The Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake has rich and creamy lemon filling and buttery crumb topping. We all love the Olive Garden and this luscious lemon cake is an irresistible dessert.
If you are like me, you love the Olive Garden, the food is hard to resist. I never felt like I had enough of their dessert recipes. I have their tiramisu, but I always felt like I needed more of their recipes.
I love this Italian lemon cake. It is a layer cake with a creamy filling and crumb topping. I knew it was one to include in my copycat Olive Garden recipes.
While this cake may look difficult to make, I promise, you can recreate this fancy dessert cake with this recipe. The lemon-flavored white cake layers are finely-textured, filled with lemony mascarpone cream, and topped with an abundance of buttery crumbs.
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Whole milk
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon extract
- Unsalted butter
- Self-rising flour
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Lemons (for zest and juice)
- Mascarpone cheese
- Heavy whipping cream
- Powdered sugar
Ingredient and Recipe Notes
You may substitute full-fat cream cheese for mascarpone, or even use half of each. I do not recommend using low-fat cream cheese, as the full-fat version is needed for the structure of the cake.
You could double the filling if you desire to have an over the top super impressive layer of lemon cream in the middle or thicker frosting on the top and side.
Brush limoncello on the layers for some extra decadence.
You must use a 9-inch springform pan for this cake. Please do not substitute another size pan. While you could use two cake pans, it is easier to do this in a springform pan, as it will give some structure to the filling while it is setting up.
See the recipe card below for complete, step-by-step instructions on how to make Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake.
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do.
Love Olive Garden? Try these copycat recipes!
- Olive Garden Alfredo Recipe
- Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe
- Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Recipe
- Crispy Chicken Fritta
- Peaches and Cream Cheesecake
- Watermelon Moscato Sangria
- Apple Sangria Recipe
Favorite Cake Recipes
- Pistachio Pudding Cake
- Sara Lee Pound Cake
- Angel Food Pineapple Cake
- Old Fashioned Carrot Cake
- Ambrosia Cake
- Peach Pie Filling Dump Cake
Be sure to check out more of my easy cake recipes and the best Italian recipes right here on CopyKat.com!
Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 6 ounces unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups self-rising flour sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Lemon Cream Filling
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup limoncello
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 ounces cold butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Grease a 9” springform pan and place it on a cookie sheet. Place a rack in the bottom third of your oven, and preheat to 325F.
- Whisk together the milk, egg whites, and extracts. Set aside close to your mixer. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add sugar, self-rising flour, and salt. Beat briefly to combine evenly. Add the softened butter and about ¼ of the milk/egg white mixture. Starting on low speed, mix until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes to mix in some air and lighten the texture. Add the remaining wet ingredients and the zest and beat for about 30 seconds to blend in the liquid. Scrape bowl and beat a few more seconds.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until well-risen, domed, and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and gently rotate the pan to ensure even baking. Tent foil over the pan if necessary to prevent over-browning. Cake is done when it is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and the top springs back when pressed lightly. Remove to a rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake and then remove the springform sides. Allow cake to cool completely.
Lemon Cream Filling and Frosting
- Combine all the filling ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until the mixture just reaches stiff peaks. Scrape the bowl as necessary and, if using mascarpone, take care to not overwhip or the filling will become grainy. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
- Combine all the crumb ingredients in a medium bowl. Using your hands, mix/crumble together until there is no loose flour and none of the crumbs is larger than about the size of a chickpea. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
- Carefully slice the cake in half horizontally with a long serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Place the domed half on a plate. Keep the bottom half on the base of the springform pan and reattach the sides. (Optional) Brush half the limoncello evenly on the bottom layer of cake. Reserve 1 ¼ cups lemon cream filling and spread the remaining filling in a generous layer on top of the bottom layer. (Optional) Brush/drizzle the remaining limoncello on top of the filling so it will soak into the top layer. Place the top layer of cake on top of the filling, and press down gently. Refrigerate for about an hour to chill the filling. Remove the springform sides from the pan.
- Spread the reserved frosting in a very thin layer around the sides and on top of the cake. Don’t worry if a little cake shows through—it really will be a very thin layer of icing which will act as glue for the crumbs. Holding the cake at an angle over a tray with one hand, gather up a small handful of crumbs and press them into the side of the cake, letting the excess fall into the tray. Rotate the cake a little and press more crumbs into the side. Continue until you’ve covered all the sides with crumbs. Pour the remaining crumbs evenly on top of the cake. This will be a very generous layer. If you have any thin spots, fill in with any crumbs that fell onto the tray. Press the top crumbs into place and refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.
- Garnish right before serving. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sift powdered sugar evenly over the top of the crumbs.
I had this dessert at Olive Garden a couple weeks ago. I noticed that they don’t put the crumb topping on anymore, the cake has a yellowish tint to it (not pure white like this recipe) and it was not domed. I baked this recipe afterwards, hoping to duplicate it for my granddaughter’s birthday. I also had trouble with the cake not rising and then it sank in the middle. Ugh! The cake turned out more of a pound cake texture rather than the sponge type that Olive Garden served. The frosting ingredients made way more than was needed for the filling and a light coat around the cake. I lightly baked the topping ingredients on a sheet pan because the raw flour idea did not appeal to me. After the cake sat in the refrig for a couple days, the moisture from the frosting allowed the topping to soften a bit so that it wasn’t crunchy. I also brushed the bottom layer with limoncello and spread a layer of lemon curd on the filling. Next time I will probably use a lemon sponge cake recipe. Also beat the whipping cream and mascarpone separately and then fold together.
