This Lemon Jello Cake is perfect anytime of year, but it’s especially great for Easter and the 4th of July. It’s an easy lemon cake that uses a few shortcuts to speed things up!

a photo of a piece of lemon cake sitting on a white dessert plate with a fork removing a bite from it

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe

Hey guys! It’s Sarah, yes that one who was able to share our road to adoption with your help and the most incredible day when we finally held our baby girl and the miracle of adoption. But today is about lemon jello cake.

I got so excited about this easy lemon cake recipe that I have to warn you that this post not only includes a delicious recipe for lemon jello cake, but it also includes a lot of tangents that you’ll read in the gazillion parenthesis! Writing this down instead of telling it to you personally allows my brain too much time to wander as I write simple sentences.  You will learn the inner-workings of my head!

a photo of a moist piece of lemon jello cake with a bite removed so you can see the inside of the cake

I love lemony food. Everything with lemon tastes fresh—lemonade, lemon squares, pasta lemon cream sauce…Sour Heads (those freshen up your senses pretty quickly). And there is nothing better than a fresh tasting dessert! (Do you want to know how I learned to spell dessert? In elementary school my teacher told me that you want more dessert so you spell it with two “s”es and not one…desert. Shout out to you, school teachers!)

This lemon jello cake is one of our favorite treats. It is the moistest (my sister-in-law’s favorite word…and anything that has the “oi” sound) cake with help from the Lemon Jell-O flavor packet and the icing on top that seeps down through the sponginess (is that a word? I like to make up words) of the cake. And moist cakes are the only way to go.

This lemon jello cake will forever and ever remind me of visiting my grandparents house on Sunday evenings where we would play, talk and eat.  I still see their 50-year-old antique silverware and old plates lining the table before everyone digs in. Food does that, doesn’t it? What recipe do you make that transports you back in time?

a photo of all the ingredients for a lemon jello cake including a cake mix, a packet of lemon jello, eggs, lemons, powdered sugar

Lemon Jello Cake Ingredients

This lemon cake recipe comes together quickly with the help of a few shortcuts. I love homemade cakes, but simpler family recipes like this one are great to have on hand too! Here’s what you’ll need to make this cake mix lemon cake recipe:

  • Lemon Cake Mix: We prefer Duncan Hines brand, but any brand will work great.
  • Eggs: Adds structure to the cake.
  • Water: Adds moisture and helps activate the jello making the cake extra moist
  • Oil: The fat that keeps the cake moist and tender.
  • Lemon Jello: You will use just the jello powder and be sure it isn’t sugar free
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is an absolute must!
  • Powdered Sugar: Adds all the sweetness to the icing

The measurements for all the ingredients can found down below so keep scrolling down to the recipe card for all the details.

a photo of a full 9x13 cake pan full of a bright yellow lemon cake

How to Make Lemon Jello Cake

Want to know why this is the best lemon cake recipe ever? Because it’s also the easiest! Here are the basic steps for making this lemon poke cake:

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Mix: Add the boxed cake mix, eggs, water, oil and jello powder to a stand mixer and mix until just combined.
  3. Pour: Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake: Place the cake into the oven and bake for 27-30 minutes.
  5. Whisk: While the cake is baking, whisk the ingredients together for the icing.
  6. Poke: When the cake is done, poke holes it all over with a fork while it is still hot.
  7. Pour: Spread the lemon glaze all over the top of the cake being sure to spread it to every corner of the cake.

It really couldn’t be easier, right?! These instructions can also be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

a photo of a piece of moist lemon jello cake sitting on a small white dessert plate

Watch this Cake Be Made…

Why Did My Cake Fall in the Middle?

There are several potential causes for fallen cakes, and happily, there are also several solutions.

