Nothing beats the sharp tang of lemon for a refreshing summer dessert. And it's so versatile—perfect in pies and tarts, cakes and cookies, ice creams and soufflés. Here are 23 of our favorite lemon desserts, in which the tart fruit meets everything from poppy seeds to rosemary to ginger and more.
Rosemary Lemonade Cake: This cake gets a "lemonade" soaker for extra tang and moisture, the addition of candied lemon zest, and a little rosemary.
Lemon Layer Cake with Summer Berries: "Three layers of moist lemon cake are frosted with a tart lemon buttercream."
Lemon Layer Cake: "The cake is moist, tart, and dense with just enough creamy icing to hold the layers together."
Gluten-Free Lemon Bars: A "tangy lemon topping on a thick, buttery shortbread" for those who need gluten-free desserts.
Lemon Curd Squares with Rosemary: You might think of lemon and rosemary as a combination used in cooking meats and vegetables, but here they come together in lemon bars, with a tart filling atop a rosemary-studded shortbread crust.
Lemon Ginger Bars: "The bars are made with dried ground ginger and crystallized ginger, so they offer a strong ginger flavor, but very little burn. Lemon zest in the bars and lemon juice in the glaze add a note of contrast."
Tarts, Pies, and More
Lemon Tart: "Airy, creamy lemon filling is nestled in a flaky, buttery crust."
Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie: This rendition of a chess pie gets lemon and sweet tea to make it refreshingly sweet and tart.
Lemon Icebox Pie: "It has all of the cooling qualities of ice cream, the fruity tartness of an sorbet and a crunchy and slightly salty crust to balance it all out."
Lemon Blueberry Buckle: "This Lemon Blueberry Buckle adds an extra tang to blueberries with the addition of buttermilk to the cake batter, and a lemon glaze on top."
Creamy Lemon and Raspberry Tart: "It's an elegant tart with a filling made with whole lemons--zest, juice and pulp--so that it's tart, tart, tart, as in really puckery."
Lemon Poppy Sandwich Cookies: "The dough is made with yellow cornmeal which, when combined with the poppy seeds, makes for one crunchy cookie. The icing middle provides the flavor kick. It's super lemony and a little tart."
Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies: "Dusted in sparkling sanding sugar, the little lemony cookies are filled and sandwiched together."
Sweet Lemon and Black Olive Wafers: A little sweet, a little savory, with the salty bite of olives and the tart bite of lemon.
Glazed Lemon-Almond Cookies: These tender, crumbly wedding cookies have "the bright bite of freshly grated lemon zest" and "a veil of sharp lemon glaze."
Tangy Lemon Frozen Yogurt: The pleasant tartness of good frozen yogurt is played up with lemon juice and citric acid crystals for an extra-tart hit.
Lemon Verbena Granita: Tart and refreshing, easy to make, and even better with a handful of summer berries.
Lemon Basil Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches: "These sandwiches are all about balance: sweet custard with a savory kick, rich cream made refreshing with basil and lemon."
Earl Grey and Lemon Cookie Dough Ice Cream: "Light and floral with a clear flash of its characteristic bergamot, the Earl Grey had a pleasant bitterness balanced by brown sugar and tart, sweet lemon cookie dough bites."
Prosecco, Lemon, and Ginger Granita: Tart lemon and spicy ginger play well with the slight bite of prosecco.
Lemon Mousse: "The combination of lemon zest and juice makes this mousse sweet yet refreshing while freshly whipped cream is folded in to give the perfect airy texture."
Greek Yogurt Lemon Mousse: "Light, airy, and fresh, this mousse made with Greek yogurt is perfect for warmer weather."
Super-Lemony Soufflés: "The tart lemon flavor is pronounced and bright in a refreshing way. The texture is intriguing--light and meringuey."