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Italian Lemon Cream Cake

Updated July 27, 2023
Italian Lemon Cream Cake
Italian Lemon Cream Cake

This beautiful Italian Lemon Cream Cake was inspired by the popular dessert from the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant. It is light, creamy, and delicious. The vanilla cake is moist and flavorful, and the homemade lemon cream filling is not only delicious, it also gives the cake a stunning layered look. This restaurant-quality dessert is sure to please any dinner guest. 

The lemon juice in the frosting gives this creamy cake a refreshing taste without being too zesty. Garnish your cake with slices of lemon to give it that restaurant-quality finishing touch. Also, you can check out the video below for tips on how to separate eggs for your cake.




  • For the Cake:
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest, divided*
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour**
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for garnish
  • Lemon slices for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have a 10-inch straight sided tube pan ready but ungreased. ***

  2. Separate eggs, setting aside the yolks, and whip the whites in an electric mixer until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and cream of tarter and continue to whip on high until the beater leaves distinct tracks and glossy, stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

  3. Combine water, vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest with the reserved egg yolks.

  4. In a large bowl, place the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir with a whisk or fork to combine well.

  5. Using an electric mixer, begin by mixing the wet ingredients until combined, then slowly add the dry ingredients with the machine running. Stop and scrape down the sides completely and continue until everything is well mixed.

  6. Using an electric mixer, begin by mixing the wet ingredients until combined, then slowly add the dry ingredients with the machine running. Stop and scrape down the sides completely and continue until everything is well mixed.

  7. Spoon batter into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately turn the cake in the pan upside down and either rest it on the pans tabs or set it on top of a bottle neck until completely cool, about an hour. ***

  8. While cake is cooling, prepare the filling: Use an electric mixer to whip the cream to firm peaks. In another bowl, whip the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest, then slowly add the powdered sugar until completely mixed. Fold together the cream cheese mixture with the whipped cream and chill 30 minutes before assembling the cake.

  9. When cake has cooled, use a table knife to run around the edges and the tube to loosen the cake, then tip it out onto a large plate. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Spread the filling between the layers and chill the cake.

  10. Before serving, top the cake with sifted powdered sugar and lemon slices.


* It is important to notice that when a recipe says “divided” it means you will use this amount in total but in more than one step. For the lemon, always remove the zest first, then squeeze and measure the juice.

** Cake Flour is a specially milled white wheat flour and is available in the baking aisle of the. Regular, all purpose flour cannot be successfully substituted for a light cake such as this one.

*** This cake requires a special pan if it is to be assembled as directed – the 10-inch straight sided tube pan is usually called “an angel food cake pan” because that was its original use. The straight sides make it easiest to re assemble after it is filled.  You could make this in a Bundt pan, but will look different and the top layer will be more likely to move when you cut it into slices.    

How to Separate an Egg:

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What a fantastic copycat recipe! This recipe is better than the Olive Garden original!

Please clarify the instructions (#5 #6 are the same). The egg whites should be folded in (not beat) but when? Please send to my email. Thanks Annie


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