Friday, March 1, 2013

Baking Cakes with Potatoes III - Potato-Lemon Cake

This is Part III and therefore the third cake that I am featuring in my February/March series "Baking Cakes with Potatoes". Todays´s cake is a moist and citrusy Potato Lemon Cake (Kartoffel-Zitronen Kuchen). This is a wonderful, flourless cake - the flour is replaced not only by mashed potatoes but also with blanched and ground almonds. The sweetness of the ground almonds truly works well with the sharpness of the lemons. And the addition of the ground almonds and mashed potatoes gives this cake a very interesting and delightfully moist texture.

This recipe has never failed me and it is really quite simple and quick to make. The cake is not overly rich and has an amazing lemon flavor. The lemon drizzle topping makes it even a bit more lemony.

Recipe for the Potato Lemon Cake
(Kartoffel-Zitronen Kuchen)

Ingredients for the Cake

  • 50 grams (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) superfine (caster) white sugar
  • 4 eggs (L), free range or organic whenever possible
  • 225 grams  (8 ounces) ground almonds (skins off)
  • 2 tsps baking powder 
  • 250 grams  (9 ounces) cold mashed potatoes
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1 (see Note at the end of this post)
  • some crème fraîche for serving (optional)

Ingredients for the Glaze/Syrup

  • juice of 2 lemons and zest of 1 lemon (see Note at the end of this post)
  • 5 tbsp superfine (caster) sugar


  • one 26 or 28 centimeter (10- or 11- inch) round springform pan
  • unbleached parchment paper (baking parchment)
  • pastry brush

Preparation of the Potato Cake
  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degress Fahrenheit).
  2. Line the base of the pan with baking parchment.
  3. To make the cake, whisk together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding 1 tbsp ground almonds to prevent curdling between additions. 
  5. Now fold in the baking powder and remaining ground almonds. 
  6. Gently fold in the mashed potatoes, lemon zest and juice, then pour into the prepared baking pan and level the top with an offset spatula.
  7. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes.

Preparation of the Syrup
  1. Place the lemon juice and zest, and sugar in a small pan and simmer gently for about one minute.
  2. Remove the cake from the oven, prick the surface all over with a skewer and spoon over the hot syrup until it is all absorbed. 
  3. Cool in the pan for about one hour before turning out to cool completely. 
  4. Serve, perhaps with a dollop of crème fraîche and garnish with a few strips of lemon zest. NOTE: keep it simple though, a few strips of lemon zest is all you need for garnish. You can use a zester or a potato peeler to remove fine strips of zest from the surface of the lemon, taking care not to remove any of the white pith along with it, as it tends to be very bitter.


Lemons can be bought waxed or unwaxed. Waxed lemons are fine if you are just using the juice of the lemons. But you should definitely choose unwaxed lemons if you are planning to use the zest, or give your waxed lemons a good scrub with a vegetable brush to remove the wax. I know that some cooks even use a bit of alcohol to rub off the wax on the rinds.  Remember though that although unwaxed lemons are more expensive as their shelf life is not as long, their flavor is definitely superior.

Whenever I buy lemons, and especially when I know that I will be using some of the aromatic rinds, I try to find organic unwaxed lemons.

Tip for the Syrup

Poking holes into the cake to help the syrup sink in, as recommended by most recipes, does seem to give a good, even distribution – although more important is adding the syrup while the cake is still warm. Bear in mind it will always seem like more liquid than the cake could possible absorb, but do not worry, it will turn out just fine. Take your time when spooning over the syrup. This way, it will be gradually absorbed throughout the cake for a delicious, moist, citrusy cake

This is truly a very tasty, light and moist cake .It is simply lovely and moist but not too moist either. Just what you might be looking for in a cake at this time of year!

  • Round springform pan from "Kaiser" (http://www.
  • Cake plate from "Kaiser Porzellan" (
  • Linen napkins from "Butlers" (
  • Dessert plates and forks are from my "vintage collections"

Part IV of my "Baking Cakes with Potatoes" series will feature a lovely, moist Potato Pear Cake (Kartoffel-Birnen Kuchen).


  1. A fantastic cake Andrea! And flourless which I believe is always a bonus. Potatoes is an ingredient that I really love to bake with, and your whole set of recipes makes it clear. Gorgeous! Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you, Paula - baking with potatoes is certainly a new experience for many and adding mashed potatoes to this cake makes is rich and moist.

  2. I love all things lemon and this lemon flourless cake sounds delicious. Would you believe that I have never seen an unwaxed lemon in New Hampshire markets. Now when we lived in Florida, you could just go into your yard and pick one. :)

    1. Karen, thank you - those unwaxed lemons are a bit hard to find but I believe it is always a good idea to be using organic ones if you are planning on using the rind.

  3. Simply beautiful, Andrea! I’m bookmarking this one…it looks amazing!

    1. Kathym thank you very much - this is a great compliment coming from suach an accomplished baker as yourself.

  4. Ahhh so pretty! Andrea, you know how to get our attention! I love lemon with sweets and I wish I could join tea time at your house! ;) Do you eat outside, or this is just a photo shoot? You make me believe that you really have a nice tea time outside... hehe

    1. Nami, when the weather allows, we try to dine outside as much as possible. We all love it particulary the kids - we really did have tea and cake on the terrace, not only the photo shoot, it was a lovely balmy day, not like today with tons of snow.

  5. This looks delightful. I have an abundance of potatoes right now and will have to try this recipe.

    1. Elaine, this moist and delicious cake will make you happy, I am sure - it is fun to bake and delicious to eat, just make sure to add a bit of Greek yogurt or sour cream or some decadent crème fraîche before serving, the tanginess of these will be nice with this cake.