Deliciously Easy Lemon Cake Recipe

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How to make my family’s favorite summer dessert, lemon cake. Easy recipe anyone can make for a moist, fluffy dessert covered in a citrus-y lemon glaze.

My mom and grandma must have both had the same lemon cake recipe, because growing up, I remember both of them making this cake. Lemon cake is a family favorite, as are lemon cupcakes, lime vanilla poke cake cupcakes, and lemon poke cake (without the pudding).

slice of lemon cake on white plate with slice of lemon on top

Easy means this is a cake mix recipe. Don’t worry, though, because it’s more than just a cake mix.

My favorite thing about this cake is the lemon glaze that creates a slightly crispy top and then soaks down into the cake. Just like my strawberry Jello cake, this is a poke cake too.

lemon poke cake in a cake pan

I’m going to show you how to make it, and then below you’ll find the printable recipe so you can make it too. It’s a very quick and easy summer dessert, my kind of recipe. Like my favorite yellow cake recipe, lemon cake is perfect for your next church potluck or outdoor cookout.

slice of easy lemon cake summer dessert on white plate with slices of lemon

Gather your ingredients for a lemon cake recipe:

slice of lemon cake on white plate with slice of lemon and a fork

Tips for how to make lemon cake:

Pre-heat the oven to 350°.

First you’ll mix the cake mix and the instant pudding mix together. Then add in the eggs and water, beating everything together for about 2 minutes.

lemon cake recipe batter in Bosch mixer

Add the canola oil; then beat for another 2 minutes.

Pour the cake batter into a rectangular 13″x9″ cake pan, and smooth it out evenly in the pan with a spatula. Place it in the oven and bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

piece of lemon cake on white plate with slice of lemon

How to make a lemon glaze for your cake:

Meanwhile, mix up the lemon glaze.

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice, which will create a really thin glaze, creating a lemon drizzle cake.
  • When the cake is done and while it’s still hot, poke it all over with a fork.

poking holes in lemon poke cake with a fork

  • Then pour or spoon on the glaze and spread it evenly over the cake.

pouring lemon glaze on lemon drizzle cake

The glaze will soak down into the cake, creating a really moist texture to the cake and a slightly crunchy top layer. It’s so good! 

close up slice of lemon pudding cake with slightly crispy lemon glaze and slice of lemon on white plate

Looking for more scrumptious cake recipes?

Carrot Sheet Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Pumpkin Pear Spice Cake

Chocolate Cake

Gooey Butter Cake

slice of lemon cake with bite on fork

Kitchen tools you may need to make lemon pudding cake:

Mixer – I use my mixer just about every time I bake anything.

Cake Pan – You’ll need a 13″x9″ rectangular cake pan for this cake.

Spatula – Where would I be without my spatulas? I have a whole slew of them because we’re ALWAYS using them.

Cake Tester – Dan bought me a cake tester awhile back, and I’ll tell ya, it’s come in so handy! Although a toothpick works really well too.

slice of easy lemon cake on white plate with fork

 

Yield: 15 people

Deliciously Easy Lemon Cake Recipe

Deliciously Easy Lemon Cake Recipe

How to make my family’s favorite summer dessert, lemon cake. Easy recipe anyone can make for a moist, fluffy dessert covered in a citrus-y lemon glaze.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 3.4 ounces lemon instant pudding mix
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup canola oil

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

Cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Mix together the cake mix and the instant pudding mix. 
  3. Then add in the eggs and water, beating everything together for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the canola oil; then beat for another 2 minutes. 
  5. Pour the cake batter into a rectangular 13"x9" cake pan, and smooth it out evenly in the pan with a spatula.
  6. Place it in the oven and bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice, which will create a really thin glaze, creating a lemon drizzle cake.
  2. When the cake is done and while it's still hot, poke it all over with a fork.
  3. Then pour or spoon on the glaze and spread it evenly over the cake.
  4. The glaze will soak down into the cake, creating a really moist texture to the cake and a slightly crunchy top layer. It's so good!
  5. And it's now ready to serve and enjoy!

Notes

You can substitute 4 ounces of frozen lemonade concentrate for the lemon juice. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

15

Serving Size:

15 people

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313 Saturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 284mg Carbohydrates: 50g Sugar: 30g Protein: 1g

lemon cake from above with sliced lemon

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published on June 28, 2012, but was re-published with bigger photos and more details in June of 2018.

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21 thoughts on “Deliciously Easy Lemon Cake Recipe”

  1. i am so happy to have found this recipe. my mom made this all the time for my dad. and all of her recipes where lost after she passed, so i am slowly but surely rebuilding it. thank you so very much for sharing, i am off to look through the rest of your recipes to see if you have anything else i need.

    • Heather, thanks so much. You are so welcome. My mom and grandma both made this cake all the time, and it was one of my favorite desserts. I hope you enjoy!

  2. I have been searching for this cake for two years until I tried your recipe and its been a success every since. Thank you for the perfect lemon crunch cake recipe. May God keep blessing your ideas.

  3. I need a recipe that I can make and travel with, I will be driving on a 5 hour trip. Do you think this would be ok to make a day ahead and to take with me on a trip?

    • Kathy, I’ve actually made it a day ahead before. I’ve only traveled to church potluck or family dinner with it, but it seems to travel well. I do like to keep ours in the fridge or cooler; it just stays fresh that way.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh Mel! Thank you so much for the recipe! My Mother and Grandmother always made this lemon cake. I’ve been searching for Mom’s recipe for a year now. We can’t find it! This is it! Thank you again! Your a life saver!

  5. Thank you for sharing this on Waste Not Wednesday-Faeries and Fauna. I have always wanted to make a lemon cake, and this looks very doable and delicious!

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