Limoncello Pound Cake w/ Meyer Lemon Curd Filling & Goat Cheese, Thyme and Limoncello Icing

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This is, by far, the most complicated post I’ve ever done for this blog.  I mean, look at that title–just reading it makes me tired (& hungry!)  Good grief!  Between baking the cake, cooking the curd, making the icing, putting it all together, documenting the recipes, styling, taking and editing the photos, and writing this post, it’s taken days to get to this point.  I’m exhausted!  I feel like I just gave birth and I guess in a way I have!  It’s been painful, yet rewarding – and oh so delicious!!  It all started when my husband and I finally opened a bottle of Limoncello we had squirreled away in the liquor cabinet.  It came with one of those little tags around the neck with a couple of recipes on it and one of them was for a bundt cake.  Well I looked everywhere and couldn’t find my bundt pan, I probably sold it during a tag sale since I never used it.  So I decided to use a regular cake pan and it just got more complicated from there!  I had scored a few bags of Meyer lemons that were still in my fridge to make preserved lemons with and I decided instead to make a lemon curd filling with them that also contained Limoncello. I used all the butter I had for the cake and didn’t feel like going out so instead of frosting I went with an icing.  I desperately wanted to add goat cheese and thyme to it but was a little scairt so I made the icing with just the Limoncello, lemon juice and confectioners sugar.  It tasted like my lemon kitchen soap smells–not pleasant.  I figured I had nothing to lose so I added the goat cheese and thyme and it was transformed into something amazing!  Paired with the dense, sweet cake and rich lemony curd this tangy icing was so delicious that I just kept adding more! 

and more…..

And MORE!  I couldn’t stop myself!  And if this was wrong, I didn’t want to be right!
It was THAT good!  And yes, I DID eat this after I finished photographing it!  Every sweet, lemony bite!  And then I got the jitters and had to eat some protein.  ha ha!  Seriously, calling this cake a little sweet is like saying the Kardashians like a little attention, or Kirstie Alley used to be a little voluptuous, or Anthony Bourdain is a little sarcastic….or Paula Deen likes a little butter….I could do this all day!  ha ha!  Get it?  A gross understatement.  Ok, moving on….

First, the cake itself.  It calls for 2 sticks of butter and I only had one and a half so I made up the difference with a few tablespoons of coconut oil.  It was awesome!  You could taste it but it was very subtle.  I’m sure this would be very delicious still using all butter if it’s what you have.  We’re all about flexibility here people so use what you’ve got and hope for the best.  Also called winging it.  Flying by the seat of your pants.  Going with your gut.  Taking a leap of faith.  Running with scissors…..gahhh somebody make me stop!!!!!!!  Phew, just breathed into a paper bag for a couple of minutes and I think I’m good.  I think writing this post is making me relive the sugar rush from eating this cake.  Alright I’m focused.  Really.  Not hyper at all…
For the cake:
2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar (told you this was sweet!)
2 cups all purpose flour
4 eggs

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Limoncello
1 tsp lemon extract
1 Tbl lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.  Mix together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to batter, alternating with Limoncello.  Mix in lemon extract and zest.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. 

For the Limoncello Lemon Curd:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used Meyer)
1/4 cup Limoncello
3 Tbl freshly grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks

Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, Limoncello, lemon zest, and salt.  Whisk in the yolks until smooth.  Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and leaves a path on a wooden spoon when a finger is drawn across it-do not allow the mixture to boil.  Immediately pour the lemon curd through a strainer into a bowl.  Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.  Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

Finally, the icing:

2 Tbl goat cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl Limoncello
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
pinch of salt

Put the goat cheese in a small bowl and pop in the microwave for 10 seconds until softened.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.  Let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before using.  
To put it all together – get the cooled cakes out of the pans and place one upside down on a cake plate.  Spoon on the lemon curd leaving a one inch border empty around the edge.  Place the other cake gently on top (right side up) and push down lightly until the filling reaches the edges.  Pour over the icing, starting in the center and working your way out.  You can use a knife or spatula to fill in empty spots if you want to.  Garnish with more fresh thyme. 
This may be IS the best cake I have ever made.  Better than my favorite Sachertorte even.  I hope you try it and let me know what you think!  I can’t wait to make this in a cupcake or petit fours next time.  The flavors are unique and complex but in perfect harmony.  Even if you don’t like goat cheese (I’m talking to you Judy!) – give this cake a chance!  Unless you hate lemons.  Or by extension Limoncello.  Or sugar….lots and lots (and LOTS) of sugar!    sigh…  I need a nap.





  1. Sonia The Healthy Foodie
    Sonia The Healthy Foodie12-12-2011

    OMG! And it’s got goat cheese too? *Swoon* I die. I.SO.BADLY.WANT.THIS.NOW!

    You are evil, Mellissa, EVIL!

    Now I’m gonna HAVE to find a way to make this. Have to!

