This lemon butter cake has a buttery lemon crust with a gooey filling packed with tart lemon flavour. It’s like a cross between a lemon bar and cheesecake. The filling sinks down into the crust when baking, creating an irresistible, gooey center. The cake is easy to make and is quite possibly one of my favourite lemon desserts.


  • Gooey: It has a gooey, creamy filling that’s tart and packed with lemon flavour.
  • Buttery: The crust is buttery and zesty.
  • Easy: The cake comes together easily without an electric mixer. The crust and filling couldn’t be easier to make and more impressive.
  • Lemon: It’s packed with tart lemon flavour. No need for any lemon extracts.


    The cake batter is topped with a cream cheese custard filling. As it bakes, the custard sinks into the middle of the cake, creating a gooey filling. The lemon butter cake filling uses egg yolks to help thicken, which also helps make the middle a lemon yellow colour without using yellow food colouring. It makes it extra rich. Just a few simple ingredients (plus lemon juice and zest) create a gooey filling that tastes like a cross between lemon bars and cheesecake.


      The cake batter is packed with butter and lemon. It's tart, sweet, and slightly chewy from the butter. It puffs up in the oven then settles into a dense, moist cake with chewy edges. Almost like a lemon bar but much softer and cake-like. Since it has lots of butter in it I recommend using a good quality real butter. Cultured butter will give the cake an even more complex flavour. If you're using a springform baking pan, I recommend placing it on top of a cookie sheet to catch any butter that may drip out the bottom when baking. I forgot to and a few drops of butter dripped onto the bottom of my oven, setting off my smoke alarm.


      Cake Batter

    • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 lemon zested
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 large egg room temperature
    • 1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed (from about 1 ½ large lemons)
    • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
    • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder


    • 8 oz cream cheese softened (full fat, brick style)
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed (from about 1 large lemon)
    • 1 lemon zested
    • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar


      Cake Batter

    • Preheat oven to 340°F (170°C). Grease a 9” round springform pan with a small piece of butter. If using a regular round pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment paper to be able to lift it out easily.
    • Combine grated lemon zest, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the mixture until the sugar becomes fragrant and pale yellow. 1 ½ cup granulated sugar,1 lemon,½ teaspoon sea salt
    • Add the egg, lemon juice, and melted cooled butter. Whisk to combine. 1 large egg,3 tablespoons lemon juice,1 cup unsalted butter
    • Sift flour and baking powder into the same bowl. Gently fold with a spatula to make a thick batter. Spread batter evenly into the greased baking pan. 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour,2 ½ teaspoons baking powder


    • Combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Mash with a spatula to break up any lumps. 8 oz cream cheese,2 cups powdered sugar
    • Add salt, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk until smooth and creamy. You can use an electric mixer but you don’t need to. ⅛ teaspoon sea salt,2 large egg yolks,2 tablespoons lemon juice,1 lemon
    • Pour the filling on top of the batter. Place the baking pan onto a larger baking sheet (this will prevent butter leaking out of the bottom). Place into the middle of the oven.
    • Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is puffed. If you see it browning too quickly, tent the top with a piece of aluminum foil.
    • Let cool for 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan or lifting out the cake. Slide it onto a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately for extra gooey-ness or chill for a firmer texture. 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

    • Recipe from Flouring Kitchen.