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5 from 4 votes

Sunny Citrus Cake

Moist and delicious cake with the bright summer flavors of lemon, lime and orange!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, citrus, lemon, lime, orange
Servings: 8
Calories: 523kcal
Author: Tricia


For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, strained

For the candied citrus:

  • thin sliced oranges, lemons or limes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, or orange or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon boiling water if needed to thin


To prepare the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Invert the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (to make it easier to slide the cake off the bottom) then lock on the sides of the pan. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of the pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the butter, lemon and orange zests and sugar. Beat on medium for several minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and blend just until the yolk disappears. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and blend again.
  • In a measuring cup with a spout, combine the vanilla, sour cream, lemon juice and orange juice and stir to combine (the mixtures may seem curdled). Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat on low until incorporated. Add ⅓ of the juice mixture and blend until smooth. Do not over beat. Repeat adding ½ of the remaining flour, then ½ of the remaining juice until both are incorporated. Add the last of the flour and juice and blend once more. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and gently stir with a spatula once more.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. A few moist crumbs is okay - but no wet batter.
  • Cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before removing the sides. Cool completely before glazing.

To prepare the candied citrus:

  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a deep saucepan or skillet large enough to hold the sliced citrus in a single layer. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Add the sliced citrus and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice until tender, but not falling apart. Remove to a wire rack to cool. The remaining simple syrup can be refrigerated and used to sweeten smoothies, tea or cocktails.

To prepare the glaze:

  • Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add boiling water or additional sugar until you reach the desired pourable consistency. Drizzle over the cake and top with candied citrus if desired.


  • This cake can be baked in a deep 9-inch regular cake pan if desired. Decrease the baking time accordingly.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 265mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 67g | Vitamin A: 536IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg