Lemon Jello Cake [+ Video]


This Lemon Jello Cake is perfect for anytime of the year. The fresh tastes of summer or to brighten the winter holiday meals.


Why Does 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: also insert a skewer or cake tester to make sure it comes out mostly clean.


Lemon Jello Cake on a white plate on top of a white napkin on a wooden table.


Lemon Jello Cake

Hey guys! It’s Sarah, yes that one that 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.


Slice of Lemon Jello Cake on a white serving plate.


I got so excited about this recipe that I have to warn you that this post not only includes a delicious recipe for Lemon Jello Cake (not to be confused with Strawberry 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!


Slices of Lemon Jello Cake on a large white plate and slice of lemon jello cake on a small white plate on top of a white napkin.


I love lemony food. Everything with lemon tastes fresh—lemonade, lemon squares, pasta lemon cream sauce…sourheads (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!)


How to Make Moist Lemon Jello Cake

This Lemon Jell-O Cake is one of our favorites.  It is the moistest (my sister-in-laws 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.


 Slice of Lemon Jello Cake on top of a napkin with a silver fork.


Family Recipes

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?


Does Jello Cake Need to be Refrigerated?

 Jello poke cakes need to be refrigerated because you’re pouring the stuff over the cake and adding whipped cream, but this lemon jello 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.

Can You Freeze Jello Cake?

Because this isn’t a poke cake you can freeze jello cake! Yay!!! 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 weeks!


How to Make Lemon Jello Cake Video


More CAKE RECIPES You Have to Try:

Lemon Jello Cake

Slice of Lemon Jello Cake on a white plate.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate this Recipe
4.65 from 57 votes

Lemon Jello Cake

This Lemon Jello Cake is perfect for anytime of the year. The fresh tastes of summer or to brighten the winter holiday meals.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time27 mins
Total Time37 mins
Course: 500+ Best Dessert Recipes
Keyword: cake, dessert, jello, lemon
Servings: 12 -16
Calories: 375kcal
Author: Sweet Basil



  • 1 lemon cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 regular package lemon jello small box-3 oz


  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a cake pan 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 together.
  • Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan.
  • Bake at 350* for 27-30 minutes. While the cake is in the oven, prep the icing (see instructions below).
  • When cake is done, prick with 2 tined fork while still hot.
  • Immediately pour lemon icing over top.
  • Icing
  • In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth.



Serving: 1g | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 364mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g
Tried this recipe?Mention @OhSweetBasil or tag #OhSweetBasil!
alt description.

Slice of Lemon Jello Cake on top of a decorative plate with a silver fork.

Picture collage - slices of Lemon Jello Cake on white plates


Chocolate Sheet Cake

 Mom’s classic Texas sheet cake recipe!Slice of Chocolate Sheet Cake on top of a decorative plate.

Chocolate Banana Cake

Moist banana cake with a chocolate twist!
Two Slices of Chocolate Banana Cake on white napkins on top of a wooden table.

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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142 comments on “Lemon Jello Cake [+ Video]”

  1. Do I add a small box of Jell-o or the larger one?

  2. Perfection!! Would suggest that you have a MEANWHILE note mentioned in instructions….after cake is in the oven to prepare the ‘icing’…yeah, SEEMS obvious…..could be added at the Icing Directions first? Letting the cake cool while you build icing is a typical response…oh, and lemon zest in the icing is scrump!

  3. This was delicious! Thank you so much! 

  4. Made this in cupcake form for St. Patrick’s day this weekend. Pineapple orange jello, rainbow sprinkles, and neon green food coloring, lemon cream cheese frosting! A few changes to your recipe but turned out amazing! Lots of compliments! Thanks!

  5. This was so delicious! I wanted something easy for my husband’s birthday, loved the glaze and the flavor from the jello. I served this with whipped cream, can’t wait to make again!

  6. Please add.me to the
    Ohsweetbasil site

  7.  Oh my gosh! I’m 58 years old, and my grandmother made the same cake. I have been trying to figure out what it was, and I saw your post. What a godsend! 

