This Italian lemon cream cake is my version of the popular one from the Cheesecake Factory. This cake has fluffy vanilla cake layers, a filling of lemon mascarpone cream, and the outside of the cake has a lemon crumb topping. Powdered sugar is dusted over the whole cake for a pretty finish.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8 inch or 9 inch round cake pan. Grease the sides and line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Add eggs and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly mix in vanilla extract and milk until combined.
Stir dry ingredients into the cake batter and then pour the batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in it's pan for 5 minutes, and then turn it out onto a wired rack to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spread the flour out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes to cook the raw taste out of the flour. Let cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk cooled flour and powdered sugar together. Using a pastry cutter, forks, or your hands, cut in cold butter into the dry ingredients. You want the butter to coat all the dry ingredients and the size to be small. We don't want big chunks on our cake.
Stir in lemon zest and vanilla extract. Store in the refrigerator until the mixture gets cold, about 1 hour.
Lemon Mascarpone Cream Filling
Whip heavy whipping cream in a large bowl to stiff peaks, and set aside.
In another large bowl, mix mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice. Gently fold in whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cut the cooled cake horizontally. Place one layer on a cake plate. Reserve ¾ cup of filling, and spread or pipe the rest of the filling on top of the cake.
Place the second cake layer on top. Spread the reserved cake filling all over the top and sides of the cake.
Press crumb topping all over the tops and sides of the cake. Dust powdered sugar all over the cake. If not serving immediately, wait to dust the cake with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar will seep into the cake after awhile.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Break up the steps by making the crumb topping, cake filling, and/or the cake ahead of time.
Dust the cake with powdered sugar right before you serve it. Powdered sugar will seep into the cake after a time.
While the mascarpone cheese gives this cake an authentic Italian flavour, you can substitute with cream cheese if you would like.