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From Capri - Lemon Cake

Continuing on with my recipes inspired from our trip to Italy is this lemon cake. While we were on Capri, I had breakfast one morning that was just a simple piece of lemon cake, a fresh orange and a cappuccino.  It was just such a perfect breakfast in a place where there were either lemon groves or orange trees everywhere you looked. I bought a nice little ceramic lemon juicer on the island and knew right then and there that I would make a lemon cake for the blog when I got back. 

my breakfast on Capri.


This is a really easy lemon cake, with no glazes and no whipping or folding.  I wanted a cake that wasn't overly sweet, so I didn't do a lemon glaze and I added a little almond flour because I like the taste.  

I always cut parchment paper circles to fit into my cake pans when I bake.  After years of hit or miss when it came to getting cakes out of their pans, I was tired of it and now I just do it every time.  It seems that no matter how well you prepare your pan, sometimes the cake just doesn't fall out very well.  If you cut a parchment paper circle, your cake comes out perfectly every time.  It's worth doing and very easy - I show you how in the photos in the post.  Make sure to brush a little butter on your pan first, so the paper sticks to the pan.  Then just brush butter all over the paper and up the sides of the pan and dust with flour.

my juicer from Capri - a fun little reminder of the island


Make sure your cake is completely cooled before adding your powdered sugar. This cake will last several days but you may have to add a little more powdered sugar on the top, if you like, each day. 

This cake is great in the morning with coffee, but it's awfully good also after dinner with a little limoncello!


Lemon Cake

for a printable recipe click here


  • about a tablespoon of butter and a little flour for dusting the cake pan
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1-1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), not unsalted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used whole, but you can use what you like)
  • 1/4 cup powdered confectioner's sugar 



Prepare your pan: Cut a parchment paper circle to fit the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Melt the tablespoon of butter and brush a little of the bottom of your pan.  Place the parchment paper on the bottom of your pan and then brush the rest of the butter all over the paper and the sides of the pan. Add a little flour and coat everything, the sides and bottom, shaking the pan til everything is well coated and then tap out the excess.  

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix the flours and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until very white and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and milk and blend. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, just until the middle is set. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  Invert cake onto wire rack, with bottom side facing up.  After cake is completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

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Reader Comments (108)

Good Morning Elaine, I would love this for my breakfast right now!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Thanks for the great tip for cutting parchment circles to fit the pan! So much easier than my trace and cut method. I can't wait to make this cake!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Great idea of the almond flour both for texture and flavor.
Love the juicer and those beautiful eggs!
Thanks for the recipe

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

This looks as wonderful as all your other recipes. Will try very soon. Is the flour folded in by hand or with the mixer? Couldn't find in the instructions. My husband LOVES your Nutella Bread. Thanks for sharing. Angela

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

This looks lovely! We just returned from the Amalfi Coast where we saw trees dripping with tons of lemons as well. I wanted to bring back a whole suitcase of lemons, instead I brought back wine and limoncello. However, this a recipe I will save to remind me of my Italian trip too! Thanks!

You had me at Lemon.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTania

Anything with lemon immediately catches my attention - this looks like the perfect lemon cake-can't wait to try it...thanks!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaney

My husband and I were married in Amalfi in 2010, and we had lemon cake for our wedding dessert. Perfect for breakfast, perfect as a light dessert after a heavy Italian dinner!

This brings back so many memories, I think I'll try this recipe for our upcoming second anniversary. Thanks!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarguerite

I was just thinking I needed to get a juicer of some sort - I usually just use a fork to help me do it, but recently found myself with two bags of lemons and limes and that's too much work. After seeing your cute juicer I want to wait to get one the next time I'm in Italy! And BTW, that sounds like the best breakfast in the best location!