    However , she used both oranges and lemons and equal amounts for the glaze, and put some of the orange and lemon zest in both the cake and the icing. You might want to give that a try! Thanks again for giving me the particulars which I have long forgotten .

  8. Do the 15.25 oz. cake mixes work? I find I need to open two cake mixes and measure out more cake mix to use with my older cake recipes. 

    The cake mixes used to be over 18 oz a few years back and before that around 20 oz. What are you doing with your old family recipes?

    • Hi Kathleen! We have been using the new size of cake mix and they have been working just fine. I still wish they would stop changing the size of things and then still charging the same for them if not more! Enjoy this cake! It is so yummy!

  9. This lemon cake sounds wonderful!  What lemon cake brand do you prefer?

  10. Do you think this cake would work topped with blueberry pie filling. before serving?

  11. I don’t see vanilla extract in the recipe .. is that right? I want to make this cake for a going away party & needing to make sure I have everything. I use to have this recipe & I thought it also had vanilla extract. I lost the recipe & so happy to find it today !!

  12. I made this Lemon Jello Cake gluten free using King Arthur’s GF yellow cake mix. I followed the rest of recipe ingredients for the cake exactly and it turned out great! I did however have to bake it an extra 10 minutes before a toothpick came out clean but that’s not surprising with GF baking. For the icing I used bottled lemon juice (4 tablespoons) instead of fresh and still delicious! I also wanted to comment that I think it tastes even better the next day. Even more moist and lemony. Next time I make for a party I’ll do it a day ahead. Thank you for sharing! 

  13. Do you think I could use a sheet pan for this? Maybe just not cook it as long and keep a close eye on it? Looking for a thin lemon cake!

  14. Pingback: Blackberry Lemon Dump Cake - Inside BruCrew Life

  15. The recipe calls for “juice of 2 lemons”.  I find lemons can produce very different amounts of juice. Roughly, what would the measurement be?

  16. Can U adjust ingredients to makec it Gluten free?

  17. I guess I’m the Grandma others talk about from past memories. I have been making this for years. It’s a family favorite. So refreshing. I love reading the comments AND your answers. I have learned some options, like cupcakes!  Great idea. I’m keeping this so I can refer back for ideas. Looking forward to seeing your other recipes. Btw, do you have any recipe for sugar free fudge?  Thank you again for reminding me to go make this. Now, I can’t wait. 

  18. This cake looks amazing. I am on my way to the store to get the ingredients!

  19. Hey . Sound good cook

  20. Will this work ok with sugar free jello? Thank you

  21. This sounds like a cake my grandfather used to make. Unfortunately someone borrowed my recipe card and didn’t return it so I haven’t made it for years. Grampa always made it in a Bundt pan. Can your recipe be baked in a Bundt pan?

  22. This cake is amazing,looks beautiful,tastes delious, and so moist. My teenage grandson devoured three pieces. Thanks will be making this again. I love all things lemon and this is the best.

  23. I made this cake with german lemon cake mix, it worked really well. Definitly needs less water and oil than the original recipe but it came out perfect. I used the included bag of powdered sugar and added lemon juice and some water. Love it 🙂

  24. Messed up and used lemon pudding mix instead of jello! I guess that’s what happens when you bake after midnight! :] It took a little  longer to bake… maybe 7-10 minutes. I just took it out of the oven and it was worth the wait.. looks and smells amazing! Just made your pineapple crush cake on Wednesday (Literally heaven in your mouth!) and the hubby ate almost the entire pan by himself. It was amazing! 

    Thank you so much, you are truly an inspiration!

  25. I want to make this cake, I bought instant lemon pudding, thinking that’s what the recipe called for.  Would the pudding work in place of the jello?

  26. Pingback: Lemon Butter Bundt Cake - melissassouthernstylekitchen.com

  27. Made this cake for a dinner I have tomorrow had a lil slice and it was really good..keeping this recipe around for future bakes..can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.

