Layer Cake Lemon Poppy


A big cake to have fun or for a great occasion: the Layer cake lemon poppy has everything to please you… A soft base of lemon cake, a creamy lemon curd and a mascarpone icing. We love its lovely tangy flavor and its crunchy side with poppy seeds.

If you've never made a layer cake before, don't be afraid of the task at hand. You can do it in advance and do it several times if necessary. For the decoration of the layer cake, it is not necessary to have a perfect icing. Let your desires run free!

What you'll love about this lemon poppy layer cake recipe

flavors : if you like lemon cakes in general, then this layer cake is for you! Inside the lemon poppy layer cake, there is lemon juice and zest. The poppy seeds bring a little nutty side that goes very well with the lemon.

The lemon curd also brings a little tangy touch in this recipe. It is placed between the layers of cakes at the time of assembly.

The icing made from mascarpone whipped cream is slightly vanilla, to counterbalance the tangy effect of the lemon.

Texture : the cake itself is soft but dense enough to stand well in layer cake format. It is essential otherwise everything collapses! The lemon curd and the icing are very smooth. The mascarpone added to the whipped cream helps to freeze it a little more, which facilitates the decoration.


Difficulty level : I would say average level! Once you have the appropriate molds, a pastry bag, a spatula, I think you have everything in hand to successfully assemble your layer cake.

How to make this lemon poppy layer cake?

We start with the lemon cake. This step can possibly be done in advance (1 or 2 days). If necessary, the 3 cake discs surrounded by cling film are kept until assembly.

We whisk the powdered sugar and the butter, then add the eggs. Then the fermented milk (bought or made yourself) and the dry ingredients are alternately poured. Then add the lemon juice and zest with the poppy seeds. The dough is divided equally between 3 molds 15cm in diameter before being placed in the oven.

Secondly, we tackle the lemon curd (lemon cream). This step can also be done in advance. In a saucepan, we whisk the butter and sugar before adding the lemon juice and the eggs. The lemon curd should be cooked over very low heat and without stopping stirring.

Last step vanilla icing : we whip the cream and the icing sugar into whipped cream. We incorporate mascarpone and vanilla. It's ready !

For assembly, all parts must be well cooled. Place the first cake disc on the serving dish, sticking it with a knob of icing. Then with a pastry bag, we mark out a circle of icing all around: this makes it possible to garnish the inside with lemon curd. We coat the lemon curd with vanilla icing then we place the second cake and so on ...


Finally, just cover the entire layer cake with icing. You can use a pastry bag with a decorative tip or a spatula for this.

How to properly store your lemon poppy layer cake

Once decorated, and before tasting it, it is best to put it on approximately 30 minutes in the refrigerator to facilitate cutting.

The lemon poppy layer cake can be stored in the fridge for about 2/3 days. Beyond that, its icing would lose its flavor.

It is possible for you to freeze it. Cake discs can be frozen (without frosting). Once decorated, the lemon poppy layer cake can also be frozen. To do this, cut small portions and store them in airtight boxes before freezing them.

Other recipes to try

If you like this kind of big cakes / layer cakes, then I urge you to take a look at these other recipes from the blog: the Oreo layer cake version, Layer cake gingerbread, Chocolate layer cake, Raspberry coconut layer cake, Carrot cake layer cake version, Raffaello layer cake version.

If you make this recipe, don't hesitate to tag @liliebakery on Instagram so I can see your beautiful cakes!

