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Lemon Sponge Cake with Vanilla Frosting

The perfect cake when you're in need of a dessert for a crowd, or something fancy to close out a holiday celebration.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: bundt cake, cake, cake recipe, frosting recipe, lemon bundt cake, lemon cake, lemon sponge cake, vanilla frosting
Servings: 12 servings


  • Bundt cake pan (or regular cake pans)


Lemon Sponge Cake

  • 3 eggs yolks and whites separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon zested & juiced
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  • While waiting for the water, mix together the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest.
  • If you haven't already, separate the egg yolks and the egg whites.
  • Add the egg yolks to the bowl of sugar and whisk together.
  • When the water is boiling, add in 1/4 cup of boiling water. Whisk until combined, then let it sit and cool for a bit (about 5 minutes).
  • Once cooled, whisk in the lemon juice (should be about 4 tbsp of juice). Sprinkle in the flour and the baking powder.
  • Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they are pillowy and forthy (like frosting).
  • Using a spatula, stir in (also known as folding in) the egg whites to the cake batter. Mix until combined—do not over mix.
  • Grease the cake pan (or bundt pan) with extra butter or cooking spray. Add the cake mix.
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • When the cake is finished, let it sit in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
  • While the cake is cooling, whisk together all of the frosting ingredients in a bowl. If the butter isn't softened, warm it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Release the cake from the pan using a rubber spatula onto a cooling rack with a baking sheet under it. Pour the frosting on top of the cake, letting the extra frosting fall into the baking sheet.
  • Remove the cake to a plate and serve. If you want the extra frosting, this would be the time to add it.


This lemon sponge cake recipe is an adaptation from the sponge cake published in Joy of Cooking.