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Summer’s almost here, and there’s no better way to indulge in a bite of sunshine than with this Lemon Sheet Cake! Made with store-bought cake and pudding mixes, this sheet cake is as easy as it is delicious. The lemony icing on top of the moist cake makes for the best zesty bite!
To me, spring and summer always mean something very important – it’s time for lemons! Lemon chicken, lemon juice in salads, extra lemons in my water, and plenty of sweet lemon desserts are what fills my kitchen during the warm, sunny months.
While this recipe predominantly uses store-bought lemony ingredients, there’s also plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice in the mix to give each bite a touch of natural lemon flavor as well. Just make sure you’re using freshly squeezed lemon juice (and grated zest) to really get the best tangy flavor!
Store-bought cake and pudding mixes usually aren’t found in my favorite recipes, but this sheet cake recipe is one of the exceptions. It’s moist, deliciously lemony, and tastes homemade! The combination of the cake and pudding mixes yields a pretty incredible consistency, and the sweet, zesty icing on top pairs perfectly with the summery cake.
What You’ll Need:
For the cake:
- Yellow Cake Mix – This specific kind of cake mix helps with the overall yellow color, and the sweetness of it balances well with the tart lemon flavors.
- Lemon Pudding Mix – Any brand will do, just make sure it’s lemon flavored!
- Lemon Juice – Squeeze those lemons, and do NOT buy the bottled stuff!
- Eggs – I like using free-range organic eggs in all of my recipes.
- Butter – It should be unsalted and melted.
For the icing:
- Powdered Sugar – No icing would be complete without it! Don’t substitute this with any other type of sugar.
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon Zest
How to Make Lemon Sheet Cake
For more detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post.
Make the batter. Combine all of the ingredients for the cake batter in a mixing bowl.
Bake. Pour the batter into a prepared sheet pan and bake the cake for 20 minutes at 350°F.
Cool and ice. While the cake is cooling, make the icing by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Once the cake has cooled, ice it… And make sure to lick the spoon when you’re done, of course!
Enjoy! Slice, serve, and enjoy your iced Lemon Sheet Cake.
Is my batter supposed to be thick? Yes! The batter will be fairly thick, so when you pour it into a pan, you’ll need to smooth it out with a spatula. That way, the cake bakes into a single smooth sheet with no bumps or uneven sections.
I like lemon but not TOO much lemon, can I do something to bring down the intensity of the lemon flavor? Yes, I recommend using milk instead of lemon juice in your icing and leaving out the zest.
Can I make this in a 12X18 sheet pan? Yes, you can. The batter will just spread out more and the cake will be thinner. You will want to adjust the baking time slightly and check the cake at 15 minutes because it will cook a but faster.
Can I use bottled lemon juice for this recipe? I always recommend using fresh lemon juice if possible but if you don’t want to squeeze THAT MANY lemons, you can use bottled of course but I recommend baking with the bottled juice and squeezing a couple for the icing. The difference in taste is very noticeable in the icing.
How long will Lemon Sheet Cake stay fresh? In an airtight container at room temperature, this cake will stay nice and fresh for about 3 days.
Brighten up your kitchen with my favorite lemon dessert recipes!
Lemon Sheet Cake
For the cake:
- 1 box of yellow cake mix, (15.25 ounces)
- ¼ cup (5 g) unmixed (dry) lemon pudding mix
- ¾ cup (178 ml) lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- ⅓ cup (76 g) unsalted butter, melted
For the icing:
- 4 cups (480 g) powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F (177 °C) and prepare a 9X13 inch oven-safe cake pan using a non-stick spray (I prefer one with flour in it, such as Baker’s Joy) or you may use parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix, dry pudding mix, lemon juice, eggs and melted butter using a stand or handheld mixer. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the dry ingredients.
- The batter will be fluffy and a bit thick. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and use a spatula to smooth and even out the batter. Make sure the batter is even throughout, because of its density, it won’t automatically level out.
- Bake for 20 minutes and check for doneness using a toothpick. If the toothpick doesn’t come out clean, bake for 3-5 minutes more or until set. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan.
- While the cake is cooling, make the icing glaze. In a large bowl add the powdered sugar, lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Use a stiff whisk or mixer to blend together and add the last tablespoon of lemon juice if needed. You want a spreadable icing that is thick but will still pour. If the icing becomes too thin and runs easily, add more powdered sugar until you achieve the right consistency.
- Once the cake has cooled, you can pour the icing glaze over it in the pan and cut it. Or you can remove the cake from the pan, place it on a serving tray, cut it, then pour on and lightly spread the icing.
- Top with lemon slices and serve.
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