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4.1 on 22 votes

Layer Cake Lemon Poppy (Mascarpone Icing)

A layer cake like a lemon cake: slightly tangy with its lemon curd and crunchy with its small poppy seeds. It is covered with a creamy mascarpone whipped cream icing ...
Prep time1 time 30 minutes
Cook time30 minutes
Total2 hours
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, French
Yield: 12


Lemon cake

  • 250 ml of milk
  • 1 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 250 g powdered sugar
  • 250 g soft butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 g of flour
  • 1 cc of baking powder
  • 1 cc of baking soda
  • 2 small lemons juice + a little zest (optional)
  • 1,5 tbsp poppy seeds

Lemon curd / lemon cream

  • 30 g soft butter
  • 40 g powdered sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs

Mascarpone icing

  • 20 cl full liquid cream
  • 130 g icing sugar
  • 500 g of mascarpone
  • 1 tsp liquid vanilla extract


Lemon cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180 ° C traditional heat. Prepare the homemade fermented milk, by mixing the milk and white vinegar and let stand 15 minutes.
  • In the bowl of the food processor, whisk the powdered sugar and softened unsalted butter. Incorporate the eggs one by one, beaten with a fork. Then alternately add the dry ingredients and the fermented milk.
  • Then pour in the lemon juice, incorporate well and finish with the poppy seeds. Pour the dough into 3 buttered / floured molds 15cm in diameter and bake for 30 minutes.

Lemon curd / lemon cream

  • In a saucepan, whisk together the soft butter and powdered sugar. Add the juice of the 2 lemons. Separately, relax whole eggs with a fork and add them to the pan.
  • Heat over low heat, and do not stop stirring (do not stop, otherwise the cream will cook!). The consistency obtained should be comparable to heavy cream. Remove from heat and cool the pot in cold water to stop cooking.


  • Whip the whole liquid cream with the icing sugar into firm whipped cream (in a food processor). Add the mascarpone and whisk until a firm consistency is obtained. Finish with the vanilla. Refrigerate until assembly.

Assembly of the layer cake

  • Place a 15cm cardboard support on your cake pan (which will be used for the service). Secure it with a little icing. Ideally, take a turntable to put under your cake pan, the icing will be easier to achieve.
  • Take the 1st cake, fix it on the cardboard support using a knob of icing. Using a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, make the outline of the cake with the vanilla icing (this will prevent the filling from overflowing) then fill the center with lemon curd and vanilla icing then place the 2nd cake and start over.
  • Place a thin layer of icing on top of the last cake and spread over the layer cake using a spatula to cover it completely. Be careful, this layer must be very thin, you can see the cakes through. This layer is called "crumb-coat", it is essential because it avoids having cake crumbs in its final icing! Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Finally, make the final decoration by first covering the layer cake with a good layer of icing on the top and sides and smooth with a spatula. Decorate the rest with a pastry bag and sprinkle with small colored sugars or other decorations of your choice.


Keep cool until tasting.
About Lilie bakery
Did you make this recipe?Tag @liliebakery on Instagram so I can see the result :)



  1. Reply


    March 17, 2015

    Superb cake that makes you want, bravo to you!

  2. Reply


    March 17, 2015

    it's art lilie bravo and thank you for marveling us, and for giving us the desire to make your recipes which are a success every time!

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      April 5th

      Thanks Nanou!

  3. Reply


    March 17, 2015


  4. Reply

    small kitchen

    March 17, 2015

    it is superb!

    • Reply


      22th October, 2017

      I love your cakes too much! !!!

  5. Reply

    Maryse & Cocotte

    March 18, 2015

    Magnificent layer cake just waiting to be swallowed up!

  6. Reply

    Melina & Chocolate

    March 18, 2015

    Very successful ! Besides, it must be really good :)

  7. Reply


    March 18, 2015

    He is truly magnificent !

  8. Reply


    March 18, 2015

    Beautiful this cake! I really want to taste it

  9. Reply


    March 19, 2015

    Ahhhhh here he is dressed (I had seen him naked on Instagram)
    As usual it's superb !!!!!

  10. Reply


    March 22, 2015

    It is too pretty!

  11. Reply

    the Ant Elé

    March 25, 2015

    Whoa, how beautiful he is! and lemon, it's a delight!