  2. mundys
    mundys12-12-2011

    Looks delicious! Save us a piece… your Califoria peeps

  3. Sara
    Sara12-12-2011

    Oh wow, this looks insanely good! Luckily my lemon tree is full of lemons right now, I will have to make it! :)

  4. Niksya
    Niksya12-13-2011

    It looks so tempting to eat, I even can not say anything …

  5. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    Hey Mundy’s – you snooze you lose! Have to get you next time! ha ha!

  6. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    Sonia, I know you can do it! Maybe with coconut flour? I can’t wait to see how you make it healthier, then I won’t have to feel so guilty for eating it! Plus I had a sugar hangover for two days! So worth it though! ;)

  7. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    Hey Sara – Lemon trees!? So jealous! Of course now you have no excuse NOT to try it! Let me know how it comes out!

  8. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    Niksya – Very flattered that the cake rendered you speechless! And you haven’t even tasted it yet! :)

  9. Michele Gerhard
    Michele Gerhard12-13-2011

    Mercy, mercy, mercy, somebody SAVE me! Here I am about to drool all over my keyboard… You said Limoncello and pound cake together. That makes it irresistible for sure, and then seeing the photos and reading the recipe! I think I need to take a break… Thanks!

  10. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    ha ha! Thanks Michele–it really does taste as good as it looks! Let me know if you try it and if it lives up to your expectations!

  11. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)12-13-2011

    Wow-this is so creative. Never would have thought of adding goat cheese to an icing, but I’m sure its to die for.

  12. Catcher In My Eye
    Catcher In My Eye12-13-2011

    First question, can I print this recipe to take to the store for ingredients? Two: Finally, I have something to do with all my bottles of Limoncello, that I seem to bring home from Italy, but never drink! I can’t wait to make this! I MAY not SHARE!

  13. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    Laura, I love goat cheese in anything but this was a stretch even for me! So glad I tried it though because it really really worked!!!

  14. Mellissa (sevimel)
    Mellissa (sevimel)12-13-2011

    Hey Catcher that’s a great question! I don’t think my blog layout is designed for that right now which I’ll have to address in the near future so thanks for bringing my attention to it! I opened a blank text document and copied directly from the blog and pasted into it and that worked fine for now. So give that a try, you can delete the photos if they get copied too and it’s ready to print. If it doesn’t work contact me via email and I’ll send you the recipe in a printable document! Enjoy!!!

  15. Karyn
    Karyn12-13-2011

    Mellissy, it is your drooling CT friend! Wow! First of all you are hysterical, second and most important of all you make me so proud ’cause that cake looks like da bomb. (Where did that come from? I don’t say that…) Maybe its because I myself got a sugar high just looking at it! Luv you lots! Karyn

  16. Moore Or Less Cooking Blog
    Moore Or Less Cooking Blog12-13-2011

    Wow! Wonderfully beautiful and droolicious!

    Nettie

  17. Rosa's Yummy Yums
    Rosa's Yummy Yums12-14-2011

    It looks absolutely delicious and so irresistible! I cannot resist lemony cakes and desserts.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  18. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)12-14-2011

    Hey Karyn! Yeah, pretty sure I’ve never heard you utter the words “da bomb” before! ha ha! Thanks for the comment! See you in the spring unless you want to get away from all that snow and visit us down here in SC! We’ll keep a light on for ya! XO

  19. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)12-14-2011

    Thanks for all of your comments people–it makes all that hard work worth it! Of course eating that cake was it’s own reward but it would have been lonely without you all! ;)

  20. Anonymous
    Anonymous12-21-2011

    I’m making this for Christmas!Should I layer and ice it before serving or should I do it a little ahead of time so that the flavors can mend? What do you suggest?

  21. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)12-22-2011

    Yay! Can’t wait to hear how it comes out! I would layer and ice it ahead of time which will keep the cake moist. For the drama you can do a light layer of icing early and then pour some room temp icing over it right before serving or at the table. Hope you’ll come back and let us know what you thought!

  22. Christina
    Christina12-27-2011

    Made this to take to Christmas dinner – was looking for an ‘unconventional’ Christmas dessert – and it was a HUGE hit with everyone! An AMAZING recipe that I will definitely be making every chance I get. Thanks for sharing!!!

  23. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)12-27-2011

    Hey Christina thanks so much for the feedback! I’m so glad it was a success for you! I’m already craving it again and thinking about a cupcake with the same flavors next!

  24. heavenlyelevenses.com
    heavenlyelevenses.com01-09-2012

    Oh WOW!!! I LOVE your blog!! I’ll be back :) I’m inspired! Thank you.

  25. heavenlyelevenses.com
    heavenlyelevenses.com01-09-2012

    Ps I have linked to this post on my blog and would love to use one of your pictures to go with it – with your permission obviously… Please let me know :)

  26. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)01-09-2012

    Thanks Heavenly! Welcome and we look forward to seeing you around! Thanks for the link – you may absolutely use any photos in your post! Appreciate the shout out, let me know if you make the cake and what you thought of it!

