Sansa’s Lemon Cakes | Game of Thrones Inspired Recipes

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sansa lemon cake recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People

The long wait is over. After over a half a decade of wandering the realms in search of the finest fictional feasts, I’ve finally decided to return to Westeros in honor of the return of the Iron Throne on our silver screens: House of the Dragon officially comes back for a second season this Sunday!

In anticipation of the oldest adventures in Westeros, I’m rewatching the original series and found myself absolutely famished – so I figured it was high time to get back on the dragon and make some more food that can only be found in the Seven Kingdoms.

best lemon cake recipe for game of thrones

SPOILER ALERT: If you aren’t caught up on the most recent season of Game of Thrones, BE WARNED! There will be spoilers for the show in this post!!

Sansa’s Favorite Lemon Cakes

Due to the rarity of lemons in the North – and throughout the Seven Kingdoms for that matter – lemon cakes were a favorite dessert of the upper class. In the books, lemon cakes are Sansa’s favorite because she likes to imagine only refined and “proper” ladies lounging, gossiping, and snacking on these dainty little lemon cakes.

In reality, the lemon cakes are often used in scenes to show the stark reality between what Sansa wants and what actually happens; whether she is discussing the nightmare of living with Joffrey (all she wanted as a child was to live in King’s Landing) or running from Ramsay Bolton (what was meant to be a realm-saving marriage) – the glamorous life Sansa imagined is never quite what she ends up getting.

Though I’d like to imagine her as the Queen in the North – Sansa likely would have lemons specially brought to the North so that the subjects there could have at least one simple delicacy.

game of thrones lemon cake recipe

Lemon Cakes in Westeros

Lemon cakes are served in many different ways throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Renly Baratheon serves lemon cakes in the shapes of roses for the Melee at Bitterbridge. At the Eyrie, Sansa (aka Lady Alayne) promises Robert Arryn he can eat as many as he’d like in an attempt to bribe him. Cersei serves lemon cakes at the Hand’s Tourney – likely as a show of her wealth more than anything.

For my recipe, I’m taking the best of all kingdoms: buttery lemon cakes filled with a sweet and tangy lemon curd, then topped with crispy meringue in the shape of a rose and candied lemon rind.

game of thrones lemon cake with meringue roses

Here’s What You Need

For the Cakes

  • Flour: Forms the base of the cake, giving it structure.
  • Cake Flour: Adds a lighter texture to the cake.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the cake rise and become fluffy.
  • Baking Soda: Reacts with the acid in lemon juice for extra lift.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the cake.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the cake and helps with browning.
  • Vegetable Oil: Keeps the cake moist and tender.
  • Vegetable Shortening: Adds a light, fluffy texture to the cake.
  • Vanilla: Adds a warm, sweet flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides tartness and reacts with baking soda.
  • Eggs: Bind the ingredients and add richness.
  • Buttermilk: Adds moisture and a subtle tangy flavor.
  • Lemon Zest: Adds intense lemon flavor to the cake.

For the Candied Lemons and Syrup

  • Water: Used to create the candied lemons and syrup.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the syrup and candied lemons.
  • Lemon Slices: Candied for decoration.

For the Lemon Curd

  • Lemon Zest: Adds intense lemon flavor.
  • Egg Yolks: Provide richness and texture.
  • Sugar: Sweetens and thickens the curd.
  • Butter: Adds richness to the lemon curd.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides tartness and flavor.

For the Meringues

  • Egg Whites: Whipped to create the meringue.
  • Cream of Tartar: Stabilizes the egg whites.
  • Sugar: Sweetens and stiffens the meringue.
  • Vanilla: Adds flavor to the meringue.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness.
lemon meringue cakes with lemon curd for game of thrones

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 375°F and let’s get started. Whisk together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the sugar, vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, and lemon juice until it’s a pale, creamy mixture.