  12. Reply


    2th May 2015

    Beautiful your layer cake! I just have a few questions for you:
    1) you never soak your sponge cake or cake (for layer cake) with syrup to make them softer, do you think it is better to do so for a "less dry" result?
    2) I made a layer cake some time ago in the same spirit as yours but instead of the vanilla icing I chose the Swiss meringue buttercream for the hold, but I found it quite enough "Fat". Suddenly, your whipped cream / mascarpone icing recipe tempts me well but I'm afraid for the holding of the cake (for a wedding), what do you recommend in this case?
    Thank you for your answer and again bravo for your achievements :)

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      9th May 2015

      Hello Tiphaine, I'm not used to soaking my sponge cake because I don't feel the need. But it is quite possible to do so. If you opt for my favorite icing, you have to be careful to keep it in the fridge (avoid strong smells of other foods stored in the fridge because the cream "drinks" everything). Have a good pastry! @ soon

      • Reply


        11th May 2015

        Hello Lilie and thank you for responding so quickly to my message. However, I have another question for you. Can we make your lemon-poppy cake a day in advance and do the assembly the next day? Your recipe tempts me really well, it changes from a traditional sponge cake and on top of that, your cake looks really soft!

  13. Reply

    Lulu / Gourmet Travel

    10th May 2015

    This layer cake is really sublime! wow!

  14. Reply

    Sarah Abdou

    12th May 2015

    Hi!!! First of all Thank you for all these beautiful sharing !!! Which make you want to taste and bake ...

    I would like to have some little tips on the hardware side:

    if it is possible to have the reference of the mold because I tried in an extendable circle but not top

    and as well as that of the spatula because I tested the recipe My beautiful chocolate birthday cakes… level of taste at the top but in terms of smoothing not great but I think it is due to the mold and my spatula.

    the socket used is the 1m wilton ???

    Thank you in advance and thank you again for all these beautiful sharing ...

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      August 13, 2015

      Hello Sarah, I am using PME brand molds and the 1M Wilton tip, an unbranded angled spatula.

  15. Reply


    30th May 2015

    It is beautiful!

  16. Reply


    3th June 2015

    Hello Lilie Bakery,

    I made your lemon-poppy cake yesterday and I had a real problem that had never happened to me! I baked the different layers separately because I only have one mold, so far no problem. It was during cutting and tasting that I noticed that the cake was not at all airy but hyper compact, hyper humid as if it had not been cooked enough when I did the right thing. knife test. It is true that since I was in quite a hurry I did not wait long enough for it to cool in the ambient air, I quickly wrapped it in cling film and put it in the refrigerator. Maybe my error would come from there? I also opened my oven several times (it's new, I don't know it very well yet) and I think that basically I wouldn't have it at all, maybe that prevented my cake from swelling. What do you think?
    Thank you for enlightening me on this subject!

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      9th June 2015

      Hello Tiphaine, it is important not to open the oven during cooking, or only during the last 5 minutes, because that disrupts the cooking. It would also have been necessary to wait until they were cold to pack them. @ soon.

  17. Reply


    6th June 2015

    How long did it take you to make this cake?

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      9th June 2015

      Hello, I never bake my cakes in one go, I often bake them over 2 days. @ soon

  18. Reply


    August 3, 2015

    Hello Lili! Sublime your photos! They really make you want. We want to bake your cake with my mom for the birthday of my dad who loves lemon. We already wanted to try the lemon cake on our own and it was excellent. We would like to do it over several days. So bake the cake the day before and finish the day. Only we left the cake in the refrigerator and the next day it was all hard and compact while in your photos it seems airy soft… Where would our error come from? thanks a lot

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      August 13, 2015

      Hello Marie, we should have avoided putting them in the refrigerator, because this actually tends to solidify the cakes. @ soon

  19. Reply


    5th October, 2015

    For the two years of my little girl and mine, I would like to design this layer Cake. I am a beginner in pastry, although I am passionate about it, and I would like to know if it is possible to make this cake without a robot? I only have an electric foue (drummer).
    Also, is it possible to soak the sponge cake with a little milk before filling?
    Many thanks in advance for this delicious looking cake.