  28. Everybody who likes this cake always references their Grandma.  Me too!  That’s where my sis & I remember first enjoying it some 50 yrs ago.  It’s been some years since we’ve had it, but I’m so sure we’ll love it that I’m baking two tonight.  Why mess around?!  Thanks for sharing!

  29. My elementary school teacher taught us the difference between desert and dessert was…desert is made of sand and dessert is a strawberry sundae. I work in a nursing home kitchen and the next day I am the prep cook I am going to make this cake. I am always looking for something new for dessert and this looks sooo good! Thanks so much! Sandy

  30. Ok, so time for a stupid question. Is the jello supposed to be prepared as directed on the box or does the powder go into the bowl to be mixed with everything else. I’m assuming it’s the latter. Thank

  31. The lemon cake was awesome my husband ate the hole cake in three days it’s his favorite!

  32. Can I make this as a bundt cake?

  33. I wanted to do this in several flavors and Lemon was my 1st thought.. i love lemon.. Since I am preparing several different flavors, how would I do the different flavor icings? I’d like to do Lemon,Strawberry, Orange and maybe Coconut????? Pineapple?? Thanks!!

  34. I too have been making this wonderful cake for years (since 1973).  My grandmother made the orange jello version, which is my husband’s FAVORITE dessert of all, and it’s been in the family ever since.  I love the orange cake but I love anything lemon too. I always use to make the 9 x 13 size, but now I usually make it in 2 loaf pans 5 1/4″ x 9 1/4″ and share it with friends & family.  I’m always asked for the recipe!!  In answer to one of the questions, yes, you can make cupcakes with this recipe. Besides orange and lemon, there is a strawberry version which is my S-I-L’s favorite.  You can find it online, just google Strawberry Jello cake.

  35. Pingback: Lemon Bar Cookie Cups Recipe | Barbara Bakes

  36. I too have made this cake for over 40 years and it is always a winner. Just be prepared for everyone wanting the recipe. 

  37. Could this be done with orange?

  38. 5 stars
    I was introduced to this recipe 20 years ago by my in laws. It is a classic! Super easy and reminds me of big, crazy family dinners every time. A true keeper!!

  39. Does this cake need to be refrigerated after making?

  40. This looks delicious. Do you think it would work as cupcakes?

  41. Love this cake, haven’t made it in years, now for my question: is this the new smaller size cake mix or will it make any differance?

    • It actually will work with the original and this size which is a good thing because the changing of sizes in cake mixes has messed with a few recipes I grew up with. 🙁

  42. hey girl- this cake looks amazing!

  43. 5 stars
    I have been making this cake for over 40 years it is still one of my favorites. One of my nieces asks for this every holiday and I finally just gave her the recipe so that she can make it at any time. My only recommendation is to use a hand mixer for both the cake and the topping as it makes for a much better consistency. I also have a rather large meat fork (I think it might be half of a turkey lifting set) with about 6 to 7 long tines that I use for making the holes. I also refrigerate the cake and right before serving dust with more powdered sugar.

  44. I made this and it is delicious! The only thing I did different was to use melted butter in the cake mix when I realized I didn’t have any oil. Very moist and tangy and sweet. Very good!

  45. 5 stars
    Have you ever tried adding some lemon zest to either the cake or the icing?

  46. Found you on Pinterest and saved you. Made this cake over the weekend and expected it to last at least 2-3 days. Nope! Gone in under 24 hrs. I only got two pieces, bf devoured the rest. Making it again tonight and pondering places to hide the finished cake. Such a great recipe and so easy. Thanks for sharing.

  47. 5 stars
    I made this today and it was very yummy! With each serving I let people put whip cream on top and add strawberries and/or blueberries at will. It was a hit with everyone!

  48. 5 stars
    My husbnd and his grandmother adored each other. She always made him his favorite lemon cake. I tried to get the recipe from her, promising never to make it until after she died. But she never gave it to me. I knew it had a cake mix and jello in it, but I could never duplicate it. Never moist enough. This had comments from generations that remember from her age grouping so I thought maybe this is it!!! HOPE!!! It is it!! Thank you so much. My husband was almost in tears after the first bite – ‘ it’ Gram’s recipe.” You will never know how long I’ve hunted or how happy you made my husband. THANK YOU ! HUGS!

