Last updated on April 12th, 2024.

Few desserts capture the essence of indulgence quite like a Limoncello Mascarpone Cake. With its delicate balance of tangy lemon zest, creamy mascarpone, and a hint of Italian Limoncello liqueur, this cake truly celebrates flavor. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, celebrating a special occasion, or simply treating yourself to a sweet delight, this recipe promises to delight your taste buds and impress your guests.

a cake topped with frosting and lemon curd.

About This Recipe

I want to share a secret: I do not care for Limoncello. It is too strong for me, and chances are, I will pass the opportunity to sip it after dinner, as most Italians do. But I feel completely different when it comes to baking with it. Whenever I use it for a recipe, whether it’s for a Limoncello Tiramisu or this Limoncello Cake, it blows my mind. It’s like the flavor of lemon has taken a shot of steroids. It’s light, refreshing, and, most of all, it’s not over-powdering with tanginess.

This Lemoncello Mascarpone Cake is a tender lemon cake and a delightful fusion of Italian flavors, bringing together the brightness of lemon and the richness of mascarpone cheese. It’s perfect for any occasion, from birthdays to bridal showers and everything in between. The recipe is relatively simple, requiring just a few essential ingredients and patience as you assemble and decorate the cake.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • All-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder.
  • Baking soda.
  • Eggs at room temperature.
  • Sugar.
  • Lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Limoncello.
  • Milk at room temperature.
  • Olive oil. I think olive oil complements the lemon flavor, but because this is not an olive oil cake, you can use any flavor-free vegetable oil.
Ingredients to make italian limoncello mascarpone cake.

For the mascarpone frosting and topping

  • Butter at room temperature
  • Italian Mascarpone cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Lemon curd, or any of your favorite citrus curds, like this Lime curd or this Meyer lemon curd.

How to Make Limoncello Mascarpone Cake

Make the Cake

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, or baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix the milk, lemon juice, and limoncello in a measuring cup.
  2. In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest with the sugar, then beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy for about 1 minute.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the mixer on medium-high speed, followed by the wet ingredients. 
  4. Reduce speed to low, then mix in the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour the cake batter into a nine-inch pan lined with parchment paper and bake.
Steps to make limoncello mascarpone cake.
Adding flour to a cake batter, a cake batter in a pan.

Make the Mascarpone Frosting

Check out my post on how to make Mascarpone Frosting for the complete guide.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
  2. Add the mascarpone cream and mix just until incorporated.
  3. Gradually add the powdered sugar.
  4. Pour in the heavy cream and mix until incorporated and smooth.

Assembling

  1. Place the cooled cake over your serving plate, and dollop the mascarpone frosting on top.
  2. Use the back of a spoon to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.
  3. Drizzle or dollop the lemon curd.
a cake with frosting and a hand spreading the frosting.

Tips and Variations

  • Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature, and use a kitchen aid to measure the ingredients for best results.
  • This recipe yields one nine-inch cake or two layers of eight-inch cakes. Divide the frosting between the second cake layer and the top layer.
  • You can substitute the mascarpone frosting with homemade stabilized whipped cream if you prefer a lighter frosting.
  • Fold some chopped white chocolate into the cake batter for extra texture and sweetness, and top with some chocolate shavings.

Store

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Allow the cake to come to room temperature for the best flavor and texture before serving.

FAQs

 Does this limoncello cake contain alcohol?

Not post-baking because the alcohol evaporates during baking. 

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

Yes! You can bake the cake or cake layers, wrap them with plastic wrap, and store them in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw them in the refrigerator before assembling and frosting the cake.

Can I substitute another liqueur for Limoncello? 

Yes, but then it will not be a limoncello cake. While Limoncello adds a unique flavor to this cake, you can substitute it with lemon juice.

Can I use store-bought frosting instead of making mascarpone frosting from scratch?

Yes, you can use store-bought frosting if you’re short on time, but the homemade mascarpone frosting really takes this cake to the next level in terms of flavor and creaminess.

a slice of cake on a plate with a fork.

More Citrus Recipes You Might Enjoy

Orange Tiramisu, Orange Cream Cheese Cake, Orange Chocolate Cake, Italian Hangover Cake.

Don’t forget to tag @OneSarcasticBaker on Instagram whenever you bake this recipe. I would love to see your creations!

limoncello mascarpone cake.
5 from 1 vote
Print

Limoncello Mascarpone Cake Recipe

Light and zest cake topped with a creamy italian frosting

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword limoncello mascarpone cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings 9 inch pan
Author Dikla

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups All-purpose flour (240g)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1/2 Cup Milk (120ml)
  • 1/2 Cup Limoncello (120ml)
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon juice (30ml)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar (300g)
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 2 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Olive oil (240ml)
  • 1 recipe Mascarpone recipe
  • 1 recipe Lemon curd

Instructions

Make The Cake

  1. Line a nine-inch pan with parchment paper, grease the sides, and preheat oven to 345F.

  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

  3. Mix the milk, limoncello, and lemon juice, and a measuring cup and set aside.

  4. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar, then mix in the egg on medium-high speed for about one minute.

  5. With the mixer on medium-high speed, drizzle in the olive oil and mix until incorporated.

  6. Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients.

  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. Do not open the oven door mid-baking, or the cake with sink at the center.

    The cake is done when a toothpick comes out dry from the center of the cake.

Assemble

  1. Place the chilled cake over your serving plate and dollop the mascarpone frosting.

  2. Use the back of a spoon to spread the frosting over the surface of the cake.

  3. Dollop or drizzle the lemon curd over the frosting.

Recipe Notes

  • Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature, and use a kitchen aid to measure the ingredients for best results.
  • This recipe yields one nine-inch cake or two layers of eight-inch cakes. Divide the frosting between the second cake layer and the top layer.

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