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Nothing captures the taste of sunshine like citrus fruits, especially, lemons. In the midst of winter, while some of us are experiencing some cold and grey days, treating yourself to a bite of bright and sunny lemon roll, could chase away your mid-winter doldrums.

I returned home from a recent trip to Arizona with a bag of lovely Meyer’s lemons so I used those to make this cake, however, I recommend using regular lemons as they will pack a substantially more tart punch and impart loads of that radiant lemon flavor.

This is a great dessert to make if you are entertaining as you could make it a day ahead of time and then “dress” it just before serving – it also freezes well.

Lemon Roll with Mascarpone Cream


Lemon Roll with Mascarpone Cream - sponge cake
Recipe type: Dessert
  • ⅓ cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Approximately 1 cup of powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. Grease an 11x15 sheet pan and line with parchment paper that overhangs the edges of the pan by an inch.
  3. Butter and flour the parchment.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch and salt.
  5. With and electric mixer, beat the whole eggs and 2 yolks together with ½ cup of sugar for a total of 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick, fluffy, and triples in volume.
  6. Add the vanilla and lemon zest to the egg mixture and beat a few more minutes.
  7. Very gently fold the flour mixture into the eggs until just combined.
  8. In a medium size bowl, beat the egg whites on low until foamy.
  9. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
  10. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until you have stiff shiny peaks.
  11. Mix a few spoonfuls of the egg whites into the flour and egg mixture and then gently fold in the rest of the egg white until incorporated.
  12. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and spread evenly (photo 1).
  13. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes and then remove from oven.
  14. Sprinkle a clean tea towel with powdered sugar and carefully invert the warm baked sponge onto it (photo 2).
  15. Carefully remove the baking parchment, and then sift some more powdered sugar over the top of the cake (photo 3).
  16. Beginning at one of the short ends, loosely roll the sponge up with the towel and let it cool (photo 4).

Lemon Simple Syrup
Recipe type: Dessert
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  1. In a small pan over medium/high heat, bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Lemon Roll with Mascarpone Cream - Cream and assembly
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups mixed berries
  1. Using and electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar until completely incorporated and smooth.
  3. Add the mascarpone to the whipped cream and beat just a minute or so until combined.
  4. Gently unroll the sponge cake and brush the lemon simple syrup over the top.
  5. Spread the cream mixture over the cake (photo 5).
  6. Scatter the berries evenly across the cream (photo 6).
  7. Carefully roll up the cake (photo 7).
  8. Wrap the lemon roll in foil that has been lined with a piece of parchment, burrito style (photo 8).
  9. Before serving, using a bread knife, cut off the ends of the roll to give it a finished look.
  10. Dust the top of the roll with powdered sugar.
  11. I also like to take about a ½ cup of whipping cream, whisked until it holds a stiff peak, placed into a pastry bag and then I run a ribbon of cream down the top of the roll (you can also spoon the cream on the top). Decorate with berries.


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