Light and airy, sweet, and moist this glazed German Lemon Sponge Cake (Zitronenkuchen) is bursting with flavor. And is irresistible. With only seven ingredients, it's easy to make.
This recipe is perfect to finish any meal or to treat your family to an irresistible afternoon dessert. It's a delicious addition to any dessert buffet. Serve it with a side of homemade mint whipped cream to make this treat extra special.
The flavor of Glazed Lemon Sponge Cake is so reminiscent of home. I could eat this every day and never get tired of its sweet and tangy taste!
A staple in German bakeries, it also reminds me of the delicious treats my Oma used to make.
This sponge cake recipe is similar to our popular Bee Sting Cake. Both recipes have similar ingredients, are easy to make, popular, and incredibly delicious.
One of the really nice things about this lemon sheet cake is that it's easy to wrap and pack. Perfect if you want to delight your guests with some yummy take-home leftovers.
BUTTER - Use unsweetened butter for this recipe and allow the butter to warm to room temperature.
SUGAR - Use 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar for the batter and 2 cups of powdered sugar (also referred to as confectioner's sugar) for the glaze.
LEMON - Use the zest of three lemons and the juice of one lemon for the batter. Use the juice of one and a half lemons to make the glaze.
Use the remaining half of a lemon as decoration. (optional)
EGGS - Use 6 large eggs (both yolks and egg white).
FLOUR/RISING AGENT - Use 2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of baking powder, and ½ a teaspoon of salt.
How To Make A German Lemon Cake with a Lemon Glaze
For more detailed, step-by-step instructions check the recipe card below.
Preparing The Batter
- Cream butter and sugar very creamy in a large bowl.
- Add the zest of 3 lemons and the juice of 1 lemon to the batter. Slowly add the eggs one at a time.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Continue until the dry ingredients are well incorporated into the batter.
- Spread batter onto the parchment-paper covered baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit.
- Remove the baked cake from the oven. Use a wooden toothpick and insert it into the center to check for doneness.
- Poke small holes into the cake. This allows some of the glaze to penetrate the cake, and make it moist and extra lemony.
Preparing The Glaze
- Whisk lemon juice and powdered sugar until creamy.
- Spoon the mixture onto the cake.
- Use a knife or an icing spatula to spread the glaze evenly across the entire sheet cake. Allow the icing to harden before serving.
PRO TIP: If you don't have powdered sugar on hand you can easily make it yourself. Combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and add one teaspoon of cornstarch in a small food processor and blend until the sugar turns to a powder consistency.
Tips for Success
- Always use fresh lemons - always. Avoid substituting the fresh lemons with lemon extract or bottled lemon juice. It's just not the same.
- For a fun twist, try Meyer lemons.
- Be sure to use unsalted butter. Different brands use different amounts of salt in their salted butter. Therefore using salted butter makes it more difficult to control the salt content. Instead, use unsweetened butter - this way you'll know exactly how much salt has been added.
- Poking holes into the baked cake allows the glaze to seep through the cake. This makes the cake extra moist and lemony.
- Storing the cake in the fridge tends to make it stiff and lose some of its flavors. Instead, cover the baked cake and store for 2-3 days at room temperature.
- If the glaze is too runny, add more powdered sugar.
Tips for Keeping and Storing The Lemon Sponge Sheet Cake?
- If you're making Lemon Sponge Cake without the glaze, it will easily keep fresh for 3-4 days.
- Adding the lemon glaze seals the top of the cake and will keep it moist and fresh for about one week
- Lemon Sponge Cake freezes very well. So long as you don't glaze the cake beforehand.
Reheating the Cake
Preheat your oven to 200° Fahrenheit. Remove the Lemon Sponge Cake from the freezer and place it on a baking sheet. Allow the oven to warm the cake for 10 minutes.
Turn the oven off and allow the cake to sit in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
If You Like This Recipe, Try These German Recipes
German Glazed Lemon Sponge Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Cover a 13x18 inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
Making The Batter
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) for about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the zest of 3 lemons and the juice of 1 lemon to the batter.
- One by one add the eggs to the batter. Once the eggs have been fully incorporated, add the flour, baking powder, and the dash of salt. Continue to beat on medium speed until the batter is thick and creamy.
- Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet spread it evenly. and bake for 20 minutes. Use a wooden toothpick to check for doneness.
- Allow the cake to cool. While the cake is cooling, use the back of a wodden spoon to poke several small holes into the cake (this will allow the glaze to seep through and make the cake extra moist).
Glazing The Cake
- Combine 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and two cups of powdered sugar. Whisk until the glaze has a smooth and creamy consisteny.
- Spoon the glaze onto the sheet cake and use a knife or icing spatula to spread the glaze evenly across the cake. Allow the glaze to harden before serving.