T is for Tarte Au Citron Cake


Anyone who knows me well, will know that one of my favourite flavours in a cake is lemon, so when I came across this recipe in Miranda Gore Browne’s book Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can, I knew I was on to a winner!

Miranda describes the cake as “a French classic translated into cake form.  A delicate golden layer of Madeleine sponge has a traditional lemon custard baked on top”.i

How could I resist.

The cake itself was wonderful, although I’m not sure mine was how it was described above.  You have to bake the cake mixture for 15 minutes before adding the custard topping, which I did.  However, it said to quickly pour the custard mixture over the top.  I think I poured it too quickly.  To start with I poured it around the edges of the tin and then into the middle, this is where the problem occurred, the middle of the cake obviously wasn’t cooked enough and the custard broke through the surface of the cake and it almost looked as though a volcano was taking place.  Anyway, it went back in to the oven for another 20 minutes and although it probably wasn’t how it should have been it tasted amazing.  Most of my custard I think had soaked into the cake mixture, although there was in the centre of the cake a lovely lemony custard.  The cake actually turned out very moist and everyone seemed to like it – well it didn’t hang around for long and my apologies as I didn’t manage to take any photos when it had been cut.

I will make this again and next time be a little more gentle when I pour the custard on the top of the cake, and perhaps bake the cake a while longer than the 15 minutes stated in the recipe.  If you have a go at it yourself, please let me know how you get on.


For the Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 80g melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 40g ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Icing sugar for the top

For the Lemon Custard

  • 6 large eggs
  • 150ml cream
  • 270g caster sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 3 lemons


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas4).  Line a deep 20cm springform or loose bottom cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Whisk the eggs for five minutes at a high speed .  Add the sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whisk.
  3. Gently fold in the melted butter and vanilla extract, then fold in the flour, ground almonds, salt and baking powder.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level out.  Stand the tin on a baking treat and put in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes until the cake is pale golden and springs back to the touch.
  5. While the cake is in the oven, make the custard.  Put the eggs in to a bowl and whisk.  Add the sugar, cream, lemon zest and juice and whisk well until combined.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the custard on top (quickly, but gently – don’t do it too fast).  Put the cake back in to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until the topping looks set and is firm to the touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for at least half an hour.  Alternatively place in the fridge, but remove 30 minutes before serving.  Carefully remove the cake and remove the baking paper.
  8. Before serving, dredge the top of the cake with icing sugar.



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