Lemon Sheet Cake

If you’re looking for an easy lemon cake recipe, look no further! This super moist and delicious Lemon Sheet Cake recipe topped off with a tasty lemon buttercream frosting is our new favorite dessert, and it’s perfect for feeding a crowd!

Of all the lemon cakes I have recipes for, this just might be the easiest of them all! It’s moist just like our lemon buttermilk cake, and has a delicious frosting like our lemon bundt cake. Try for yourself!

Moist Lemon Cake on a white plate

a lemony dessert for spring & summer

Spring time makes me think of fruit and lemons and the dessert we are sharing today – Lemon Sheet Cake!

This lemon cake is one of the easiest lemon cake recipes you will ever make!

The reason why it’s so easy is because we used a lemon cake mix that came out of a box! It also has pudding mix in it, which makes it so good. Because of the added pudding and buttermilk the texture will be more dense and moist than a regular cake, and a bit fudgy like a brownie.

The best part is the lemon buttercream frosting on top. This lemon cake is SO delicious and creamy!! I think it’s the perfect dessert for Spring and for Summer!!

Lemon Cake Frosting in a mixing bowl

How to Make Lemon Sheet cake

The reason this is an EASY lemon cake is because it’s not made totally from scratch. You actually use a box mix plus some instant pudding and buttermilk.

MIX. Combine cake mix and pudding mix in a bowl. Then add the ingredients listed on the cake box and the buttermilk. Beat with a hand mixer until well combined.

Note: Make sure when you select a cake mix that it is a regular mix and doesn’t already include pudding. If you can’t find white chocolate pudding mix, you can substitute vanilla flavored instant pudding mix. And if you prefer sugar free pudding, that works just fine!

BAKE. Pour cake batter into a 9×13 cake pan and bake at 350° for 23-25 minutes.

Using different sized pans: If you are going to use a pan bigger than a 9×13, or a jelly roll pan, the estimated cook time is about 17-20 minutes. We love to make the cake a little more thin and use an 11×15 pan to get more slices out of it.

For smaller sized pans and circle pans, it will need to cook a little longer. The estimated cook time is for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick that is poked into the center comes out clean. You may notice that when you take the cake out of the oven it has a rounder top. As it cools it will flatten as you can see in the recipe video.

How to make lemon frosting:

Start by creaming together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon jello mix, lemon juice, lemon zest and milk. Beat until the frosting is creamy and smooth. And that’s it! Easy peasy.

Lemon zest?? Making lemon zest is very simple. You can use a grater or a traditional zester. Be sure to do this before juicing the lemon because it makes it a lot easier, and wash the lemon before starting! Simply rub the lemon against the blades of the grater or zester, making sure you’re only grating the outermost peel of the lemon.

homemade lemon cake with lemon frosting on a white plate

Making ahead + Storing

Making ahead: There are a couple of options for doing this. You can assemble the cake completely and cover the top with a lid or plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge. Then, take it out of the fridge 2 hours before it’s served to let it come to room temperature.

To avoid any chances of the cake drying out from sitting in the fridge overnight, you can store it (without frosting) covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.

You can make the frosting right before serving, or if you make it beforehand store the frosting in the fridge in an airtight container. Take it out 2 hours before frosting the cake so it can come to room temperature and go on smoothly.

Storing: To store the leftovers, cover the pan with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 5-6 days. Take it out of the fridge a while before you serve to give the frosting time to get to room temperature. I wouldn’t suggest storing this cake at room temperature for longer than 8 hours because of the cream cheese in the frosting.

This cake is perfect for the ultimate lemon fan. I haven’t always loved lemon, but I DO love this cake. It’s so delicious and so moist!

