Ladurée Lemon Cake

Laduree Lemon Cake

Ladurée Lemon Cake

Have you heard of Ladurée, the ultra chic French pâtisserie found in refined urban centres like Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Dubai? Here in Vancouver, we are fortunate that Ladurée Boutique and Tea Salon has just opened on Robson Street. On opening day, three hundred people thronged to be the first through the doors. I have not yet visited this swishy store, but can’t wait to go really soon. I was fascinated  that Ladurée can be credited with creating the ubiquitous French macaron cookies. So I learned from this article in the Vancouver Sun, which also provided today’s recipe.


As many of you know, I am crazy for anything lemon, so I couldn’t wait to make this cake. It is over-the-top lemony: poached lemons, juice, zest, syrup, and glaze, all combine to make Ladurée Lemon Cake the ultimate lemon experience! It has a rich, pound-cake texture, since it soaks up almost a cup of lemon syrup.  Not only that, it has a very elegant presence, and would be a show-stopper at your next tea party.

A note about the poached lemons: I had never made them before and was a bit worried about incorporating them into the cake.  But, I am here to tell you – they give umami a new meaning altogether!  They will become a new passion, and I assure you that you will be putting poached lemons in other cakes and desserts; I am thinking poached lemon cheesecake… And one other happy hint – keep  the poaching liquid for your next batch of lemon drop martinis, or any other lemony drinks you plan to make this summer.

I really hope you love this cake as much as I do, and I will be bringing it to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, and to Foodie FriDIY @ Bowl Me Over.

This is an uber-lemony cake!

This is an uber-lemony cake!

Ladurée Lemon Cake

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


Poached lemon slices:

3 lemons

1 cup water

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Lemon cake batter:

5 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 2/3 cups + 1 tablespooon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

zest of one lemon

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon cream

1 pinch coarse sea salt

1 2/3 tablespoons rum

Lemon syrup:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup real lemon juice

Lemon glaze:

2 oz. lemon jelly (or apricot jelly if you can’t find lemon – I used store-bought lemon curd)

1 tablespoon water


The night before baking, cut lemons into thin (2 mm) slices. Bring water and sugar to a simmer and add the slices. Poach over very low heat for 20 minutes. Don’t boil. Cool and then refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Set aside six of the poached lemon slices for decoration. Drain the remaining slices and measure a 1/2 cup lemon slices, and cut each slice in half.

Butter a loaf pan, dust with flour and line with a rectangle of parchment paper to make the unmolding easier.

Place the 5 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat.

Sift the flour and yeast into a small bowl. Grate the zest from the lemon and toss with the sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, while whisking. Continue to whisk and add the cream, salt and rum. Fold in the flour and yeast mixture, halved lemon slices and lukewarm melted butter.

Preheat oven to 410°F. Fill the loaf pan with the batter to 2 cm below the rim. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes. When ready, a knife inserted in the cake should come out clean, dry and free of crumbs.

While the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup by bringing the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat until the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from heat.

Place a cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet. When the cake is done, remove from the pan and place on the rack. Once cooled, remove the parchment paper. Using a wooden skewer, pierce the cake all over. Bring the syrup to a simmer. Using a ladle, pour syrup over the cake and allow to soak in. Gather syrup from baking sheet and pour over cake. Repeat twice.

To make the lemon glaze, stir together jelly and water. Lightly heat without boiling until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Coat cake with glaze, and then decorate with the lemon slices.

Perfect with a cup of tea!

Perfect with a cup of tea!



27 Responses to “Ladurée Lemon Cake”

  1. apuginthekitchen

    Oh yes Ladurée macaron are really exceptional and this lemon cake looks absolutley delicious. Like you I am a lemon lover and any dessert with lemon is autimatically a favorite. Interesting that this is a yeast cake.

    • chefjulianna

      Yes, the yeast is really unusual and gives the cake a hint of a different flavour. I can’t wait to try their macarons! 😀

    • chefjulianna

      Hey Joanne, well if you love lemon, you will really enjoy this cake! I must be in good company – you guys have all heard of their Macarons! Happy FF to you!

    • chefjulianna

      Oh thanks, Patty. It was quite funny to photograph it. I kept getting a reflection on the cake, depending on which way I turned it! Who ever thought that a cake could reflect light! 🙂

  2. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons

    Another lemon lover here, bet this would be fabulous with Meyers. And I love the idea to save the poaching liquid. This is on my list to try. The yeast is an interesting addition since the cake doesn’t have time to rise.

  3. chefjulianna

    Hey Liz, I love the idea of the Meyer Lemons! I will try that next time. And I thought so about the yeast too, but it all works so well. It was a nice surprise!

  4. Lily

    I like lemons, I wouldn’t say I love them, but I love everything about this lemon cake. Everything from the rich cake batter, to the lemon slices in the cake, and especially the glaze. Pinned for later!

  5. Ai | Ai made it for you

    What a beautiful cake! I’ve been to Ladurée while I was living in Tokyo but I’ve never tried anything other than their famous macarons! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Oh, how lucky you are to have been! I can’t wait to make a trip to the one in Vancouver, very soon! Macarons will be the first on the list of the things I want to try. 😀

  6. Pang

    This recipe is both, intriguing & beautiful. My mouth is puckering up as I am reading through your post. I am going to make that poached lemon slices, but I’m gonna by your place for a piece of cake 🙂
    Love it, Julianna

      • In the Pursuit of Happiness

        I hope you’ve managed to get to one this weekend! I always find it impossible to choose which flavour macarons I want…

    • chefjulianna

      You are so kind, Bonnie! And for you, a huge piece of lemon cake coming right up! I bet you would like some tea with that? 😉


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