My mum used to make the most amazing dessert, Lemon Fridge Cake, from a recipe given to her by a friend. Almost mousse-like in texture, with a delicious citrus zing, and topped with whipped cream… what’s not to like? Well, sadly, it contains raw eggs, and so when the salmonella crisis erupted in the UK in 1988, she stopped making it. The recipe was lost, consigned to the great black hole in the back of the kitchen cupboard, never to be seen again. Time went on, and we forgot all about it. I’m not sure why it even popped back into my memory a few months ago, but it did, and try as we might, neither my mum nor I couldn’t find that tatty piece of paper on which the recipe had originally been scrawled.

As with most things these days, I turned to Google to find a copy. It took me a lot of searching, and several weeks, but eventually I found something that seemed familiar (remember I was, at the very most, 8 years old when I last ate this pudding) and tweaked it based on what my mum could remember. I decided it would be perfect to surprise my mum with for pudding after the roast I was cooking for Mother’s Day, and put my plan into action.

As luck would have it, my mum’s friend still has the recipe, and actually emailed it to her yesterday, after I had made my version. Thankfully, it was pretty much spot on. A really easy dessert to make in advance and have ready to serve, this lemon fridge cake is light and fresh – just what you want to finish off a Sunday lunch (and a slice of the leftovers goes very nicely with a G&T later on, if I do say so myself).

Lemon Fridge Cake

lemon fridge cake

3 Eggs, separated
100g Caster sugar
100g Margarine
1 lemon
20-30 Trifle or fatless sponge fingers (bought or homemade)
150ml Double cream, whipped

1. Beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy.

2. Add egg yolks, lemon juice and grated lemon rind. Don’t worry if the mixture curdles.

3. Whip the egg whites until stiff, and fold into the lemon mixture.

4. Line a 2 pint pudding basin with cling film, and place sponge fingers, tightly packed, around the outside.

lemon fridge cake layers

5. Add a layer of the lemon mixture, and repeat the layers of sponge and lemon mixture until full, making sure you end with sponge.

6. Cover with foil, put a plate on top for weight, and refrigerate overnight.  Turn out, cover with whipped cream and decorate with strips of lemon zest.

This really doesn’t need to be served with cream, although you can if you like, but it goes deliciously with rasberries.

lemon fridge cake finished

You really need to try this recipe out – it’s probably my favourite pudding ever. To say I am pleased to be able to make it again is an understatement, and I have a feeling it’s going to feature highly at any upcoming dinner parties we hold. If you give it a go, please let me know what you think.

I’ve added this recipe to the Tasty Tuesday linky hosted by Honest Mum, where there are some other seriously tantalising recipes, so I’d highly recommend that you bob over and see what tickles your tastebuds.

Tasty Tuesdays on


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35 Replies to “Lemon Fridge Cake – A Blast From My Past Recipe”

  1. This looks delicious, Claire, and reminds me of the Charlottes I used to make when I was little! Will have to wait until baby is born to try that one, but looking forward to it! x Mel #TastyTuesdays

  2. This looks so pretty and love a hand-me-down recipe, means so much when you make something you own mum or relatives enjoyed too! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

    1. Thanks. It did make it a bit extra special. My mum doesn’t cook a great deal (my dad is the chef in their house) but the things she does make, she does well 🙂

  3. I’ve had this as my birthday cake every year since I was a teenager – through the scares etc. She made it in a loaf tin with trifle sponges which I still think are best for texture – each one had to be cut into 3, the crunchy part used to line the very bottom and sides. then piped the cream at the corner sides, decorating with candied lemon slices. we use butter. living in the states now I can’t get trifle sponges and have to make do with individual sponges (get by fruit section) and cut them which I think works better than the ladyfingers here. I haven’t tried making this with pasteurised eggs (not sure if it would work, never used them) but those scared of raw eggs could try that.

    1. Fabulous !! I was also trying to find this recipe that used the trifle sponges for the main part of the cake – how wonderful to see someone else doing the same. In our house, the recipe was called Lemon Russia. We made it in a greaseproof paper lined round cake tin with removable base, but you had to put it on a plate in the refrigerator to catch the lemony, syrupy drips. Onice turned out, we covered the cake with sweetened whipped cream all over, placed Boudoir biscuits (Ladyfingers) around the edge and sprinkled the top very liberally with crushed Cadbury chocolate flake. So delish !!! I also live the US now and appreciate the tip about the sponges in the fruit section – thank you so very much and a super Merry Christmas to you !

