Kirbie's Cravings

4 Ingredient No Bake Lemon Cake

This no bake lemon cake doesn’t require any baking or cooking. It has layers of soft lemon-flavored cake and sweet zesty lemon cream. The cake is cool and refreshing and can be made ahead of time.

This lemon cake really does taste like a traditional layered lemon cake made from scratch and my family had no idea that I didn’t bake it. Instead this is a type of icebox cake where the ingredients just need to be assembled and no baking is required.


  • Ladyfingers
  • Heavy cream
  • Sugar
  • Lemons

Ladyfingers: To achieve soft cake layers, I used ladyfingers for this cake. Icebox cakes are often made with wafer or graham crackers but that doesn’t produce a thick cake layer. When ladyfingers are softened, their texture becomes just like a sponge cake, which is why this cake uses ladyfingers instead of wafers.

Heavy cream: The cream layer is made with heavy cream, sugar, lemon juice and zest.

Sugar: This recipe uses regular granular sugar to sweeten the cream.

Lemons: Lemon juice and zest are used to add lemon flavor to the cream and also help firm up the cream.

How to Make No Bake Lemon Cake

  • Please note this cake does need to set in the fridge so it is best to make this cake the night before you plan on serving it.
  • The heavy cream and sugar are first beaten together until stiff peaks form. The lemon juice and zest are then folded in until fully incorporated.
  • A thin layer of lemon cream is spread across the bottom of your parchment lined cake pan. This will help soften the ladyfingers and keep them in place. A layer of ladyfingers is then added across the bottom of the pan.
  • A thick layer of cream is then added over the ladyfingers.
  • Then another layer of ladyfingers and cream are added. This process is repeated until you have three layers of ladyfingers.
  • Some more cream is added on top of the ladyfingers and the rest is reserved for frosting and decorating. The cake is then wrapped with plastic wrap and placed into the fridge to set. I recommend letting this cake set overnight. This will ensure the ladyfingers have enough time to soften.

Cake Texture and Sweetness

  • This cake is sweet but not overly sweet. The cream is only lightly sweetened and has plenty of zesty lemon flavor to help balance out the sweet cake layers. I think it is the perfect amount of sweet when you want a cool and refreshing dessert.
  • The cake layers have a texture just like regular soft sponge cake and have a light lemon flavor from the lemon cream.

More No Bake Lemon Desserts

4 Ingredient No Bake Lemon Cake

Servings: 16 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
This lemon cake is so easy to make and doesn't require any baking. It is a cool and refreshing dessert. The cake contains layers of soft lemon flavored cake and zesty lemon cream.


  • 4 cups (32 fl oz/946 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup (151 g) granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl oz/177 ml) lemon juice + 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 42 ladyfingers


  • Please note this cake needs to be made ahead of time, so I recommend making it the night before you plan on serving it.
  • Line a 9 x 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. I like to make the sides of the parchment paper a bit higher than the pan so that when the cake is done, you can lift up the whole thing using the excess parchment as handles, which will make it easier to slice and serve.
  • Add heavy cream and sugar to a large mixing bowl (I used a stand mixer). Beat heavy cream at high speed until stiff peaks form. Add in the lemon juice and zest. Fold it in with a spatula until lemon juice is fully incorporated. The lemon whipping cream should have a very thick creamy texture.
  • Spread a thin layer of lemon cream across the bottom of the lined pan. This will help the ladyfingers stay in place and also will help soften them. Line the bottom with a layer of ladyfingers. You should be able to fit exactly 14 ladyfingers in a 9 x 9 pan.
  • Add about 2.5 cups of lemon cream over the ladyfingers (a little under ¼ of the remaining cream). I like using an offset spatula to help me spread it evenly across but a regular spatula should also work. The layer of cream should be about 1/2 inch thick. Add another layer of ladyfingers, followed by another layer of 1/2 inch thick cream. Add one more layer of ladyfingers so you have 3 layers of ladyfingers total. Make sure each layer of ladyfingers have the ladyfingers facing the same direction as the previous layer so that all the layers line up. This will help ensure a uniform cake layer when cut.
  • Top the last ladyfinger layer with a thin layer of lemon cream (about 1 to 1 ½ cups). You want enough to cover the ladyfingers so that they will soften but you want to save enough cream for frosting later. I had about 2 cups of cream leftover. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cake overnight to allow the flavors to meld and the cookies to soften. Refrigerate and save remaining cream for the frosting.
  • When cake is ready, remove plastic wrap. Spread remaining cream on top for the frosting. Garnish with lemon curls, thin lemon slices and fresh mint if desired. Slice and serve chilled.


  • A pint of heavy cream contains 2 cups. So you can also use 2 full pints and you don't need to measure it out to save some time and one less measuring cup to wash.
  • The brand of ladyfingers shouldn't matter. Since the cake does use a lot, I just chose the most reasonably priced ones I could find. I used I used Balocco Savoiardi Ladyfingers (1.1. lb bag).
  • I don't recommend dipping or soaking the ladyfingers in lemon juice. That will make them soggy. The ladyfingers do soften just from being sandwiched between the layers of cream.
  • If you don’t feel like juicing lemons or/and want to save time, this recipe also works with bottled pure lemon juice. You just need to make sure that the only ingredient inside the bottle is lemon juice (there are many brands that have “100% lemon juice” on the label but then they add water or other ingredients if you check the nutrition label, which will not work. The two brands I have tested with are: Santa Cruz Organic 100% lemon juice and Whole Foods 365 Organic Lemon Juice.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 312kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Sodium: 39mg, Fiber: 0.03g, Sugar: 19g, NET CARBS: 28

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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