Lemon Mousse Cake – an easy version of lemon mousse comprised of lemon curd and whipped cream sits atop a light-as-air sponge cake and is then topped with more lemon curd, whipped cream and candied lemon peel.
This lemon mousse cake was part of our Easter celebrations last week when I brought it to my parent’s house for Easter dinner. I volunteered to bring dessert as I often do and “something lemon” was my mother’s suggestion. She loves lemon as much as I do. I also brought along the leftovers of my Easter Simnel Cake that I had made earlier in the week. With a dozen people around the table the additional dessert was extra welcome.
The lemon mousse cake itself was actually just a reimagining of a previously published recipe for Lemon Mousse Trifle. Usually I would have tried these recipes in reverse, turning a cake into a trifle but for some reason that didn’t happen this time. I always think about lemon desserts in Springtime and I’m obviously not the only one. Searches for lemon desserts always go way up on Rock Recipes around Easter. I think lemon must remind people of Spring sunshine after a long dull winter.
I hadn’t planned on posting this lemon mousse cake recipe as a cake, but after adding a photo to our Facebook Page as a Happy Easter greeting, the readers there kept requesting that I do so in order to see the method of preparation. There are a couple of tweaks to amounts for the mousse and how to construct the cake, so I thought it was worth the effort to post it as a stand-alone recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it, if you are an ardent lemon lover like me.
If you liked this lemon mousse cake recipe, check out our recipe for Ultimate Lemon Cheesecake where you will find links to 8 of our most popular lemon desserts.
- 6 large or extra large eggs room temperature is best
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour sifted
- 2 tbsp melted salted butter
- 2 ounces Limoncello Liqueur (optional for soaking into the cake once it is baked)
- 6 lightly beaten egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of two lemons finely minced
- ½ cup butter cut into small pieces
- 1/2 of the batch lemon curd previously prepared and chilled
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 tbsp rounded icing sugar powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp rounded icing sugar powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- peel of one lemon
- 1/2 cup additional white sugar to roll the candied peel in
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan with parchment paper but do NOT grease the sides. Greasing the sides will not allow the cake to rise well and since the cake is cooled in the pan, the ungreased sides provide support for the cake as it cools so that it will not shrink. (See NOTE for 9 inch Springform Pan)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using a whisk attachment, combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and beat on medium high speed for about 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy and pale in color.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium low and with the mixer running, begin to continuously sprinkle in rounded tablespoons of the flour. Stop the mixer as soon as the flour is fully incorporated.
Remove 1 to 2 cups of the sponge cake batter and mix it with the melted butter.
Immediately add this mixture back into the main batter, folding it in very gently with a rubber spatula. Make sure the butter mixture is fully mixed in but be careful not to over mix the batter when folding as this can cause the batter to deflate.
Pour the batter into the prepared 10 inch spring form pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top springs back fully when pressed lightly. Watch this cake closely as it will over bake easily if left for 5 minutes too long. Start checking it at the 40 minute mark just to be sure, although it always takes the full 45 minutes in my oven.
Cool the cake completely IN THE PAN for at least a couple of hours before carefully and slowly running a sharp knife around the outside edge of the pan to release the cake from the sides. Be sure that you are holding the knife straight at a 90 degree angle, pressing it firmly against the side of the pan as you run it around the edge. This will ensure that you do not damage the sides and they will come out looking perfect in your presentation.
Release the sides of the spring form pan and peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake before placing it back into the spring form pan. The pan then acts as a mould to add the lemon mousse and allow it to set.
In a small saucepan combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest.
Cook slowly over medium low heat for about 10 minutes stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until completely smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill completely in the fridge.
Note: I don't mind leaving the finely minced lemon zest in my lemon curd because I think it develops even more flavour as it chills, but if you prefer it smoother, you can run it trough a fine sieve before chilling.
Whip the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract to firm peaks.
Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/2 of the chilled lemon curd through the whipped cream until thoroughly blended. (The other half of the lemon curd is reserved for the top of the cake.)
Once you have the sponge cake back in the spring form pan as directed, you can sprinkle it with the Limoncello liqueur if you are using it. (See NOTE for 9 inch Springform Pan)
Add the prepared lemon mousse to the pan and chill for several hours or overnight.
When the cake is well chilled and the mousse has set, run a small sharp knife around the edge of the mousse to loosen it from the pan.
Slide the cake from the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Spread the reserved lemon curd evenly over the cake.
Pipe the vanilla whipped cream around the border or just use rounded teaspoonfuls to dollop around the edge. Garnish with the candied lemon peel if desired.
Cut a large lemon in thick slices and then cut the slices in half. Remove the lemon flesh from the peel.
Bring the 3/4 cup sugar and water to a slow simmer and add the lemon peel.
Slowly simmer for 15-20 minutes, then remove the peels from the syrup and drain for a minute or two on a wire rack before tossing the sticky peel into the additional sugar until it cools.