Ohhhhhh Capri! The beautiful times I spent at my Uncle's second home in AnaCapri--thank you for posting such wonderful sentiments and beautiful foods of this blessed place. You do such a terrific job in your blog that we can FEEL you. When asked my favorite place on earth? My bella Napoli and boating to Possitano and then a certain beachfront in Capri--peace, happiness, love of family--the BEST! Maybe this helped our 40 year marriage, too! Thank you. Thank you for loving what I love! And those lemons--of course, Sorrento also takes them to great heights as well.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

sounds really delicious....will have to give it a try.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusanna

Thank you for this, can we just assume that the flour mix is added after the milk, zest, etc. It doesn't say but common sense tells me that's when you added it. I'm not much of a cake baker, but want to try this one.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeff

Pre cut parchment rounds are available, to save a little work. Check your cooking supply stores, or can be ordered. Try
Wonderful website and recipes! Fun to see your beautiful pictures and hear about your travels.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCristina

Dumb question: Do you buy the almond flour or is it just ground almonds? I LOVE LEMON ANYTHING!!!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna O.

It sounds terrific and I would like to try it. But what is a 'stick of butter'? We weigh in grams.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobynW

From The Italian Dish:

Oops! A little proofreader fail. Yes, add the flour mixture right after the milk.

Marguerite: How lucky are you to have been married on Capri?

Cristina: I've seen those - they look great!

Donna - Good question - I buy almond flour, which is just very finely ground almonds. You can grind almonds and make your own, but I just buy Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour and store it in the fridge.

Robyn: I googled that and a stick of butter is 113.5 grams.

May 8, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I do believe this yummy cake is in my future. LOVE that adorable lemon squeezer you found there.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

Hello! I am currently in Sorrento and was delighted to see this recipe as my husband and I are enjoying this wonderful lemon cake for our breakfast. Thank you for bringing our vacation recipe back home to East Lansing. This will definitely be my first treat to bake following your recioe and guidance. It is fabulous and yes, I wish I could bring home my suitcase filed with lemons, oranges and limoncelllo. Ciao'

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Hi i am just wondering if this can be frozen please?

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzanney69

Hi, I'm happy to discover your lovely blog! I can't resist lemon cake and yours looks stunning (and perfect for Mother's Day!). Love your tip on cutting parchment, too.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Unfortunately, I am allergic to almonds, so I am wondering
what I can substitute. Thanks. Love your recipes and tips!

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLavern

I love lemon lemon tarts/cakes! This sounds like such a delightful recipe and I will soon be trying it.

Perhaps your reader above could use rice flour instead of almond flour.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

From The Italian Dish:

Lavern: No problem - just make the cake without it, substituting just plain flour.

May 9, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I love this cake. In fact I can almost taste it and like that it's not too sweet which makes it perfect for breakfast.

I was in Capri about 5 years ago. There couldn't be a better place to have anything lemon there. Sure wish I was back. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will be sure to save it to my ZipList

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Bensinger

Perfect. Will eat this under our lemon groves for breakfast.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRosa

@Lavern, since the almonds are only 1/4 cup of the recipe, just use 1/4 cup extra of cake or AP flour and you should be OK. Almond flour will not absorb moisture like wheat flour, so if you find your batter is too thin (like pancake or crepe batter), add a small amount of flour, about 1T at a time, until you have the right cake batter consistency.

Elaine, I pre-tested made this substituting leaf lard for the butter (I want to bring it to Mother's Day dinner and my nephew is medically-confirmed allergic to milk products of any kind) and wanted to let you know that it turned out great. I weighed out 4 oz. of leaf lard on my scale and subbed it in for the butter and added 1/2 tsp. salt since the fat had no added salt. Just wanted to let you know in case any of your readers needed dairy-free or general substitution information.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

"not unsalted" butter ? do you just mean salted butter?

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon

What a lovely cake this is in all its simplicity. Thanks so much for sharing, Elaine! I would love to try this for my next spring or summer party.

