Limoncello Cake

This limoncello cake is a celebration of citrusy sunshine and a delightful way to indulge your sweet tooth!  Made with limoncello, fresh lemon zest, and lemon extract along with a limoncello glaze, this cake gets FOUR doses of lemon flavor because, really, can you have too much lemon?  Bake it in a beautiful Bundt mold, turn it into a layer cake or sheet cake, or bake it into cupcakes, it’s perfect for any occasion!

For more fruity cakes be sure to try our Pineapple Cake, French Almond Plum Cake, Caramel Pear Walnut Cake, and German Apple Cake!

limoncello cake recipe lemon liqueur Italian Amalfi Coast Italy dessert Bundt muffins layer

Sunshine on a plate!  That’s what this limoncello cake is.  It’s a celebration of summer in its purest, sweetest form.  And the best part of all?  It can be enjoyed ANY time of the year!  This cake is light and moist and is triple infused with lemon flavor from a generous dose of limoncello, fresh lemon zest, and a hint of lemon extract.  The glaze is likewise made with limoncello for some additional citrusy magic.  This limoncello cake is perfect for any number of occasions whether springtime get togethers, warm summer gatherings, elegant celebrations, or an afternoon tea party.   The cake can be made in variety of cake molds to suit the occasion and can also be made in cupcake form.

Last year our family took a trip to southern Italy.  On our way down from Rome to Sicily we took some time to explore the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.  And of course part of that exploration involved sampling the local cuisine, including an array of lemon-flavored desserts.  After all, the Amalfi Coast is renowned for its lemons.  The lemons are grown in terraced gardens along the coastline and many of them are used in the production of the region’s most famous speciality: limoncello, a sweet lemon liqueur.  As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t bring the lemons back with me, but I did bring back a few bottles of limoncello.  And the first thing I when I got back was make a limoncello cake!

Amalfi Coast Italy Daring Gourmet

Limoncello Cake Ingredients

This limoncello cake not one, not two, but FOUR doses of lemon flavor!  Limoncello, lemon zest, and pure lemon extract are all included along with a limoncello glaze to make this cake a true celebration of lemon flavor!

This limoncello cake is also made with a generous amount of sour cream and that’s for two reasons: 1) it makes the crumb ultra moist and tender and 2) it adds a delightful touch tanginess that heightens the lemon flavor and balances the sugar.  You can use yogurt instead but the sour cream is especially nice in this cake.  I’m also using coconut oil which likewise contributes to the moistness of the cake and adds very subtle touch of tropical flavor.

limoncello cake recipe lemon liqueur Italian Amalfi Coast Italy dessert Bundt muffins layer


This limoncello cake is a versatile canvas for creativity.  Here are just a few variations you can experiment with:

  • Layered Cake: alternate between lemon cake layers and luscious lemon curd and mascarpone filling.  Then drizzle the cake with the limoncello glaze or make a limoncello buttercream (cream together 6 tablespoons of softened butter with 2 cups of powdered sugar then add 2 tablespoons limoncello and 2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and beat until smooth and fluffy).
  • Sheet Cake:  bake the cake in a 13×9 inch pan and spread it with the limoncello glaze (double the recipe) or limoncello buttercream (see above).  Use your piping skills to make it beautiful.
  • Fruity: liven things up with the addition of fresh berries (e.g., raspberries, blueberries, strawberries).  These can be put in place before the glaze dries or nestled into dollops of limoncello buttercream, or placed on the inner layer of the layered cake along with the lemon curd and mascarpone filling or buttercream.
  • Bundt Molds: there are a number of gorgeous Bundt molds available that make for a striking presentation and eliminate the need for fancy decorations.

Can I Make Limoncello Muffins?

You sure can!  This limoncello cake recipe gives you the flexibility of baking it in Bundt pan, in a 13×9 inch pan, or as individual cupcakes.  To make limoncello cupcakes divide the batter between 12 muffin tins and reduce the baking time to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool and drizzle the limoncello glaze over them.

limoncello cake recipe lemon liqueur Italian Amalfi Coast Italy dessert Bundt muffins layer

Limoncello Cake Recipe

Let’s get started!

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cornstarch.

In a separate larger bowl add the sour cream, eggs, sugar and coconut oil and beat until combined.

combining dry and wet ingredients

Add the limoncello, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until combined.  Do not over-mix.

combining wet and dry ingredients

Lightly spray your Bundt pan with oil, making sure to get the oil into any creases.  I’m using this Nordic Ware Bundt Pan.  I have also made this cake in their Bundlette pan which makes identical but smaller, individual cakes that are absolutely adorable.

Spoon the batter into your Bundt pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

limoncello cake recipe italian lemon liquor bundt pan

Let the cake sit for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack.  Let it cool completely.

While the cake is cooling make the glaze:  Beat 1 cup powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons limoncello until smooth.  Once the cake is fully cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cake and let sit until the glaze is set.

Will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Can be frozen for up to 2 months.

limoncello cake recipe italian lemon liquor bundt pan glaze

Slice and serve.


limoncello cake recipe lemon liqueur Italian Amalfi Coast Italy dessert Bundt muffins layer

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