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      6th October, 2015

      Hello, yes it is quite possible without a robot. For the sponge cake too, no problem. @ soon

      • Reply


        11th October, 2015

        Thank you bcp, I will go shopping tomorrow and try I will tell you;).

  20. Reply


    8th October, 2015

    Hello LiLi,

    I will have a quick question regarding the buttermilk. How long do you leave it on? Do you just have to leave it on or do you have to beat it anyway with the vinegar?
    Thank you in advance.

    Excellent site, I stumbled upon it by chance and became a fan of it

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      9th October, 2015

      Hello Jessica, we put it aside 10-15 minutes after mixing @ soon

  21. Reply


    10th October, 2015

    Hello! My sponge cake cooked correctly but it did not rise and is quite compact… Does your sponge swell and double in size?

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      12th October, 2015

      Hello Charline, the cakes should not swell very much, their surface is very smooth. @ soon

  22. Reply


    15th October, 2015

    Hello Lili,

    Another magnificent cake that I really want to try for my son's birthday.
    On the other hand, during assembly, you put the lemon curd in the center on the vanilla icing or you alternate with the pastry bag: a vanilla circle, a lemon curd circle then a vanilla circle… and this up to the center? Hope I am clear :-).

    Thank you!!


    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      20th October, 2015

      Hello Sabrina, yes we can do both ways the taste result is more or less the same, @ soon

  23. Reply


    December 2, 2015

    Regarding the baking of the cake, is a pyrex mold good?
    If the cake is made the day before, is it good the next day?
    Thank you for the answer.

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      December 8, 2015

      Hello Adeline, I use an aluminum mold for my recipes, for your mold you may need to adapt the cooking time. I always recommend making your pastries in advance, it's usually better. @ soon

  24. Reply


    December 22, 2015

    Hello !!!

    So I did it, not exactly the same aspect, there were only two layers and I didn't have enough topping (I didn't have enough mascarpone so I divided the proportions in half),
    BUT he was REALLY very good !!!!

    I was afraid it was too acidic, but no !!! PERFECT, very soft on the palate and light.

    I absolutely loved it and my friends too !!

    On the other hand, my poppy seeds once the cake was baked was towards the bottom (so the cake would go back to the top)

    I think it's because I made all in the same mold, I couldn't find a mold small enough, suddenly I used a small charlotte mold, so I cut my cake in half (middle not completely cooked), but today I found the diameters I wanted so I will bake two cakes, I think the poppy seeds will stay where they are;)

    But in any case thank you for all his delicious recipes !! BRAVO it's great your blog

    Good holiday !!!

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      December 25, 2015

      Thank you Alice, glad your friends enjoyed it! @ soon

  25. Reply


    6th January 2016

    Hello Lilie

    I cracked and bought your books on Amazon !!
    I can't wait to receive them and tonight I'm testing the recipe for the beautiful birthday cake.
    The thank you box

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      6th January 2016

      Gourmet craving :) Happy reading!

  26. Reply

    caro d

    29th January 2016

    I just tested this recipe which is a real success! Thank you :)

  27. Reply


    14th February 2016

    Hello ! I totally massacred this beautiful layer cake x) it does not bake, the dough has a sticky and very oily texture, does anyone have an explanation? ^^

  28. Reply


    26th February 2016

    I've been eyeing this magnificent layer cake several times.
    Today I started. I never had a problem with the sponge cake but the… It's a real headache. it does not cook and does not rise. it is super compact.
    According to the comments I am not the only one who has happened.
    (For the moment I have only baked one of the three cakes which seems to fail. I tasted a bit 'not very good, sour, and you can smell the baking soda or the yeast ... while I respected the letter)
    I am going to add a little yeast to the dough I have left and if that does not work I will use my usual sponge cake recipe which I will garnish with lemon and poppy ...)
    I'm still sad not to find a solution and I'm afraid it will go in the trash.

