Creamy and tart, lemon cake filling takes minutes to make. Brighten cakes and desserts with sunny homemade lemon custard.
Why you’ll love it: Making your own lemon cake filling is easy and it tastes so much better than canned lemon filling. The lemon custard makes a great dessert on its own, too.
How long it takes: 20 minutes to make, 1 hour to chill
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan, bowl, lemon zester and juicer
Servings: makes 1 ¼ cups
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 Why You’ll Love this lemon cake filling
- 3 How do you make lemon filling from scratch?
- 4 What’s the difference between lemon filling and lemon curd?
- 5 How to use lemon Cake filling
- 6 What flavors of cake go well with lemon cake filling?
- 7 Storage Tips
- 8 More Lemon Recipes
- 9 Get the Recipe: Lemon Cake Filling
Do you love the tartness of lemon and the creaminess of pudding? Do you enjoy bright and light desserts? Well, who doesn’t, right? Lemon cake filling, made from scratch in your own kitchen, will be appreciated by everyone. It’s versatile enough to use in a lot of different desserts or to serve in a dessert bowl, without any embellishment.
Why You’ll Love this lemon cake filling
- It’s easy to make. While making lemon cake filling yourself may seem daunting, it’s really not difficult at all. You’ll be able to make this custard-like filling in 15 minutes. You won’t need any special equipment and you won’t need to learn any fancy cooking techniques.
- It’s yummy! Lemon filling is so good, you’ll want to leave a fair amount of it in the pan for the cook’s enjoyment. Hey, I’m talking about you! Don’t deny the urge to sample what the pan has to offer. That’s your bonus.
How do you make lemon filling from scratch?
Lemon cake filling is a one-pan recipe. You’ll need a small saucepan and a whisk. Choose a silicone whisk if you’re using a nonstick saucepan.
The ingredients are basic:
- lemon juice
- egg yolk
Mix the dry ingredients in the pan and blend in the egg yolks. The mixture will be thick and kind of lumpy. Whisk in the water. This should smooth out the egg mixture.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. It’s important to stir the whole time!
Stir in the butter and lemon juice, adding a bit of lemon zest, too, and you’re done! It’s so easy.
What’s the difference between lemon filling and lemon curd?
Lemon filling or custard is usually thickened with cornstarch and can be cooked in a regular saucepan. Lemon curd is richer, with more egg yolks and lots of butter, no water or cornstarch, and is usually made in a double boiler. They can be used pretty interchangeably.
How to use lemon Cake filling
- Fill a layer cake.
- Serve it in a bowl with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Make lemon custard tarts with pre-baked pastry shells or mini phyllo cups.
- Layer it in a trifle with angel food cake or pound cake, with sliced fresh strawberries or blackberries.
- Fill cupcakes. Make your cupcakes extra special with a hidden jewel of lemon filling.
What flavors of cake go well with lemon cake filling?
Lemon cake filling goes well with white cake (try my white cake with lemon filling and lemon cream cheese frosting!), yellow cake, or lemon cake. Try it layered in a trifle with pound cake, angel food cake, or lady fingers.
Lemon cake filling will keep in the fridge up to a week, tightly covered.
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 egg yolks
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Have all your ingredients ready before you begin. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan. Add egg yolks and mix until egg yolks are completely mixed with dry ingredients. Whisk in water until mixture is smooth.
- Cook over medium low heat until just boiling. Mixture will be quite thick. Immediately remove from heat and stir in butter. Gradually whisk in lemon juice until smooth. Stir in zest.
- Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Makes 1 ¼ cups.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.