  4. My mum used to make a lemon refrigerator cake every christmas she got the recipe from her sister, and I made it for the first time last year as its getting too much for my mum but she couldn’t find the recipe so like you i googled it and your recipe came up I spoke to my mum as we’re a big family and I would need to triple the recipe, mum said she remembers using more lemons then suggested as we like it really lemony I used 8/10 lemons last year and my lot felt I could have used more lemons so this year I’m using 12 hopefully that will do it. hope thats helpful to anyone who likes their puds really lemony.

  5. Hi. I had a citrus fridge cake. I LOVED it. Inside the mixture was small pieces of nectarine. And on top was grapefruit wedges. Loved it. Do you think the basic recipe stays the same? Cant find a citrus fridge cake on the internet

  6. Used to make this year’s ago as well, used more lemon and use to let it stand in fridge for at least 3days before covering it in cream, also cut trifle sponges in half.

  7. I used to make this in the 1980s and stopped because of the supposed salmonella egg scare. Mine used to fizz like sherbert so Im hoping this recipe does the same. So looking forward to eating it again. thnk you.

  8. Used to make this every year for my youngest daughters birthday.I use150gm each of butter and Castor sugar 3 eggs.and juice and rind of3 daughter does not like cream so cover the cake with lemon butter icing very lemony I am making it for her birthday. this week

  9. Hi so pleased to find this blast from my childhood.
    Have been looking for this recipe for ages and so glad to have found it.
    Thank you

  10. This is also one of our family favourites. I use trifle sponges as well Sponge fingers. The best thing to do is line edges of a soufflé dish with sponge fingers as the stand up perfectly (sugar side out) line the base with trifle sponges sliced in half through the middle so the aren’t too thick. Then layer with mixture, sponges, mixture sponges. When I turn it out I just put whisked cream on the top. Scrummy licious!

  11. I’ve spent all afternoon sitting in Mum’s kitchen in Belfast trying to find this recipe! Loved this when I was young. So looking forward to making it when I get home ?

  12. My friend’s Mum used to make this in the 60’s, we all loved it but I had lost my recipe, remembered most of it but googled for exact quantities and will be making it again for a Christmas get together. We always had cream as an optional extra though. Delicious tangy dessert, can’t wait to present it at the table again.

  13. lost the recipe made this cake in the 80ts found it again but was frightened to make it because of raw eggs don’t know what the politics is with eating raw eggs again would love to make it again but wary would hate to make grandchildren or anybody ill shame its a lovely cake and so easy to make and eat

  14. We were posh – we called it lemon refrigerator cake and I have been looking for the recipe for what seems like FOR EVER!! I am now off to the supermarket for sponge fingers ? my mum who is 86 and in failing health will be thrilled to enjoy this blast from the past – thank you so much xx

    1. Haha, you must have been posh – it was always “fridge cake” for us. I hope you enjoyed making it, and I really hope your mum enjoyed eating it 🙂

  15. Hi not posh or french, but it was known as lemon gateau in our house. We added 8 oz lemon curd into the mix. My Mum bought this recipe at a try and buy party in the 70s.

  16. Hi Claire
    I also had this recipe given to me by a friend in the early 80’s.I made it on several occasions and was very popular. For some reason, maybe the loss of recipe or as you said the scare over raw eggs.
    Which brings me to ask why does it need eggs? Is it because the whipped whites make the moussey like texture.

  17. Yeeess I remember this very fondly from childhood and my great aunt gave me the recipe. I haven’t made it though for about 15 years but it popped into my head recent. Wasn’t sure what I’d done with the recipe so googled it.

  18. Hi

    Was sooooo excited to find this recipe but didn’t work….am I the only one? The mixture was like water despite trying desperately to ensure egg whites stiff. The initial mixture also curdled which I noticed you said was not an issue but when the egg white went in it was all very watery. What did I do wrong please

    1. Hmm, sorry to hear that. I have never had a problem with it, so am unsure how to advise you I am afraid

  19. Oh what a find! Thank you for finding this recipe. I had a blitz of old papers and think I must have thrown away my Mum’s handwritten lemon fridge cake recipe from many years ago. I went to look for it on my bookshelves but gave up before Christmas then I thought I’d do a search on Google and discovered your post. Thank you so much. It brings back many memories of yummy Christmas times ?

    1. Hope you enjoy making it again. I was over the moon when my mum gave me her handwritten recipe book at Christmas that we all thought was resigned to the Gods of Lost Things, never ti be seen again

  20. I love this cake. Made it many times. I use split trifle sponges.
    I have to admit the best one I every made was with trifle sponges that were out of date and a bit on the hard side. It was superb.

  21. How funny we have just been talking about this cake and been hunting the recipe!! Thanks for posting or it would have been lost forever!

  22. I have this recipe, inherited on a tatty bit of paper but now typed up and stored on my laptop. I’m making it this evening – double mixture – for a small party this weekend.

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