    • Reply


      28th February 2016

      I'm starting to wonder if there is something missing in the recipe. I had the same concern suddenly me who thought the bitter and at the office I had to eat it all alone… I would like too much to do it again to have the taste of a successful cake!
      Lily help us !!!

      • Reply

        Lilie bakery

        March 1, 2016

        Hello Ninoumi, in my opinion the problem comes from the amount of lemon juice that you have added to the dough: if there is too much, it makes the dough "turn" which contains yeast and baking soda. So my solution would be to reduce to 2 lemons (small) but compensate by putting a little zest to add acidity. I have just modified my recipe in this direction. @ soon

  29. Reply


    March 10, 2016

    Your layer cake has been doing it for months ...
    So I decided to do it. For that, I would have liked to know if we could make the genoise in a mold 15 cm in diameter and 10cm in height and then cut the genoise in 3 instead of using 3 molds?

    Thank you

    • Reply


      March 19, 2016

      It works I will try this next time Thank you!

    • Reply


      August 9, 2016

      Hello Samira I allow myself to leave you this comment to know if you had tried to make the recipe with your mold at once because I too have the same mold and I really want to make this cake for the birthday from my sister thank you in advance for your answer and if Lille saw this comment her help will be welcome thank you @ soon

      • Reply

        Lilie bakery

        August 14, 2016

        Hello Samia, if you only have one mold, you can cook twice in a row. The risk of a single cooking is a cake that is poorly cooked in the center because it is too high ...

  30. Reply


    April 5th


    What a wonderful cake! In the photos, it is to die for!

    I intend to do it very soon and I hope to succeed.

    I have a question, because reading the comments, I see that it is a rather dense cake. So, I was wondering if it was possible, following the recipe, to separate the whites from the yolks, then beat them until stiff and add it to the cake dough? I would like a soft and airy cake. Would it be possible to do it like this?

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      April 6th

      Hello, you can try so yes, @ soon

  31. Reply


    April 15th

    First of all I would like to congratulate you on your appetizing achievements but also your magnificent photos. Thanks for sharing this.
    I have already made this cake (which was a huge success) that's why my partner asked me for it for our PACS meal. The last time I did everything in the morning for the evening, this time I would like to make the sponge cakes and the lemon curd today for the next day, can you advise me on the method for keeping the sponge cakes? (fridge or not? packaged or not?)
    Another technical problem: I have to transport the layer cake for 30 minutes in a car. I can decorate it and mount it once I reach my destination. Is it better if I make the icing ahead of time? I'm afraid the cream will fall off during the journey ...

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      April 28th

      Hello Elodie, these sponge cakes are best stored wrapped in cling film, at room temperature, while waiting for icing. For the cream, it must stay cool, so I advise you to mount it at the last moment. @ soon

  32. Reply


    July 29, 2016

    Hello I would like to make this cake for a friend only she would like to collect it on Saturday for Sunday do you think my icing will hold? Can we freeze the cake and put it in the fridge on Sunday morning ?? Thank you for your reply

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      August 9, 2016

      Yes absolutely cool, it's like a whipped cream. It will hold if you have done the icing well :) I never freeze my cakes with icing. See you soon.

  33. Reply


    August 19, 2016

    Beautiful cake…. Well, I don't know yet because we will taste it tonight !!!
    One question though? What is the diameter of the molds used? They are certainly small because the height rendering is not the same as mine.

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      September 1, 2016

      It is written in the recipe, they are 15cm diameter molds, ideal for layer cakes.

  34. Reply


    10th October, 2016


    Please how did you decorate the cake? The lines on the cakes? Would it be possible to have a tutorial video?

    Thanks a lot!!

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      3th November 2016

      Hello, it's a spatula with spikes that makes this drawing in one go. See you soon.

  35. Reply

    Josie B

    December 8, 2016

    Do you think I can replace lemon with orange without too much trouble?

