Cool Lemon Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

P1040154Lemon flavor always reminds me of spring and summer. It’s cool and refreshing, yellow and sunny, cheerful and light. This cake is all those things, and delicious, too!

The original recipe for this sheet cake used a boxed cake mix and canned lemon pie filling. So, I knew I needed to find a way to get the same result without the pre-packaged ingredients.  My little Sis is home from college for the summer, and this is one of her favorites, so this weekend I recreated it- and let me tell you, nothing was lost from ditching the pre-packaged mixes- except maybe a little extra time and a load of preservatives and other unwanted ‘ingredients’!

Now, WARNING! This cake uses a lot of ingredients, it does require a few extra steps, and it is not going to make you skinny! However– it’s fresh and delicious, slightly dense, moist, cool, and lemony, and topped with a great cream cheese frosting. In other words- it’s worth it!


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 batch of homemade lemon curd – about 3/4 cup (i like the recipe found here)


  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Begin by making the lemon curd, if you have not done so already. When it is prepared, set it aside until you are ready to use it.

In a saucepan, boil together the butter and water.

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Mix.

Pour in the boiling water/butter mixture. And mix until combined. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Spoon in the lemon curd and gently stir it in to combine.

Pour the batter into a greased sheet pan- like a cookie sheet with sides- the one I use for this is about 17x12x1

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Test for doneness. Small knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Bake up to an additional 5 minutes if needed.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

When the cake is completely cooled, prepare the icing by adding all the icing ingredients to a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread over the cooled cake. Store the cake in the refrigerator. Serve cold.

Note: It may seem like this is not enough icing to cover the cake- but it does- just thinly. And it seems like plenty when you eat the cake. But, if you prefer more icing, I would do another half-batch.




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