Add the lemon zest and mix. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients, adding ½ cup at a time. Between additions, add the eggs and ¼ cup of buttermilk. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed well. Your batter will be thin and airy, just like the dreams of a young Sansa before her life got complicated.

Lightly grease your cake molds and fill each one about ⅔ full with batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown and pulling away from the edges of the mold. Let the cakes cool to room temperature before removing them from the molds.

For the Candied Lemons and Syrup

Preheat your oven to 225°F. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add water, sugar, and lemon slices in a single layer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the slices are translucent.

Reserve the syrup in a jar or bowl. Place the candied lemons on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Dehydrate them in the oven for 60-90 minutes until they are sticky and golden, but not browned. Keep an eye on them like Cersei keeps an eye on her enemies, adjusting the temperature if they start to brown too quickly.

Once done, let the lemons cool to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container. Keep the syrup chilled until ready to use.

For the Lemon Curd

Set up a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a larger pot with water just beneath the bowl. While the bowl is still cold, whisk together the yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Turn up the heat to medium-high and whisk constantly. This step is all about endurance, much like Sansa’s journey from King’s Landing to Winterfell.

Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color, about 10-15 minutes. It should be the consistency of hollandaise. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Let the curd cool to room temperature, then press a piece of plastic wrap flat on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until cold and thickened – at least three hours. Stir before using.

sansa stark's favorite lemon cake recipe from game of thrones

For the Meringues

Preheat your oven to 225°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tartar. Increase the mixer speed until the egg whites are frothy. Add in the vanilla and salt.

Continue to whip, and when the egg whites are frothy white, start adding sugar 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Allow the sugar to dissolve between each addition. Whip until stiff peaks form and the meringue is smooth and glossy. This process takes about 15-20 minutes at high speed. The meringue should stand up straight without drooping.

Transfer the meringue to a piping bag with a star tip or a petal tip. Pipe into desired shapes on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Bake for 60 minutes, then turn off the heat but HOLD THE DOOR (DON’T OPEN IT!). Allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for the best results.

Assembling the Cakes

Remove the cakes from the molds and place them upright. Fill the cavities with lemon curd up to the sides. Place a candied lemon on the curd, then a meringue on top. Serve right away to prevent the meringues from going soft.

sansa's lemon cakes from game of thrones recipe

Troubleshooting and Tips

  • Thin Batter: If your batter seems too thin, don’t worry. It will thicken as the baking powder and baking soda react with the lemon juice.
  • Overbrowning: If your candied lemons start to brown too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 200°F-250°F.
  • Meringue Troubles: If your meringue isn’t forming stiff peaks, make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are completely clean and free of any grease.
  • Preventing Meringue Softening: Serve the assembled cakes immediately to keep the meringues crisp.
recipe for lemon cakes from game of thrones

Sansa’s lemon cakes are more than just a dessert – they’re a taste of the Seven Kingdoms, rich in story and flavor. Whether you’re watching the new series House of the Dragon or reminiscing about Sansa’s journey in the original Game of Thrones series, these cakes bring a bit of Westeros to your table. With each bite, you’ll be reminded of the elegance and challenges faced by Sansa and the other noble houses. So, gather your ingredients, channel your inner Stark, and create a treat that’s truly fit for royalty. Winter is coming.

Sansa’s Lemon Cakes | Game of Thrones Inspired Recipes

The Starving Chef
These lemon cakes are sweet, tangy, and topped with crispy meringue, perfect for any Game of Thrones fan or Queens alike.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Course Fictional Feasts
Cuisine Game of Thrones
Servings 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

For Lemon Cake

For Candied Lemons and Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 lemons sliced thin

For Lemon Curd

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 4 egg yolks reserve whites for meringues
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

For Meringues

Instructions
 

For the Cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, use a whisk or hand mixer to beat the sugar, vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, and lemon juice until pale in color. Add the lemon zest.
  • While mixing constantly, slowly start adding in the dry ingredients ½ cup at a time. In between, add the eggs and ¼ cup of the buttermilk. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used and mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you stir to make sure everything is mixed properly. The batter will be thin but airy. It will thicken as the baking powder and baking soda react to the acids in the lemon juice.
  • Lightly grease the cake cup molds. Pour the batter about ⅔ of the way full into each cavity. Do not overfill. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, puffed up, and pulling away from the edges of the mold.
  • Let the cakes cool to room temperature. It's easiest to let the cakes cool before removing them from the mold. Chill until ready to assemble. Do not assemble while the cakes are warm.

