piece of lemon cake with white frosting and lemon peel on top on metal spatula

This easy lemon cake is made in a 9×13 inch pan with 2 frosting options – choose between a simple lemon glaze or lemon buttercream frosting. Lemon sheet cake is moist, tangy, and bursting with fresh lemon flavor.

Where are my fellow cake lovers?!

There is no hiding that I like cake.

I’m intentionally adding more “sheet cake” recipes to our collection. I think of a sheet cake as any cake that is made in a single pan – that could be an 8×8, 9×13, or 10.5×15.5 inch pan.

Sheet cake recipes are easy and quick, something you could make and frost in under 2 hours. Plus, a lot of that time is not active time, it includes the time the cake needs to bake and cool.

lemon cake with white frosting and lemon peels cut into pieces

Easy Lemon Cake Ingredients

all purpose flour: flour is necessary to build structure
baking powder: helps to leaven and lift the batter, reacts with the lemon juice
salt: just a pinch to balance the sweetness and enhances the other flavors of the cake
granulated sugar: adds sweetness and flavor
lemon zest: adds bold lemon flavor
eggs: binds the cake together by providing structure
milk: adds moisture
sour cream: adds moisture and creaminess
vanilla extract: adds flavor
fresh lemon juice: adds bright lemon flavor and tenderizes the cake

How to Make Lemon Cake from Scratch

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon zest, stir, set aside.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice.
  3. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing by hand with a spatula.
  4. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and spread smooth with a spatula.
  5. Bake then cool completely before adding the frosting.

how to make lemon cake collage

How Long Does it Take to Make Lemon Sheet Cake?

  • 10 minutes to prep the batter
  • 27-30 minutes to bake the cake
  • 1 hour, at least, to cool the cake
  • 15 minutes to make and frost the cake

Lemon Cake Frosting

Choose between a lemon buttercream frosting or a simple lemon glaze.

The lemon buttercream frosting is creamy and bright. The lemon glaze is more tangy and fresh. Both options are listed in the recipe section.
piece of lemon cake with lemon glaze on blue floral plate on wood background

How to Make Gluten Free Lemon Cake

I have made this cake multiple times with King Arthur’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour with great success. I use that brand of flour as a one for one substitute for regular all purpose flour.

Tips for Making Cake

  • Properly measure the all purpose flour using the spoon and sweep method.
  • Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until they are combined. Over mixing could lead to dry, dense cake.
  • Store this cake covered on the counter.

piece of lemon cake with lemon frosting on white plate with lemons in the background

More Recipes Using Lemon

Lemon Sugar Cookies
Lemon Blueberry Dump Cake
Lemon Blueberry Angel Food Cake
Lemon Cupcakes


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Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake

Yield: 9x13 inch cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

This easy lemon cake is made in a 9x13 inch pan with 2 frosting options - choose between a simple lemon glaze or lemon buttercream frosting. Lemon sheet cake is moist, tangy, and bursting with fresh lemon flavor.

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 2 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (this is about 2 lemons)

Lemon Frosting or Lemon Glaze - you pick!

  • Choose between a lemon buttercream frosting or a simple lemon glaze. The lemon buttercream frosting is creamy and bright. The lemon glaze is more tangy and fresh.

Lemon Frosting

  • 3 sticks (1 & 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (this is about 1 & 1/2 lemons)
  • 3 & 1/2 -4 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Lemon Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

Lemon Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon zest.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Whisk lightly.
  5. Gently combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula until combined.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 27-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool before adding the frosting.

Lemon Frosting or Lemon Glaze - you pick!


Lemon Frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy and whipped.
  2. Add in the lemon juice, beat again.
  3. Gradually add the powered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until everything is incorporated. 

Lemon Glaze

  1. In a bowl combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the powdered sugar is incorporated and the consistency is runny.
  2. Pour the glaze over the cake. You can choose to let the glaze set before cutting or not.

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