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      December 9, 2016

      Hello, it's not the same degree of acidity, so be careful with leavening agents (bicarbonate, yeast) you have to do some tests ...

  36. Reply

    Josie B

    December 13, 2016

    Oh sorry, I didn't say: replace the lemon with orange, for the lemon curd only (I'll take your chocolate layer cake base for the cake).

  37. Reply


    December 21, 2016


    Is it possible to change poppy seeds to chia seeds?

    Thank you!!

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      December 27, 2016

      Hello, the chia seeds will swell on contact with the liquid I do not recommend too much ...

  38. Reply


    30th January 2017


    does your vanilla icing harden in the fridge? Can it hold up for a 3-tier wedding cake, they won't sag?

    Thank you in advance for your reply and your great blog

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      24th February 2017

      Hello Anissa, no this icing does not really harden, it remains creamy, you have to go with a buttercream instead;)

  39. Reply


    25th February 2017

    Hello, can I make this recipe without lemon? How should I do it ?

  40. Reply


    April 26th

    I would like to make 2 cakes following this recipe, one larger than the other and put the smaller one on top. Will the bottom cake support the weight of the top cake? Thank you in advance for your reply and thank you for this recipe that I can't wait to try!

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      10th May 2017

      Hello, I have not tried to make overlays, beware of the icing that might want to escape on the sides!

  41. Reply


    August 22, 2017

    I tested your recipe is frankly this cake is a killer, light and beautiful (well mine is 100 times less beautiful than yours). In any case, thank you very much for this sharing because it has more to all my family and my father (it was to celebrate it's 60 years). So again thank you very much and if you want to see mine:

  42. Reply


    September 28, 2017

    Hello, when do we add the mixed milk and vinegar, please?
    Thank you

  43. Reply


    23th October, 2017

    Hello, do you have to cream the sugar and the butter or just mix it because my cake has completely failed I have the impression that the butter has melted during cooking and in addition it does not swell despite that I respect the recipe in your opinion what can it be?

  44. Reply


    29th October, 2017

    Good evening! I have made this superb cake several times before and my guests have loved it. My daughter too and for halloween she asks me for it. As I don't like sugar paste I was wondering if I could decorate almond paste on top of the icing and then keep it in the fridge under a bell?
    Otherwise I will color my icing in orange and black. Thank you for your help and thank you for these great recipes!

  45. Reply


    December 28, 2018

    I would like to bake this cake tomorrow,
    Did you do well with the sponge cake?
    Thank you

  46. Reply


    September 30, 2020

    Hello I would like to know if the amount of sponge cake indicated in your recipe is made for three cakes or you have to triple or double. Thank you

  47. Reply


    9th May 2021

    Thank you for this recipe, I can't wait to try it!
    Is the cake better the next day? (one night in the fridge after assembly)
    Is it possible to do it over 3 days? D1: Cakes + lemon curd, D2: Icing + Assembly, D3: Tasting?
    Thank you in advance for your reply :)

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      10th May 2021

      Hello Gaëlle, yes it is quite possible to do it in several times. Keeping it well in the fridge after decoration is important (avoiding having too fragrant food in the fridge is better because otherwise the cream will capture all the smells!)

  48. Reply


    27th February 2022

    For me, this diaper was a success for my son's 4-year-old.
    I had prepared and frozen the cookies in advance, made the 1st assembly the day before, then the finishes on D-Day.
    I had all the same planned a syrup because when I put it in the mouth, I found it dense and heavy.
    Syrup, cream and ganache sublimated this tangy cake, sweet as we like.
    Thank you for this great recipe .

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      28th February 2022

      Thank you Anouk for your feedback, glad you enjoyed it! Goodbye :)

  49. Reply


    12th June 2024

    Is the quantity of ingredients planned for a single cake or for all 3 layers?
    Thank you in advance !

    • Reply

      Lilie bakery

      15th June 2024

      Hello Eline, these are the quantities for the complete cake (and not just one disc). See you soon :)


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