Lemon Custard Tart Cake

4.5/5 - (19 votes)

Lemon Custard Tart Cake has a wonderfully soft and cake-like base, topped with a silky smooth lemon custard. Edged with pastry it is a perfect summer dessert.

I got the idea from watching a video by Fatta in Casa da Alba. But I have slightly simplified the process, particularly for the tart cake paste.

I have seen several similar recipes too, which all looked quite good. So I decided to try this particular one.

I love almost anything with lemon. The same, too, anything with custard. So I was quite sure I would enjoy this tart cake.

Now, I am calling it a tart cake since the pastry uses baking powder with gives a rise and makes the result quite cake-like. It has a lovely soft texture, such as you might expect from a cake.

The Recipe

The recipe is not difficult but it does have two separate elements. One is making the lemon custard and the other is to make the base.

Often when making custard the milk is heated and poured over the other ingredients before being returned to the heat for cooking and thickening. But in this instance everything for the base custard is mixed together and then cooked until it is nice and thick. It is important, though, to boil the custard for at least a minute to ensure the cornflour is cooked out. To complete the custard there are two other ingredients. One is mascarpone and the other is lemon. They give extra richness and a wonderful flavour.

Lemon Custard Tart Cake
Lemon Custard Tart Cake

Making the cake pastry is easy. Mix all the ingredients together. Then use most of it to line a tart tin.

Spread the cooled custard over the pastry base. Then create an edge with the remaining pastry.

Bake the tart cake for 35 to 40 minutes. The inclusion of baking powder allows the pastry base to rise, forming a cake-like texture.

My Tart Cake

Lemon Custard Tart Cake
Lemon Custard Tart Cake

I baked my tart cake for 40 minutes. I checked after 35 minutes and decided to leave it another 5 minutes to allow the edge to brown a little more.

Then I left the tart in the pan for 30 minutes. After that time I transferred it to a cooling rack.

Once it had cooled completely I dusted the top with a little icing sugar, just for appearance.

Then I cut a slice for tasting. The custard was just perfect with a great flavour and a smooth texture.

The base was soft and tender just as I hoped.

This is such a good dessert and it’s perfect served cold on a warm summer day.

Lemon Custard Tart Cake

Another great dessert for summer is Summer Pudding

Lemon Custard Tart Cake

Course: Cakes, DessertsDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Custard
  • 500ml(2 cups + 2 tsp) milk

  • 2 medium eggs(large in USA)

  • 75g(6 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 40g(5 tbsp) cornflour

  • 80g(5 tbsp+2tsp) mascarpone(or cream cheese)

  • juice from 1 lemon(about 60ml or 1/4 cup)

  • Pastry
  • 320g(2 cups + 2 tbsp, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 6g(1 1/2 tsp) baking powder

  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)

  • 120g(1/2 cup+1 1/2tbsp) caster sugar

  • 140g(10 tbsp) softened unsalted butter

  • pinch of salt

  • zest from one lemon


  • Place the milk, eggs, sugar and cornflour into a saucepan and whisk until combined with no lumps of cornflour.
  • Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to boil
  • Keep whisking as the custard boils for at least one minute. It should be thick and leave ribbons on the surface which slowly dissolve.
  • Take the custard off the heat and whisk in the mascarpone until fully combined.
  • Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined.
  • Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface, then leave until completely cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  • Grease and flour a 9inch/23cm tart tin.
  • It a large bowl cream the butter, salt and sugar together.
  • Add the egg and lemon zest and mix until fully combined.
  • Mix the baking powder into the flour.
  • Sift the flour over the wet mixture and then mix until it is combined into a paste.
  • Use your hands to squeeze the dough together.
  • Cut about 1/4 of the paste off and set it aside.
  • Place the remainder onto some plastic wrap and flatten into a disk.
  • Roll it out large enough to cover the base of the tart tin, and to go up the side too.
  • Turn the paste out into the tart tin and use your hands to make sure it covers the base and about an inch up the sides. You can skip the rolling out and just press the paste into the tin if you wish.
  • Spread the custard evenly into the tart tin, then set it aside.
  • Flour the work surface and roll out the set aside paste, thinly.
  • Cut out small discs of pastry and arrange them around the edge of the tart tin, slightly overlapping each disc.
  • Arrange a few in the centre too.
  • Bake the tart cake for 35 to 40 minutes until the edge has turned a nice golden brown colour.
  • Remove the tart cake from the oven and leave it in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • If you wish you can dust a little icing sugar over the top before serving.


  1. Fantastic, I will make this the night before Sunday lunch ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks so much for getting back to me, much appreciated.

  2. Hi, thanks for the great recipe. I am planning on making it for a family get together and wondered how far in advance you would recommend baking it? Thanks!

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