Sybil's Old Fashioned Lemon Layer Cake Recipe -
Sybil's Old Fashioned Lemon Layer Cake Recipe
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Sybil's Old Fashioned Lemon Layer Cake

Recipe by  

"This is one of my grandmother's recipes, a Southern classic. It is similar to a doberge--six thin layers with a tart lemon filling. Tips: after separating the eggs, let the egg whites sit in the fridge until you're ready to whip them. I usually need 3 large fresh lemons for this recipe to produce the zest and juice."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 9-inch layer cake Change Servings
  • PREP

    45 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    2 hrs 15 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans. In a bowl, whisk together 3 1/4 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Cream 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons softened butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, then mix in 2 1/4 cups of sugar until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Beat 6 egg yolks into the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each yolk is added. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk. Mix in 3/4 teaspoon of grated lemon peel and 1 3/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
  3. With clean beaters, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks in a bowl; lightly fold the egg whites into the batter; use a rubber spatula or wire whisk to fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter. Gently run the spatula through the center of the bowl, then around the sides of the bowl, repeating until fully incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites, folding just until incorporated.. Pour the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  5. To make filling, whisk 2 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of grated lemon peel, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 5 1/2 tablespoons of flour, and beaten egg together in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly, until the filling almost comes to a boil; cook until thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Allow the filling to cool.
  6. To assemble, place each cake layer down on a work surface, and place one hand lightly on the top of the cake. Use a serrated knife to slice the cake in half horizontally, with a light sawing motion, to create 2 layers from each cake (6 total layers). Brush crumbs from the layers. Place a cake layer onto a serving dish, and spread with 1/6 of the filling; repeat with all the layers and filling, ending with a layer of lemon filling for the top of the cake.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Apr 05, 2011

This was a lot of work and time. The filling and frosting didn"t come out the way I thought it would. I may have cooked it too long but it had an awesome flavor. I followed the recipe as posted. May find a different lemon frosting next time. Gave it 4 stars because even though it was time consuming the flavor is very lemony!!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Feb 25, 2014

I was so excited when I found this recipe. I am not a baker at all and suddenly got the bug to start trying different recipes. I used this recipe for my mom's 70th birthday as a surprise. I thought I could adjust the recipe based on the suggestions of previous reviews but the cake was terrible, to hard to cut. The only thing that I improved was the lemon flavor but the cake itself was not moist and fluffy and just too stiff. Too much work for such a great disappointment! It took me 3 hours to complete. Unless you are a pretty confident baker and know how to adjust the recipe for your benefit, I suggest just using an entirely different recipe. I've had great success with other home made recipes that I've tried.


8 Ratings

Oct 25, 2013

This is my favorite lemon cake recipe. I don't care for the glaze consistency of the frosting, so I use a different frosting recipe.

May 25, 2015

I thought the cake was delicious- dense and moist. The glaze was very sweet -but thin and the cake is "plain" enough it can take it. I can to use a separate recipe for the frosting (I chose lemon) overall good/great cake

Feb 19, 2015

This is a very old Southern Cake receipt. In Georgia we call it a lemon cheese cake. You are right about the photo but I have never known the recipe for this to match one! In my family we frost the sides with Divinity Fudge. It is not a cake for beginners! Once mastered it is very good.

Nov 15, 2013

The picture on this recipe does NOT match the cake!!! This not a light a fluffy cake but it tastes ok.


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  • Calories
  • 653 kcal
  • 33%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 106.2 g
  • 34%
  • Cholesterol
  • 161 mg
  • 54%
  • Fat
  • 22.9 g
  • 35%
  • Fiber
  • 1.2 g
  • 5%
  • Protein
  • 8.6 g
  • 17%
  • Sodium
  • 296 mg
  • 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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