For the Candied Lemons and Syrup

  • Preheat the oven to 225°F. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the water, sugar, and lemon slices in a single layer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, flipping the slices occasionally, until the slices are translucent. Reserve the syrup in a jar or bowl when done.
  • Place the candied lemons on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, then transfer to the oven and dehydrate for 60-90 minutes. The lemon slices will look sticky and golden but not browned when they are ready. Do not overcook – reduce the temperature to 200°F if the lemons are browning too quickly.
  • Once dehydrated, remove the lemons from the oven and cool to room temperature before moving to an airtight container until ready to assemble. Keep the reserved syrup chilled until ready to assemble.

For the Lemon Curd

  • Make a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl (metal or glass) into a larger pot with water so that the water is just beneath the bowl.
  • While the bowl is cold, whisk together the yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk constantly. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and is pale in color – about 10-15 minutes. It should be about the consistency of hollandaise when ready.
  • Remove the curd from the heat. While it is still hot, add in the slices of butter and stir until they are melted into the curd. Let the curd cool to room temperature, then place a piece of plastic on the surface and press it flat to prevent the air from creating a skin. Chill until cold and thickened – at least three hours. Stir prior to assembly.

For the Meringues

  • Preheat the oven to 225°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites with the cream of tartar. Bring up the speed of the mixer to mix the eggs until frothy. Then add in the vanilla and salt.
  • Continue to whip, and when the eggs are frothy white, start adding in the sugar 1-2 tablespoons at a time – allow the sugar to melt into the egg whites between each addition.
  • Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and the meringue is smooth and glossy. This will take about 15-20 minutes of mixing at high speed. The meringue should stand up straight and not droop over when the whisk is removed.
  • Transfer the meringue to a piping bag with a star tip (for making florets) or a petal tip (to make roses). Pipe the meringue into your desired shapes on parchment or a silicone-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the meringues for 60 minutes, then turn off the heat BUT DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for best results.

Assembling the Cakes

  • Remove the cakes from the molds and place them upright. Brush each cake generously with the reserved lemon syrup. Fill the cavities with lemon curd all the way up to the sides. Place a candied lemon on the curd then a meringue on top. Serve right away to prevent the meringues from going soft. Enjoy with a feast fit for the Seven Kingdoms!
Keyword cupcakes, Game of Thrones, lemon
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Check Out the Original Recipe Posted in April 2016 Below!

I always like to see how I’ve grown as a recipe developer and photographer – one might say “I knew nothing” about anything back then! The following images and text are from the first recipe I made for Sansa’s lemon cakes in 2016. I’d like to think I’ve improved a tiny bit since then. Enjoy this behind the scenes peek at my progress over the last decade!

sansas lemon cakes

What’s Up, Hungry People!

Anyone who’s watched “Game of Thrones” knows that when Sansa Stark finds solace in something, it’s worth giving it a try. Remember when Sansa is in King’s Landing, navigating the tumultuous politics and dangerous plots?

