Lemon Torte: A Sweet and Comforting Classic

TIMEMay 28, 2014

This classic light and fluffy lemon torte is a terrific sweet and tart dessert with a fresh taste. The delicate fresh lemon flavour, burnt sugar syrup, and creamy smooth filling take your basic sponge cake to a whole new level.

Sponge Cake

6 eggs, separated, room temperature
75 ml (6 tbsp) sugar
40 g butter
Finely grated lemon zest from one lemon
75 ml (6 tbsp) all-purpose flour
15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

Burnt Sugar Syrup

1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar,
2 cups (500 ml) boiling water

Lemon Cream (for filling and frosting)

4 egg yolks
200 ml (3/4 cup) icing sugar
100 ml (8 tbsp) lemon juice from one lemon
60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon zest
250 ml (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
200 ml (3/4 cup) whipping cream


Lime, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 180º C (350° F). Grease and flour a 23 cm (9-inch) spring form or round cake pan. Line pan with parchment or waxed paper.

Sponge Cake

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt using a whisk.
Beat the egg whites until stiff using a mixer or wire whisk.

In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until combined, add egg yolks, and mix until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and mix until completely combined. Using a wooden spoon, slowly fold in the flour mixture alternately with the egg whites. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake edges separate from the pan. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Burnt Sugar Syrup

Prepare the burnt sugar syrup that will flavour the sponge cake layers. Put the sugar and a spoonful of water in a saucepan. Melt the sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally until it turns an amber-gold colour; set aside and carefully add boiling water. Return to low heat and simmer until the syrup is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Set aside to cool.

Lemon Cream (for filling and frosting)

The cream frosting is prepared using the double boiler method. In a shallow metal bowl or pot, mix egg yolks with sugar and gradually add lemon juice.

In a saucepan slightly larger than the bowl, add a 2-3 cm layer of water. Bring to a boil and set the bowl on top, like a lid. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the hot water. Steam the mixture until the egg yolks thicken, but do not become too hot. Do not boil. Stir constantly for 10 minutes until the mixture reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Set aside until the cream is cooled to room temperature.

Cream unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Add the butter to the yolk mixture stirring until smooth. Beat in lemon zest and add whipped cream a little at the time, continuing to stir until the cream is fully incorporated. Divide the cream into four parts: two parts will be used for the filling, and two for the frosting.

Assemble Cake

Cut the sponge cake lengthwise into three layers. Moisten the first layer with one third of the burnt syrup, then spread one quarter of the lemon cream over. Add the second layer on top of the first layer, moisten it with one third of the syrup, and spread on the second portion of the cream. Add the last layer of the cake and moisten with the rest of the syrup. Spread the remaining cream on the top and sides of the torte. Garnish with lime slices.

Set the cake aside to cool or refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut it in slices from the centre and serve.