  27. Carissa
    Carissa01-10-2012

    I love all things lemon, and this recipe makes my mouth water!! (Too bad I’m doing the “low carb” thing right now…maybe i’ll make it for Easter though!) But I have a question. What would be a good substitute (or is there one…) for the Goat Cheese? Would cream cheese work? I live in a very small town, and our local Piggly Wiggly (yes, seriously) doesn’t exactly have the best cheese selection, unless you could Kraft. Also, regarding the Limoncello, I would assume that most alcohol would cook out during the baking process, but regarding the curd, would the temp be high enough for most of the alcohol to evaporate. I have 3 small boys, and if I bake this cake…they will be eating the majority of it.

  28. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)01-10-2012

    Carissa I too have a local “Pig” and while it’s great for buy meat (sooooo MUCH MEAT at that place) the veggie selection, yogurt, cheese is all very basic (read: boring). My inlaws get goat cheese at Aldi’s of all places so I don’t know if you have one of those near your, if so check it out! I have heard of cream cheese icings before and I’m sure it would work – just find a simple cream cheese icing recipe and add some lemon juice and a few leaves of fresh thyme. I would omit the limoncello in the icing as it isn’t cooked at all for the kids sake–also the goat cheese and limoncello kind of worked together so without the goat cheese I’m not sure how it would taste in the icing anyway. The curd and cake definitely cook enough to eliminate the alcohol so you should be good. I’d be more worried about the sugar high they are going to get! ;) Let us know how it comes out with the cream cheese icing if you try it!

  29. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)01-10-2012

    Oops…just reread that post – in a hurry and it’s loaded with typos! Sorry!

  30. sam
    sam01-12-2012

    I made this cake for a small wedding hosted at my B&B. It was one of 2 cakes, the other being a coconut cake with cranberry filling.
    I altered the recipe a bit using more meyer lemon juice in place of Limocello (not enough Limoncello on hand). The cake was not only beautiful, with the thyme leaves peaking through the icing, it was amazing. I bake a great deal and at this point have just a few go to cakes, this is now one of them!
    Delicious!

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)01-12-2012

      Thank you SO MUCH Sam! I’m honored truly! I have never considered myself much of a baker so it’s really high praise that you and your guests loved the cake and it made your “go to” list! Thanks for the feedback! I hope you enjoy making it for years to come!

  31. Veera
    Veera01-22-2012

    Greetings from snowy Finland in Northern Europe! Just baked this cake a couple of days ago, all that lemon brought a bit of spring to this winter darkness. I will definetely bake this again.

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)01-22-2012

      Brrrrr! So happy that you got a taste of spring and that the cake came out good for you! I grew up in Connecticut where the winters were also long, dark, cold and snowy so I can relate. Of course now I live in South Carolina and was freezing today because it got below 50 degrees F! And my tulips are already coming up and it’s only January! Big fan of the warmer, shorter winters I have to say. :) Hope spring arrives early for you too!

  32. sarahsjoys
    sarahsjoys04-03-2012

    This cake is insanely good!!! Insanely sweet, yes, but insanely good! Definitely a keeper of a recipe. Great for entertaining or a decadent afternoon tea treat! I did blog my homemade limoncello at: http://sarahsjoys.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/limoncello/ If you decide you need a summer evening treat to sip you could still try it out. ;) (Though I do understand eating healthy…this cake is our first big splurge in a long time!) I usually post my blog on facebook for family and friends. I’ll make sure you post a link to your blog with it! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)04-05-2012

      Sarah your limoncello recipe looks awesome and the final product is so beautifully yellow! I’m going to try a sugar free version made with stevia so fingers crossed that it will come out even half as good as the real thing! Glad you enjoyed the cake! I’d probably pass out in a sugar coma if I ate it now that I’ve been on low carb for three months! Someday I’ll make it again though – it’s just too good not to! :)

  33. Anonymous
    Anonymous05-31-2012

    This was a total waste of expensive ingredients and certainly my time. The cake was dry, the lemon curd was watery and the ‘icing’ was more like a sauce. And yes, I am an experienced cook with very few ‘flops’. I followed the recipe VERY carefully and read through it several times before starting. Very disappointed!

  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous08-22-2012

    Did you make your own limo cello?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-24-2012

      No but I’ve always wanted to! It’s on my list of things to try someday!

  35. Sophia K
    Sophia K09-14-2012

    Hi! This sounds amazing! Just one question: how much do u consider 2 sticks of butter? I’m guessing 1/2 cup is a stick?

  36. Donna
    Donna08-05-2013

    OK…Can not BELIEVE no one has requested your Sachertorte recipe…if THIS one just barely surpasses it in “favorite” status for you!…Consider this an official request….pretty please?!

    Sachertorte is my husband’s absolute “must” for birthday cake…and I am in search of what must be the one to surpass all others!…THIS lemoncello one is my personal fave….as I am a bonafide lemon freak….and this produced the quintessential lemon explosion my tastebuds were totally craving. Much thanks and admiration.

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