Lemon and Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes

Japanese, Yuzu, Lemon, Custard, Cakes

The delicate Japanese yuzu citrus custard compliments its bold lemon cousin. Although the dessert is not uber sweet, if you like more of a pucker, reduce the sugar and add more lemon zest. If you are lucky enough to live in Japan, I highly recommend substituting fresh yuzu for the lemon.

This recipe is adapted from the Key Lime Icebox Cake found on page 108 of The Southern Cake Book.


For the cakes:

  • Coconut oil (or other baking / cooking) spray
  • Pepperidge Farm Lemon Cookies
  • OR your favorite lemon cookies which will fit in the bottom of a cupcake case
  • All the ingredients you need for your favorite lemon cake recipe
  • OR a lemon cake mix, milk (instead of water), zest of one lemon, eggs and vegetable oil (as directed on the package)

For the custard:

  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of fleur de sel (sea salt)
  • 4 large egg yolks
    *Ninja Note 1: Separating the yolk from the egg whites is easier when the eggs are cold
  • 1 pint (2 cups) half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup Japanese yuzu juice
    *Ninja Note 2: Japanese yuzu juice is readily available at Asian markets and online

For the whipped cream garnish:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼  cup powdered sugar
  • ¾  teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1½  teaspoons whipped cream stabilizer powder

For the cakes:
Place cookies into the bottom of lightly sprayed (with coconut oil) cupcake cases. Pour batter over the cookies. Do not overfill. A level ice cream scooper will provide the perfect measurement. Bake and cool.

For the custard:
In a sturdy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Whip together the eggs and half-and-half.

Over a medium flame, gradually add the egg mixture to the saucepan ingredients. Keep whisking. (This is key to avoid a scorched custard and pan. Wish this were not the voice of experience speaking!) Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Whisk for about another minute and bring to another boil. Remove from the heat. Vigorously stir in the butter and zest. Add the Japanese yuzu citrus juice. Place the saucepan in a large bowl filled with ice for 10 minutes. Occasionally stir the custard.

Scoop the custard on top of the cooled lemon cakes. Freeze overnight and garnish with whipped cream.

For the whipped cream garnish:
Combine all the ingredients until stiff peaks appear. Drop a your tip of choice into a piping bag and fill with whipped cream. Garnish the Lemon and Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes. And, enjoy!