And for more lemon treats, check out:

Lemon Sheet Cake Recipe

4.66 from 23 votes
This super moist and delicious Lemon Sheet Cake recipe topped off with a tasty lemon buttercream frosting is our new favorite dessert, and it's perfect for feeding a crowd!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 174 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 box lemon cake mix plus ingredients on box
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 oz white chocolate instant pudding mix

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon jello mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice you can use more if you want more lemon taste
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Add lemon cake mix and pudding mix to a medium bowl.
  • Add buttermilk plus the ingredients on the back of the cake mix box and beat until well combined.
  • Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 23-35 minutes (or for more slices and thinner cake, use an 11x15 pan and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • While cake is cooling make frosting by creaming together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, jello mix, lemon juice, lemon zest and milk. Beat until smooth.
  • Frost cake and ENJOY!

Video

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. Hi Lily,
    It’s nice to hear from you. I love your recipe for lemon cake and I love lemon. I hope you have a wonderful Easter Sunday in all ways.

  2. I love lemon Lily so I know I’ll love your cake. You are growing up so quickly, but you’re still pretty. Thank you Lily.

  3. I made this for Easter dessert and everyone loved it. It was so lemony, light and delicious! Would love to be able to cut the recipe down to make just an 8 x 8 cake when it is just the two of us, ingredients and bake time? Any suggestions! Thank you so much for posting this recipe

    1. Glad it was a hit! I haven’t made it any smaller, so I wouldn’t know an exact amount. I would need to try it out.

  4. Just looking at the lemon cake mix and it calls for 1C of water. This may be a dumb question but do you use that and the cup of buttermilk?? I want to make this tomorrow for our Memorial Day picnic…. thanks!!! It just seems like a lot of liquid. Thanks for sharing this recipe, looking forward to trying it!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made the recipe exactly as outlined, but my cake fell. I think that there’s too much liquid with the buttermilk and water. I hope it still tastes good, next time though I think I will try cutting back on the water

    1. 4 stars
      Mine fell too. When I inserted a toothpick for doneness at 23 minutes it wasn’t ready. I did the toothpick test again 5 minutes later and the toothpick came out clean. It looked perfect but fell within 5 minutes. It’s almost as if it’s not done, as it is very flat and dense when I cut into the cake. Bake time of 23-35 minutes is pretty broad. Should I have baked it longer? Would this have prevented the cake from falling? Flavor wise, it’s fantastic….just doesn’t look like a cake…not fluffy at all. I’d like to make again. It looking for tips or suggestions on how to not have the cake fall.

      1. There are lots of reasons for a cake to fall in the middle after baking…too little or too much liquid, other ingredients like baking soda. I haven’t had that issue, but I would google ways to prevent it. The baking time is varied, because all ovens are different or higher altitude. I always start with the least amount, then add a couple minutes at a time. You can always keep baking it, but once burned, you can’t take that bake. I hope that helps. I wish I knew the answers.

  6. I made the lemon cake yesterday…HELP…I can’t stop eating it, SO good! All my FB friends want the recipe…

  7. 5 stars
    I made the lemon cake yesterday and can’t stop eating it! Followed the recipe exactly, came out PERFECT! I LOVE lemon…posted pics on Facebook and all my lemon loving friends want the recipe! Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!! So, glad you liked it! Lemon is the perfect summer flavor!

    1. I haven’t tried, but I’m sure you can. The baking time would be a little different. I would try to use one close in size. Good luck!

    1. Danielle I have the exact same question and was wondering if you had tried this yet. I need to bake a sheet cake and this recipe sounds absolutely perfect

  8. I cant find the white chocolate pudding in my area, is there a substitute? Thinking cheesecake pudding but would appreciate your thoughts please. Love your site and recipes.

          1. Ooh I haven’t tried substituting it for anything else or leaving it out, so I’m honestly not sure how it would turn out or taste if you did that. I do know that substitutes for cream cheese are sometimes mascarpone or even a combination of ricotta and heavy cream (for a frosting). You could probably google some substitutes. You’ll have to let us know what you use and how the cake turns out.

