This Limoncello Cake is supremely moist, delightfully easy and just bursting with bright lemon flavor. This moist and fluffy cake with a blend of citrusy, yet sweet vanilla flavors all drizzled with a limoncello glaze is seriously spectacular! Enjoy with your morning coffee, serve it with a tray of tea for an afternoon treat, or as dessert with after dinner drinks.
Love lemon desserts? Make sure to try my Lemon Bars, No Bake Lemon Pie and Lemon Cookies!
Limoncello Cake Recipe
Lemon flavored baked goods and drinks are second only to strawberries when it comes to the sunny spring and summer seasons! The zesty citrus taste of fresh lemon is so light and refreshing after all of the heavy flavors that kept us warm through the fall and winter.
This Limoncello Cake recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and citrus, and you can even use the leftover limoncello to mix up a fun cocktail to serve on the side!
This cake is easily enjoyed morning, noon, or night, and is sure to be a hit from Sunday night dinners to summertime engagements.
Why I Love This Limoncello Cake
Why do I love this recipe?
- The texture of the cake. Similar to lemon pound cake but not as dense, this cake has the taste you expect but is much lighter and more moist in texture.
- The glaze! I don’t know how something so simple to make can taste so elevated, but the powdered sugar mixed with the limoncello is simply to die for. The limoncello liqueur is sweet and tangy without being too strong, and the powdered sugar lends just enough sweetness and substance to create a perfect consistency.
- It’s simple yet stunning. This cake is a very simple recipe at heart, but looks and tastes so stunning that it could easily be served at a multitude of functions.
Lovely Lemon Recipes
Love all things lemon? Us too! Here are some of our favorite lemon desserts:
What You’ll Need
Light, fluffy cake with sweet and tangy flavors of lemon and vanilla. A kick of limoncello glaze drizzled over top makes this a delightful dessert perfect for spring and summer! As always, you can find the full printable recipe with complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need…
For the Cake
- flour: All purpose, no need for cake flour or anything fancy in this recipe.
- baking powder: For the perfect loaf cake consistency.
- salt: Just a pinch.
- vegetable oil: You can substitute canola oil.
- sugar: To add sweetness to the tangy lemon and sour cream flavors.
- sour cream: Full fat sour cream will give the best flavor and texture to this cake.
- eggs: Make sure these are room temperature for easier mixing.
- limoncello: You could use lemon flavored vodka instead.
- lemon zest: Half a lemon should be enough for this.
- lemon extract and vanilla extract: These should be found near each other in the baking aisle of your local supermarket.
For the Limoncello Glaze
- powdered sugar: Be sure to sift any lumps out for a smooth glaze.
- limoncello: You can use lemon juice instead if you prefer not to have the alcohol in the glaze.
If you don’t have limoncello on hand or are unable to find any, you can substitute lemon flavored vodka.
How to Make Limoncello Cake
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven and prepare a 9×5 loaf pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Combine the oil, sugar, sour cream, limoncello, lemon zest, eggs, lemon extract, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together, careful not to over mix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool completely before adding the glaze.
For the Glaze
- Whisk the powdered sugar and limoncello together until no lumps remain and the glaze is the consistency you desire.
- Drizzle the limoncello glaze over the top of the completely cooled cake.
- Allow the glaze to set before serving. Enjoy!
You can store leftovers of this cake in an airtight container on your counter for 2 days. For longer lasting freshness, store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To Freeze: You can also freeze this recipe! Let the cake cool fully then seal in a freezer safe container and store for 4-6 months. Let the cake thaw and make the glaze when you plan to serve the cake. You can even freeze the cake in individual slices, so you only have to defrost a piece at a time when you’re craving a sweet treat but don’t want a whole cake!
Limoncello Cake Recipe FAQs
Limoncello is an Italian liqueur. It has a very smooth, sweet taste to it with of course a bright and intense lemon flavor. It is typically made with vodka as its base liquor and is often sipped on its own or mixed with a tonic water or club soda for a refreshing and light cocktail. You can even make your own by steeping lemon zest in vodka and then adding simple syrup. The longer it sits and ages, the better it is.
You do not. While I used a loaf pan for this recipe, you can absolutely bake this using a bundt pan or a circular baking pan. However you like to present your cake works. Just be aware of the cook time depending on your pan as some cakes may cook faster (if they are thinner), and some may take a little longer
Trish’s Tips and Tricks
- If you are serving this cake at a party or have little ones that will be enjoying the dessert, you can use lemon juice instead of limoncello in the glaze to omit the alcohol. You can do this in the cake as well, but the alcohol will bake out during the cooking process.
- Be sure the cake has completely cooled before adding the glaze. If it is still warm, the glaze will melt completely and just sink into the cake or run off the sides.
- If you don’t have limoncello on hand or are unable to find any, you can substitute lemon flavored vodka.
- Glaze too thin? You can always add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more limoncello. Play with the ratio until you achieve your desired consistency.
More Delicious Cakes
- Creamsicle Cake
- Hummingbird Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Pound Cake
- Oreo Cheesecake
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Carrot Cake
- Strawberry Shortcake Roulade
How To Make Limoncello Cake
Limoncello Cake Recipe
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons limoncello or lemon vodka
- 1 cup sour cream full fat, room temperature
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract or vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 drops yellow food coloring optional
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons limoncello
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, granulated sugar, sour cream, limoncello, lemon zest, eggs, lemon extract (if using), vanilla extract and yellow food coloring (if using).½ cup canola oil, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup sour cream, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons limoncello, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- Carefully add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk together just until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth top.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs.
- Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding the glaze.
Prepare the Limoncello Glaze
- Whisk the powdered sugar and limoncello together until no lumps remain. (Too thin? Add additional powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time. Too thick? Add a bit more Limoncello, a teaspoon at a time.)1 cup powdered sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons limoncello
- Drizzle glaze over the top of the cooled cake. Let the glaze set up before slicing and serving.
Very good recipe. Made this recently and the whole family loved it.