My Limoncello Lemon Cake is irresistibly citrusy made with Limoncello liqueur in the cake batter and the glaze. It’s a great addition to your morning routine between sips of coffee.
Lemon lovers rejoice
Nothing puts more pep in my step than starting the day off with a slice of lemon cake. Especially when that cake is spiked with a bit of Limoncello! But don’t worry, with just a few splashes of this liqueur you’re getting much more flavor than buzz.
I don’t know what it is about a good lemon loaf or cake! Whenever I see something like this at a cafe, even if I’m not all that hungry, you better believe I’ll be ordering a slice with my coffee. The sweetness of that glaze paired with the big bright and acidic lemon flavor just gets me every time.
What is Limoncello?
This popular Italian lemon liqueur is made from lemon peels steeped in a spirit, usually grappa or vodka, then mixed with simple syrup. It’s a super easy process that can be replicated at home!
The result is a vibrant yellow, super lemony, and sweet liqueur. The alcohol percentage of Limoncello sits around 30%, so when used in small amounts like this recipe, anyone can enjoy it.
Beyond the Limoncello, what we have here is a pretty standard cake recipe! Keep scrolling down to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts and instructions, or click the Jump To Recipe button at the top.
- Sour cream – Plain greek yogurt will work instead.
- Eggs – I used large eggs for this recipe.
- Sugar – Granulated. If you want to use something like honey or agave, cut the amount in half.
- Vegetable oil – You can use melted butter or applesauce instead.
- Limoncello – Want to go alcohol-free? Fresh lemon juice will work too.
- Lemon zest – This is a must! don’t skip the lemon zest. It makes such a big difference for the strong lemon flavor of this cake.
- Flour – I used all-purpose flour. If you use cake flour, use an extra 1/4 cup.
- Baking powder and baking soda – If you’re going to use one or the other, you can just use baking powder.
- Salt – Use as much or as little as you want.
- Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioner’s or icing sugar.
How to make Limoncello lemon cake
- Mix the wet ingredients: Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a bundt pan generously with cooking spray. Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, Limoncello, and lemon zest until everything is well incorporated.
- Mix the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Don’t over-mix.
- Bake the cake: Pour the batter into your prepared bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth out the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Make the glaze: While the cake is cooling, mix the powdered sugar and Limoncello well until the glaze is smooth. Let the cake cool fully before drizzling the glaze over the cake. Sprinkle the cake with the lemon zest, slice, and enjoy!
How do I know when my cake is done?
If you’re unsure your cake is fully cooked through, insert a toothpick of thin skewer into the thickest part of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is all done.
Still a bit of batter on the toothpick? Let the cake cook for 5 minute intervals, doing the toothpick test in between on different spots of the cake, until the toothpick comes out clean.
This is a very freezer-friendly recipe. You can transfer the cake, once fully cooled, to a large airtight container or freezer bag. This cake will last 4-6 months frozen.
The best method, in my opinion, is to slice the cake up into individual servings and wrap them each well with plastic wrap before putting them in a container or freezer bagThis way you can take pieces out as you need them! No need to thaw a whole cake just to satisfy your sweet tooth for one piece.
You can leave your cake at room temperature for 2 days either on a cake plate with a dome, an airtight container, or a large sealable bag. If you need it to last a bit longer, you can keep it in the fridge for a week.
Seal your cake well wherever you store it to avoid having it dry out. If you keep it in the fridge, I would let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to let it soften up a bit before serving.
Looking for more lemony sweets? Try these!
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Easy Lemon Curd
- Lemon Magic Cake
- Lemon Buttermilk Scones
- The Best Lemon Bars
- Lemon Yogurt Cake
- Old Fashioned Lemon Bread
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Lemon Orange Cake
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
Limoncello Lemon Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking or baking spray.
- To the bowl of your mixer add sour cream, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, Limoncello and lemon zest. Mix on medium until well incorporated.
- In another bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix for about a minute until all the flour is incorporated, do not overmix.
- Pour the cake batter in the prepared bundt pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. To test for doneness insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean it’s done.
- Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack and let it cool completely.
- Add the ingredients for the glaze to a small bowl and whisk. Add more powdered sugar or Limoncello until smooth. Drizzle Limoncello icing over cake and garnish with lemon zest.
- What is a good limoncello substitute: Unfortunately there really isn’t a great substitute. You could try using a little lemon extract or lemon juice but you will not get the sweetness like you would from limoncello.
- Nutrition: Nutritional information is per slice, assuming 16 slices per cake. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.