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Citrus & mascarpone celebration cake with summer fruits

Inspired by Anna Jones who says on lemons “I use them as often as salt and pepper in almost everything I cook — to me, they're the third seasoning.” I use citrus flavours in pretty much everything I cook and that does not stop at baking

I therefore, tweaked my fail-safe sponge recipe with some orange/ lemon zest &juice. The filling was a citrus flavoured mascarpone and a layer of rich lemon curd.

As this was a birthday cake for my favourite person in the world - my grandma Phyllis, I made it extra special with candied lemon and summer fruits. I was pretty pleased with the final decoration (but remember fresh fruit or mascarpone filling won’t last for more than 3 days max!)

And, of course, do not under any circumstances put the cake (or any cake for that matter) in the fridge.


Makes 10 slices


  • 225g/8oz butter, at room temperature

  • 225g/8oz golden caster sugar

  • 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk

  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour, sifted (you may need a bit extra)

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons of orange/ lemon juice

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Zest of ½ orange

For the mascarpone buttercream

  • 250g tub of mascarpone

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Zest of ½ orange

  • 2 teaspoon of lemon/ orange juice

  • 50g butter, at room temperature

  • 175g icing sugar, sieved

  • Good quality lemon curd

Candied lemon or orange

  • 5-6 orange & lemon slices (do extra if you want to pick the best)

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 200g water

To decorate

  • 70g icing sugar

  • Lemon juice

  • Your choice of summer fruits

  • Candied lemon/orange

Candied lemon

  • Boil the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved

  • Add your slices of orange/lemon

  • Simmer for 15 minutes turning them over a few times

  • Lie the slices on baking parchment and leave in a cold place for at least 1 hour

Making the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F

  • Grease two 6in-7in/15cm-17.5cm cake tins, I use butter and then dust with flour

  • With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon/ orange zest and vanilla until pale - this takes a while be patient

  • Sieve and measure your flour and set aside

  • Add the eggs, one at a time and beat after each egg, you might want to add a little flour with the egg to stop it from curdling

  • Add the flour and mix it to combine, at this stage make sure you do not over beat the mixture as the cake will become dense

  • Pour into the prepared cake tins and bake for 20minutes - to ensure the cakes are cooked prod with a sharp knife, there should be no raw mixture stuck to the knife

  • Once the cakes are done, carefully tip out of the tins immediately and leave to cool

Mascarpone filling

  • While the cakes are cooling make your filling

  • Beat together the butter, lemon/ orange zest, and the icing sugar until pale and fluffy

  • Beat in the mascarpone, adding it a small amount at a time

  • Beat in the juice and vanilla

Assembling the cake

  • Cover one half of the cake with lemon curd

  • Cover the other half with buttercream

  • Carefully layer together (i like the lemon curd layer on the top)

  • Make your lemon icing for the top by mixing together icing sugar with lemon juice, add it gradually until you have a consistency that is like runny honey

  • Then decorate the cake with your summer fruits and candied peel

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