  9. Can’t wait to try this on my “Elderberries” at church! Love to try out new recipes and they love to try them too!

  10. 5 stars
    I love lemon cakes and this sheet cake looks simply delicious and perfect for the weekend!

  11. Just have a quick question on the lemon sheet cake recipe: You mention the white chocolate pudding mix in the cake batter. Then you mention the lemon Jello mix for the icing. I want to make sure that I bought the correct mix for each. Do you just use the Jello lemon mix and not the lemon pudding mix for the icing?

  12. Hi.
    I am in the process of making the lemon butter frosting. Help!!!
    Please!!! It is not creamy, it is coming out more soupy. I don’t know what to do to make it more creamy. I followed your directions and used all of the ingredients. Any advice/suggestions???
    If not, I’m on my way to buy store bought frosting :-0

    1. I am sorry I did not respond sooner. I hope it turned out! I like to add more powdered sugar, if it is too runny.

  13. 1 star
    My cake fell too, as others reported. I followed the recipe exactly with all fresh ingredients.
    Running out now to buy a back up cake for my daughter’s birthday 🙁

  14. I don’t understand TB in your recipes – is that Tablespoon?

    I don’t know what you want when you ask for website?

      1. I think i know why cake fell & is heavy! Many cake MIXes have pudding mix alreafy in them, that would be double pudding mix!
        Use cakemix w/ out pudding already in the mix, just use plain caKe mix & then u can add pudding miX! Going to try it now!7

  15. 5 stars
    This recipe is excellent. I made it for work and everyone loved it and was gone quickly. I made it 2 days ago and now I’m making it again for my family. This is going to be a staple. I used the Duncan Hines lemon signature box of cake mix and the hershey’s brand of white chocolate pudding mix and did everything as directed in above recipe. I read the other comments and made sure to bake 35 minutes and came out perfectly. 25 minutes wasn’t long enough. I would highly recommend this recipe and normally dont comment but wanted to help others know this is a great cake.

  16. I thought a sheet Cake was cooked in an 11×14 pan…. is that why people’s cakes are falling? What size pan should I use?

      1. Hello! I am curious what your thoughts are trying a lemon pudding instead of the white chocolate? I want it to be super lemony!
        Thank you!

  17. THIS IS THE FIRST CAKE I HAVE MADE. I HATE DRY CAKE SO I WANTED A RECIPE FOR A MOIST CAKE. IT TURNED OUT GREAT. I FORGOT IT WAS IN THE OVEN SO I COOKED IT FOR 45 MINUTES, WHICH WORKED OUT PERFECTLY ACTUALLY. family DEVOURED IT.

  18. 5 stars
    I FollOwed this recipe as recommended by one of the reviewerS with the duncan hines box of lemon cake with the Hersheys white chocolate pudding ! It came out perfecf ! I baked it in 2 9 inch pans for a round cake and had to bake it For About 40 minutes. It was delIcious and moiSt ! My husband and kids loved it ! For sure dont get a box of cake that already has pudding mix dded 🙂

  19. 4 stars
    I love this cake. I am still having problems with cook time and it collapsing in the middle when I remove it from oven. I used Duncan Hines lemon cake mix. Your directions say to use ingredients on back of box. Plus add 1 cup buttermilk and white chocolate pudding mix. The ingredients on back of cake mix are 1 cup water, 2 eggs and oil. I wonder if you use a different cake mix and don’t include 1 cup of water and 1 cup of buttermilk. Also with your pan size, the chocolate sheet cake recipe calls for a 10 X 14 jelly roll pan. For lemon cake you say 9 x 13. Just want to clarify as I am doing something wrong. I baked it for 35 minutes. Beautiful. 10 minutes later it fell in meddle.

    1. I can’t remember what mix I used, but they should all be similar & yes, I did use all the ingredients. This cake is in the 9×13 🙂 I’m really not sure what made it fall?? I’m sorry it did! Did you add the pudding mix?