  1. Whether it’s too much or too little, incorrect moisture can cause problems in your cake baking. If there is too little moisture in a cake, it can fall in the center. However, too much moisture can also affect a cake.
  2. If you forgot to add the eggs at the right time and then added them later figuring “eh, it will be fine,” you might pay the price for your laissez-faire attitude with a fallen cake. Be sure to read the recipe first.
  3. Your oven could be to blame. Even if the temperature is set correctly on the dial, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the temperature inside of your oven. Check it periodically with a heatproof thermometer to make sure that the temperature you’ve set it on is actually the temperature inside of the oven.
  4. The cake may have puffed up and looked golden on top, but when you take it out of the oven it sinks and turns gummy in the middle. You probably didn’t bake long enough. Don’t depend on a visual cue to detect doneness; you should also insert a skewer or cake tester to make sure it comes out mostly clean. 
a photo taken over the top of a piece of lemon jello cake with small slices of lemon on top

Tips for Making Lemon Jello Poke Cake

You can use any lemon cake mix you’d like, but we typically stick to good ol’ Duncan Hines. But if there’s another brand you love, use that instead!

A few readers have suggested adding lemon zest into the cake and lemon icing. We haven’t tried this ourselves (yet!), but it sounds delicious.

Readers have also suggested using a mixture of orange and lemon jello in the cake mix or a mixture of orange and lemon juice in the icing. Again, both suggestions sound wonderful. I just wanted to mention these tips in case any of you are looking for ways to amp up the lemon jello cake!

a photo of a whole 9x13 lemon cake in a white ceramic baking dish

Does Jello Cake Need to Be Refrigerated?

Normally, jello poke cakes need to be refrigerated because you’re pouring stuff over the cake and adding whipped cream, but this lemon jello poke cake is another story. Because the jello is baked into the cake and just a glaze is placed over the top you really don’t need to refrigerate it. Yay!!! Although, it’s actually really yummy both warm and cold, so do as you please. Store it in the fridge if you want!

a photo of a slice of bright yellow lemon jello cake sitting on a small white dessert plate

Can You Freeze Lemon Jello Cake?

Because this isn’t a poke cake you can freeze jello cake! Lemon jello cake needs to be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap after it has cooled completely. It’s going to stay good for up to 3 months.

a photo of a piece of lemon cake with a bite being removed from the corner with a silver fork

This delicious lemon jello cake is perfect for any occasion. With a tangy lemon flavor and a light, fluffy texture, it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Plus, check out our step-by-step video to see every part of the process!

More LEMON DESSERTS to Make:

More CAKE RECIPES You Have to Try:

Lemon Jello Cake

4.25 from 209 votes
Servings: 12 -16
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes

Description

This Lemon Jello Cake is perfect anytime of year, but it's especially great for Easter and the 4th of July. It's an easy lemon cake that uses a few shortcuts to speed things up!

Ingredients 

For the Cake

  • 1 Box Lemon Cake Mix, regular size
  • 4 Eggs, large
  • 1 1/3 Cups Water
  • 2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Package Lemon Jello, small box — 3 oz

For the Icing

  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Instructions

Make the Jello Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and sprinkle with flour.
  • Tip and tap the edges of the cake pan to coat it with flour.
  • In the bowl of a mixer, mix the cake mix, eggs, water, oil and jello powder together.
    1 Box Lemon Cake Mix, 4 Eggs, 1 1/3 Cups Water, 2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil, 1 Package Lemon Jello
  • Pour into the greased and floured pan.
  • Bake for 27-30 minutes. While the cake is in the oven, prep the icing (see instructions below).
  • When cake is done, prick with a fork while still hot.
  • Immediately pour lemon icing over top.

Make the Lemon Icing:

  • In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth.
    2 Lemons, 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Notes

*Note that you must use regular Jello (i.e. not sugar-free or another alternative). 
Store covered, at room temperature, or may be stored in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 375kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 4gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 364mgFiber: 1gSugar: 37g
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 500+ Best Dessert Recipes, America’s Best 4th of July Desserts, Recipes and Sides, Easy Cake Recipes For Beginners, Over 100 Easter Recipes for Spring
Cuisine: American

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Lemon Jello Cake on a white plate on top of a white napkin on a wooden table.
Slice of Lemon Jello Cake on a white serving plate.
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Slice of Lemon Jello Cake on top of a napkin with a silver fork.
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Lemon Jello Cake on a white plate on top of a white napkin on a wooden table.