  49. Would adding Pastry Pride whipped topping be ok, or would it be too much?

  50. This looks wonderful! Do you think substituting lemon pudding for jell-o would work ok?

  51. My family has been making this cake since the early 1960’s. It was called a Yum Yum cake.

  52. this looks so yummy and refreshing! I bet in the summer it’d be good with fresh sliced strawberries on top!! Can’t wait to try it this summer when the strawberries come back in!

  53. 5 stars
    I have been unable to bake this for many years because of my health but a birthday request has been made. I will try and look forward to its deliciousness. Glad I saw this page.

  54. I was thinking about putting a different lemon topping on it. Any ideas? We love lemon, but not if it is too sugary.

  55. How much lemon juice would you use from the container if you don’t have lemons

  56. What size pan did you use? Is glass pan ok? Hubby loves lemon anything

  57. 5 stars
    made this for family dinner, everyone loved it. Two of the men had 3 pieces each,lol. I got a tiny piece. My niece wanted recipe,she made it quite a few times already! Thank you for such a easy ,delicious desert.

  58. I have a bottle of real lemon in my refrig, can it be substituted for the juice of the lemons in the icing??

  59. I just made this last night for the first time. The whole family is raving over it. It didn’t stick to the pan, it held it’s shape and looks exactly like your photos!!! That NEVER happens!
    I’m so impressed with the recipe!
    Thank you, thank you!!!

  60. Lemon jello gelatin or lemon jello pudding?

  61. Hi, you have mentioned using a regular packet of lemon jello, should I used 3oz or 6oz? Please advice me, thanks!

  62. Trying this tonight will let you know what my guests think

  63. Question: Is it Jello gelatin or Jello pudding?

  64. Thank you for this recipe. My late sister used to make this cake and it was always a hit. I have been looking for her recipe and I finally found it on your website. She’s probably smiling at us from heaven. Now I can make it for our family. Yum.

  65. 5 stars
    I was looking for this recipe in my 50yrs os homemaking huge recipe box. hopeless jumble.I found it here on your blog!! Yes, this is the one from decades past. I worked nights and another nurse made this and brought it to work for us. Her recipe called for beating the batter for 10 minutes- to mix the jello, I presume. Your cake turned out fine with regular mixing time. It is sooo very good..it lasted only a short while as my family devoured it. My husband proclaimed ” the deliciousness has landed tonight. Thank you, Sweet Basil

    • So glad you can enjoy it again! And I love a stuffed recipe box, it only means you have lots of memories and good food together!

      • My husband has fond memories of his late mother making this cake. He asked me to make it for his birthday his weekend. Her recipe card was awfully vague; I’m really glad I found it here!

      • Oh isn’t that the worse when passed down recipes don’t give all of the information? I’m so glad you can make it and think of her!

      • My gram had a divine chocolate ice box cake, when I saw her recipe I was disquieted. “Mix ingredients until looks like med…etc”

        Since then I’ve lost her amazing recipe, but it had lady fingers soaked in grand marnier and layered with an extremely chocolatey mousse made with butter and choc and egg whites. Her other recipe for cc bar cookies topped with a divinely light and thin layer of crispy brown sugar meringue was lost loo 🙁 SIGH

        Back on topic though, I bought all the ingredients and I’m making this cake next week when my nephew visits!

      • Oh I wish you still had it! Sounds amazing!

  66. My grandma always used to make this cake and it is soooo good. Super moist and nicely tart and not super sweet or rich. A wonderful summer cake but it would be a nice spot of sunshine on those gray winter days.

  67. My aunt always makes jello cake for the holidays and I can’t get enough. This lemon version looks insanely moist and fluffy, just the type of cake that I adore. That’s too funny, I learned the difference between desert and dessert the same way you did.

  68. I have been making this cake for years, and it ALWAYS gets rave reviews! It really is “the moistest”. 🙂