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Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

48 Reviews

This lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting has a soft crumb and is packed with delicious lemon flavor. The cream cheese frosting is sweet and tangy, making it the perfect pairing for the lemon cake!

slice of lemon cake topped with lemon frosting on white plate

Easy Lemon Cake Recipe (From Scratch!)

I absolutely love lemon desserts. Lemon tastes bright and sunshine-y, and I think the slight tang is so delicious in cakes and cupcakes.

So today I’m sharing this lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. It’s a moist lemon cake made in a 9×13-inch pan that’s frosted with a tangy lemon cream cheese frosting. It’s an easy lemon cake recipe, and it takes much less effort than making lemon cupcakes or a lemon layer cake.

What I loved so much about this easy lemon cake recipe is that the lemon flavor tastes bright and fresh, without being tart or bitter. It’s deliciously sunny, and flavorful without being overpowering. If you love lemon desserts, this lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting is the perfect recipe for you.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

slice of homemade lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting on white plate

What’s Needed to Make Homemade Lemon Cake? 

To make the lemon cake from scratch, you’ll need: 

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sour cream
  • Buttermilk
  • Lemon juice and zest

And to make the lemon frosting, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Milk

glass bowl filled with lemon cake frosting

How to Make Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting

This homemade lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting is a cinch to make! Here are the basic steps to mastering this recipe: 

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar. 
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. 
  3. Beat in the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk. 
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and zest before turning the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. 
  5. Bake the homemade lemon cake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Once the cake has fully cooled, make the lemon cake frosting and spread it over the cake. 

Can I Cut This Recipe in Half? 

You probably can! You’d need to halve the ingredients and bake the lemon cake in an 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan. The baking time may be slightly reduced, but I can’t say for certain. 

How to Store Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting

Because the lemon cake frosting contains dairy, I recommend storing this cake in the fridge. Wrap it in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out! 

slice of homemade lemon cake on white plate with fork

Tips for Making the Best Lemon Cake

In lightly flavored cakes such as vanilla or lemon, I like to use real butter rather than a butter substitute because it adds more flavor.

Also, make sure to use fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice from the bottle is too tart and doesn’t produce the best results.

Lastly, be careful not to over mix your cake batter or else your homemade lemon cake can end up tough. Having all the ingredients at room temperature before getting started helps with this.

More LEMON DESSERT RECIPES: 

Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

This lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting has a soft cake crumb and delicious lemon flavor. The cream cheese frosting is smooth & creamy for the perfect pairing.

Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

4.09 from 48 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 18
This lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting has a soft crumb and is packed with delicious lemon flavor. The cream cheese frosting is sweet and tangy, making it the perfect pairing for the lemon cake!

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream , at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest , freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (use 1/3 cup for a stronger lemon flavor)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
  • 8 oz brick-style cream cheese , softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar , sifted
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt , to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk (as needed)

Instructions

Make the Lemon Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Then beat in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the sour cream.
  • Turn the mixer down to low speed and carefully beat in the flour mixture followed by the buttermilk.
  • Turn off the mixer and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 27-33 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool fully before frosting.

Make the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until evenly mixed together.
  • Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Beat in the lemon juice and salt and a teaspoon of milk if needed.
  • Frost the cooled cake using a flat edge knife.

Notes

  • For easier frosting, you can also chill the cake in the fridge or freezer prior to frosting. 
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Polyunsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 96mg32%
Sodium 238mg10%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 43g48%
Protein 5g10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting has a soft cake crumb and delicious lemon flavor. The cream cheese frosting is smooth & creamy for the perfect pairing.

Make sure to visit my blog or connect over social media for more recipes & tasty treats! Fiona Dowling - Blogger at JustSoTasty.com

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating




16 comments

  • Can i use cake flour instead of AP?

    • Reply
    • Yup!! 🙂

      • Reply
  • Can you bake the lemon cake in Bundt 
     Pan? Temperature and Time?
     Can’t wait to taste this “lemon”
      “ heaven” cake!

    • Reply
    • Yes absolutely! Time and temperature should be the same. It may need a few minutes longer. I would start with 30min and then check it. Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • The recipe seems delicious! If I wanted to make a smaller cake, could I just cut all the ingredients in half without affecting the taste? Please let me know, thank you!

    • Reply
    • Yes, that should work in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. The bake time will probably be a little less too.

      • Reply
  • I enjoyed your web site with all the beautiful photos!
    I will cook the sweets!

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much!

      • Reply
  • This was delicious! Unfortunately I ruined the frosting by using powdered sugar that I made myself instead of store bought. I have a question, does the cake have to be refrigerated, or is it ok for it to be left out on the counter for days? 

    • Reply
    • Since there is dairy in the frosting, it should be refrigerated. If you don’t frost it right away, it could be left on the counter for a few days.

      • Reply
  • Do you think I could bake two cakes and turn them into a 9 x 13 layer cake, or would it be too much? Thanks

    • Reply
  • Yummy! I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
    • Enjoy!

      • Reply
    • Can I make this in two 9” cake pans for a round layer cake?

      • Reply
      • Sure can!!

  • hey girl- this looks so yummy! I want it for my 40th (what?) Birthday next month!!

    • Reply

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