  20. Do do you think it makes a difference if I use a cake mix that says that already has pUdding in it?

  21. 4 stars
    Just made this cake and have not frost it yet. But I noticed that it sunk a little in several places. I have not had this happen before with a cake mix. Also tHe frostiNg tastes good but its A little gritty. Any ideas why these things happened?

    1. I really wish I knew. There are reasons a cake might sink & I’m not saying you did them, but it’s hard to know…undermixing, incorrect amounts of ingredients, moving the cake while baking, etc. I’m sorry it did. If my frosting gets too gritty, I just add a little more powdered sugar.

  22. Please put the Weight of cake mix when including in recipes. Think they aRe down to 15.25 ounces now. I keep a vanilla cake mix in pantry to supplement the mix in recipes indicating the larger size boxes. Please clarify on this recipe what ounce box you are meaning.
    Thanks

  23. 4 stars
    So i doubled this recipe like you said for a jellyRoll pan. I had way to much batter. I was able to make a smaller cake!! Also the edges of the Cake pulled away from The pan? Not sure why this happened..

    1. Darn…I’m sorry that happened. I am not sure why they did. I haven’t had them pull away like that.

    1. Oh, no..I am so sorry it did. Not sure what happened. I know google has lots of suggestions on why that happens.

  24. 5 stars
    This cake comes out absolutely delicious. Im not a fan of super sweet frosting so I cut down the amount of confectioners sugar by half and it was fine. Moist, flavorful and delicious!!

  25. 5 stars
    I make this cake every year on my husband’s birthday since his cake request is a lemon cake. It’s super easy to make, and it tastes so much better than standard box cake mix because of the addition of the white chocolate pudding mix. For some reason, it tastes even better the day after it’s made compared to the first day. I’ve got the cake in the oven right now, and am looking forward to eating some tonight and tomorrow with my family. ❤️

  26. 5 stars
    This is the moist & fluffy cake ever! I love the refreshing hint of lemon flavor! It will be great all summer long!

  27. 5 stars
    Lemon is my dads favorite so I made this last night before he and my mom left on their mission today. I read the comments and used the Duncan Hines Lemon mix as suggested. I used Jell-O brand white chocolate pudding mix. The only change I made was to mix poppy seeds into the frosting.
    The top of the cake did flatten as the posts states and looked like the one in the video. It was “heavier/fudgier” than a normal cake mix, but with the the added pudding and milk that was expected. My dad and I actually LOVED the texture and flavor of the cake. My dad even put a few slices in a container to take with him. It was a good thing he did because there weren’t any leftovers. I will definitely be making this again.

    1. Thanks for sharing that! I’m glad your dad loved the cake. That’s cute that he wanted to take a few extra slices with him too!

  28. I can’t find white chocolate pudding at my store do you think I could sub vanilla pudding?

  29. 5 stars
    I had a box of yellow cake mix that I needed to move out of my pantry, so I looked for a recipe online. It was for Christmas, and even though I felt like this was more of an Easter recipe I made it because as I mentioned, I needed to use that box of cake mix! The cake turned out to be the star of the show. Everyone wanted to take some home, and the printed recipe became the property of my daughter-in-law. (Thank goodness I found it again…)
    So easy, and so yummy. The moistness of the cake, and the cream cheese icing are the talking points of everyone who samples it.

  30. 5 stars
    I love every recipe you’ve shared ! Thank you, I love following your blog ♥️I’m newly retired and enjoying being in the kitchen trying new recipes!

  31. I tried this cake recipe with a 9 x 13 pan. With the one cup of water and one cup of buttermilk it was a disaster I baked for 45 minutes it was golden brown took it out of the oven and it was not done and it fell. It sure did not work me.

  32. 5 stars
    I love making sheet cakes for a group of people and this lemon one is amazing for the spring weather and especially summer! thank you for sharing this!