One of her simple joys is a plate of lemon cakes, usually served by her handmaiden, Shae. Even Tyrion Lannister couldn’t resist sending some lemon cakes her way alongside that pigeon pie during their wedding feast!

game of thrones tyrion and sansa
Source: HBO Game of Thrones

A Dessert Worthy of Sansa Stark

The batter we’re working with is unapologetically sweet. And with zesty kicks from lemon and buttermilk, I can understand why Sansa couldn’t resist these cakes. The sour notes of lemon are perfectly balanced by the creamy tanginess of buttermilk, making this cake fit for the nobility of Westeros.

ingredients for lemon cakes

Here’s What You Need

  • Flour: Provides the structure for the cake, giving it a firm but fluffy texture.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the cake and contributes to its moistness. Helps in the browning process.
  • Eggs: Acts as a binding agent, helping the batter hold together, while adding moisture.
  • Buttermilk: Adds a tangy flavor and tenderizes the gluten, making the cake softer.
  • Butter: Adds richness and moisture to the cake, enhancing its flavor.
  • Lemons: Adds a zesty, citrusy flavor; the zest and juice are used for both the batter and glaze.
  • Baking Soda: A leavening agent that helps the cake rise by producing carbon dioxide gas.
  • Baking Powder: Another leavening agent that works with baking soda to give the cake a lift.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a subtle, aromatic flavor that complements the lemony tang.
  • Powdered Sugar: Used in the glaze for sweetness and smoothness, making it easier to drizzle or spread.
  • Heavy Cream: Gives the glaze a creamy, rich texture and dilutes the powdered sugar.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients, a little goes a long way.
mixing batter

Let’s Cook!

First, we’ll bring together the wet ingredients and sugar until they’re light and frothy. You want it to be the consistency of Jaime Lannister’s charm—smooth and engaging. Now, it’s time for some lemon zest. This is the secret weapon that makes these cakes worthy of a Stark.

zest in batter

Creating the Perfect Batter

Start incorporating the flour slowly into the mix. Be mindful not to overmix; we don’t want to “Red Wedding” our batter by driving all the air out of it. Gently fold in the flour until it’s just incorporated. If you’re feeling artistic, you could set aside a few tablespoons of the batter and add food coloring to create little designs at the bottom of each cupcake. I made mini purple flowers with green stems, giving each cupcake a hidden garden of its own!

cupcake batter

Time to Bake!

Pour the batter in 1/3 cup portions into a buttered and floured cupcake tin. Set your oven to medieval hot—just kidding, aim for 350°F—and bake. You’ll know they’re ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, which should be about 25-35 minutes. The cupcakes should have a golden brown top that’s just beginning to show signs of cracking, like the Wall in the North.

baked cupcakes

Glazing and Finishing Touches

Cool the cake completely—this is a dish best served cold, like Arya Stark’s revenge. When the cake is cooled, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, heavy cream, and powdered sugar until a thick glaze forms. Spread or drizzle this “Iron Throne-worthy” glaze across the tops of the cakes.

cupcakes with lemon drizzle

Additional Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Measuring Flour: For the most accurate results, weigh your flour or use the spoon and level method.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your eggs and butter are at room temperature.
  • Zesting Lemons: Zest before juicing for more zest and less hassle.
  • Avoid Overmixing: Mix just until combined to keep your cake light and fluffy.
  • Preheat the Oven: Consistent temperature is key for even rising.
  • Baking Times: Use the toothpick test, not just the clock, to check doneness.
  • Cool Before Glazing: Wait until cakes are cool before glazing.
  • Customizing the Glaze: Adjust the glaze’s thickness by adding more lemon juice or cream if needed.
  • Storing Leftovers: Use an airtight container to keep cakes moist.
  • High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce leavening agents and increase liquids if you’re up high.
sansa lemon cake

And just like that, you’re ready to serve up a feast that even the nobles of King’s Landing would envy. These Sansa-inspired lemon cakes are not only a hit at weddings (hopefully happier ones than we’ve seen on the show!), but they’re also perfect for satisfying your sweet-tooth cravings during a Game of Thrones binge-watch session.

Trust me, these cakes are worth every minute spent in the kitchen. So go on, channel your inner Sansa Stark, and enjoy these citrusy delights right by your own sea or garden—just maybe skip the purple attire.

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