From The Italian Dish:

Jon: Yes! I use just regular salted butter, and then I do not add salt in the recipe. A baking expert wrote an article a few years ago saying that using unsalted butter in a recipe and then adding salt in was a holdover from earlier times when unsalted butter was fresher. Since that doesn't hold true today, there's not much point in doing it unless you want to control the salt specifically in a recipe or have a salt free recipe for some reason. I rarely buy unsalted butter anymore.

May 11, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

This cake looks amazing. I would love if people checked out my blog at <>

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterryan

this looks wonderful-

i have what is most likely a dumb question: what if i skip the baking powder and add an egg white or baking soda instead? will the cake be hard? or more like a frittata?


May 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Putting this one on the top of the list for our monthly 'Girls Get-To-Gether' ..... can't wait to make this work of art and 'transport' all of us to the Isle of Capri . . . thanks for sharing Elaine :-) ..... Love the juicer too!

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

A delicious cake, thanks for share!

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeoBucatar

Just beautifull in all its simplicity ... I am saving this for a summer morning and a glass of iced tea. Thank you!

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Elaine you have my taste buds dreaming about this delish looking lemon cake, am off to Naples next week would LOVE a Capri moment like the one you described!! Sounds such a Scrumptious breakfast
Carla x

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarla Coulson

This is looking very beautiful & tasty. It is easy to prepare. It can served for several days. Thanks for this sharing.

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGroundnut

I loved this recipe and your blog so much I had to share it with my readers on my list of wonderful blogs here is the link
Carla x

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarla Coulson

Hi! This may be a silly question - but how much juice would you say is the juice of 1 lemon? All lemons are not created equally. : - ) And a "stick" is 4 oz - right? i want to make sure I get this right!

May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCara

From The Italian Dish:

Cara: It depends on the lemon, of course, and the exact amount is not crucial. It's about 3 tablespoons. And a stick of butter is 1/2 cup, 8 tablespoons or 4 ounces.

May 23, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Thank you so much for this lovely recipe. I too made it in the morning and had a slice with my cappuccino. It was so fresh and lemony and for a lemon lover like me this was perfect! I am making another today for a brunch with my family. I'm certain that they will love it!

May 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjewels

This lemon cake is heavenly. I cooked it a little too long so it was a little dry but that didn't stop me from eating half of it I swear. My family aren't lemon lovers so off to the office the rest went. They raved about it of course! I think I'll make another since it will be raining all weekend.

I love your blog, it reminds me of when I was first married. Irish Polish girl marrying into a Sicilian family and I couldn't cook to save my life. My mother in law taught me and to this day, out of her kids and other daughters in law, I'm the only one that cooks like Momma Nonna and everyone comes to me for recipes.

June 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScungelli

Love the lemon juicer! We just got back from Capri... Wish I knew about the juicer, would have looked for one to buy. Going to try the recipe tomorrow!

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlee

When you say a stick of butter, does that mean a cup or 1/2 a cup?

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralexis

From The Italian Dish:

Alexis: A stick of butter is 1/2 cup. My fault - I have a lot of international readers and I promised myself I would stop writing "a stick of butter" and write 1/2 cup instead, but I missed it this time. I will fix it! Thanks.

July 12, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, I can't wait to try this recipe. We have been to Capri twice. It is so beautiful there and that is where I fell in love with anything lemon. My husband bought me a Meyer lemon tree which now produces at least 75-100 lemons. Always looking for something to make with them. Thanks so much. It will make me feel like I am back in Italy where I have many happy memories.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

mmm.mmm.mmm.mmmm.mmmmm... can't wait to try it!! And LOVE that idea of the parchment paper at the bottom!! brilliant!

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSonia

Sounds delicious! How much Stevia would I need if I used it in this recipe? Thanks!

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I finally found almond flour to make this cake... it turned out beautifully! It instantly became a family favorite. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I may be making another for Easter :)

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Just wondering if olive oil can be substituted for the butter?


April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

I've made this cake several times, now. We used the lemon cake this strawberry season rather than making a shortcake. SO GOOD!!!!!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

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