I am sorry this cake isn’t what you had wanted to make. I haven’t been back to the Olive Garden thanks to the Corona virus. I do believe they have changed the cake. I will have to revisit this recipe in the future.
Would love to try your cake, especially since it’s not using a cake mix like most recipes I’ve seen for this cake. But I have one small concern, is it ok to eat raw flour ???? Would love your feedback. Thanks 😁
There is a small risk in ingesting raw flour, if your immune system is compromised, you could omit the topping.
You can bake flour on a sheet pan at 350F for about 10 min if you are concerned. I’ve done this for edible cookie dough and works awesome! Just watch the flour as you want to heat it through and not brown or burn it.
There is a large risk in eating raw flour..
You can actually buy heat treated for now. Or as previously explained, you can do it yourself.
I am going to make this cake. Can you make just the cake part ahead of time and freeze it, then finish it when needed?
I have to be honest, I haven’t tried doing this. I can’t say for certain.
Made this cake yesterday, added lemon zest to the cake and the icing/filling. Everyone loved it
I made this cake yesterday for my brothers birthday and it was AMAZINGLY! I didn’t have lemon so I used orange instead. . I made a special dinner for my brother and his favorite part of the meal was the cake.
Thanks for developing the recipe and sharing it with us.
Happy New Year!
I spread a thin layer of cream filling on the top and side of cake. I use a box of lemon cake mix and cut in the butter like you would with crumb topping on a french apple pie. Then I cover the top and side of cake with lemon crumb topping. Not need to add sugar. The cake mix is sweet and tart. Big hit with my family. Hint: Use equal amounts of mascarpone cheese, (not cream cheese) powered sugar and whipcream, lemon zest and lemon juice for cake filling.
I tried this recipe but to no avail. I had to bake it at least an extra half an hour because the center was gooey. I did put tin foil over the top to keep the edges from burning and eventually, the center cooked. Unfortunately, when I took the sides of the springform pan off, it didn’t rise at all! I was so disappointed! I was wondering what I did wrong- it almost seems like it’s missing an ingredient, like baking powder. I did use the self-rising flour. I’m so sad because it seemed really promising!
It sounds like the leavening agent did not work. Could it be possible that the self-rising flour was old? Sometimes food can be old or not properly rotated on the grocery store shelf, and you could be purchasing older product unknowingly. I am really sad the recipe wasn’t a success for you.
Drive to Olive Garden and buy a piece at $7.50 each? No thanks, I read food blogs because I like baking, so I am trying this one!
Hello Stephanie—First of all I love that you so detailed in your instructions–secondly I love the fact that you share this recipe using a from scratch cake recipe and not a box—boxes are fine but I just prefer from scratch and lastly I wanted to ask you a question regarding the crumb topping. Is the topping baked at all or how exactly does that work to combine the raw flour and sugar and butter. I imagine crumb topping to be buttery and crumbly with a mild crunch. I have had many of their desserts but have not tried this one so I am not familiar with the cake but have heard its delicious. I was thinking maybe a thin layer of lemon curd with the filling might be good as well. Let me know that you think.
The flour is raw. You can pasteurize it yourself by cooking it for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, the crumb topping is not crunchy, it looks like it could be, but it isn’t. If you are concerned about the topping, you could omit this part of the recipe.
Thank you I will try the pasteurizing in the oven eventually but I would like to try it the way it was intended first—I really want to experience it before I change anything—looks so good—your page is wonderful and so are the recipes—thanks again
Agreed that the comment from Patricia was gratuitous/unnecessary, just skip the site if you don’t want to spend much money or time on food. Not everyone wants the cheapest, no frills recipe all the time. Eg, I cook all kinds of ways and think this recipe looks terrific.
Also, just wanted to confirm that the required butter amount is 6 oz? Was confused by “6 ounces sticks unsalted butter, softened”. Thanks.
I am so making this delicious looking cake! I am nowhere near an Olive Garden, and I have never tried their cake, but I do love a good lemon cake! I’m just confused on the amount of butter, what is the cup measure for the butter?
Looks like 1 1/2 sticks if you’re using 4 oz sticks. =)
Wow! I’m more than excited to try this recipie! You know that dessert, the one you’re always telling everyone they HAVE to try? This is it for me & I don’t have to drag everyone to OG (which is not bad, but limited for my taste) & force them to order this. I can just present it at my next dinner party and then, yum! they will finally understand. Thank you, Stephanie, for wonderfully detailed instructions on how to make one of my very favorite restaurant cakes. Plus, it’s guaranteed to be fresh!
This sounds luscious and I will keep it in mind for the next time I need to take a cake somewhere! I’ve never had Olive Garden’s cake.
Stephanie, I have come here many times to get some of your recipes from my favorite places. I am very appreciative of these, and they are free!! It is beyond me that someone would take the time to criticize someone that has put in so much time as a service to others. Please continue to send these out, I know there are a lot of others like me that love to try these and appreciate what you do.!!! Thank you !!