of your ;). Could I have perhaps over cooked it? Here’s a link to a photosharing site so you can see it. I will be making this again, I loved it.

    • says

      Hi Bruna, Sorry I can’t see your picture, the link just took me to a page to upload pictures. I would recommend looking at the step by step pictures for the Butterscotch magic cake and see maybe where you might have gone wrong. It could be a number of things. Unfortunately as I’m not with you in the kitchen as you make this I cannot always tell you directly what you did wrong. But I hope you look at the step by step photos there and see if that helps you at all. :)

  7. peter says

    made this cake with vanilla extract this is delicious and exceptional thanks for the recipe will make this cake many times

  8. says

    How long would his cake last (assuming no one eats it! lol) I’m having company tomorrow and day after – wondering if I can make a double size and save half for second day. Or would it get stale?

    Thanks for any advice! :-)

    • says

      I’ve kept mine in the fridge for about 3 days, granted it’s not as good as on the first day, but it’s not bad. Again, it’s best served on the day of.

      • says

        Thanks for the quick reply! Maybe I will make one for tomorrow and then another for Sunday. Guests over each day #WhatWasIThinking lol

        Thanks again!

  9. Shannon says

    I made this last night for a family get together. I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out EXACTLY like the pics. It was delicious and definitely will make again. I baked at the 325 for the first 20 minutes and then turned oven down to 300 since it looked like it was baking quickly. It still only took the 45 minutes that others have noted. To me, it is only 2 layers. The cake layer on top and the custard/pudding layer on bottom. Wonderful texture and flavor. The lemon flavor was light and not very tangy. I would prefer a little more lemon flavor and tang. It would be wonderful as is but adding fresh blueberries on top to accent. Would like to try the original vanilla flavor and sprinkle with fresh fruit when serving. I also did as suggested and used an overlapping sheet of parchment for easy removal and it worked perfectly. Can’t figure out how to post a pic or I would.

  10. says

    Made this gluten free by using 50 grams almond flour and 65 grams tapioca flour and it was delicious! Perfect amount of lemon-y tang and such a nice texture! It got rave reviews. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. Theresa says

    This looks delicious. I was wondering if you can substitute almond milk or rice milk for the milk…or has anyone done this and how did it turn out? :)

    • Jo Gencarelli says

      Hi Jo,
      I’ve made the Vanilla version of this cake. It was super delicious :)
      I’m ready to make the lemon version I have a question. Can I use buttermilk
      instead of whole milk?


      Jo G.

      • says

        Oh dear, I have no idea, never tried, and I really am not sure how it’s going to work out. I have a feeling it might not separate into the 3 layers though and it might give you a different taste too.

  12. Louise w says

    Can’t wait to try this as I love the custard one. It has become my “go to” quick and easy cake. Lemon sounds so refreshing this time of year.

  13. says

    Hi there, found your recipe on Pinterest… I’ve made the vanilla version, but this lemon one sounds quite exquisite! With a bounty of lemons growing in my pots, I’m going to try this! Thank you for the recipe.

  14. Arlene says

    Thanks for the recipe and all the tips! Your attention to the details is appreciated. I would not mind if there are only two layers..as I have made a similar recipe for some years now..with two layers result. I serve it more like a pudding in a shallow dessert dish.. which suits me fine. But will give your recipe and tips a go..sure to love it. Love all your recipes…Thanks!

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