Lemon Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake is deliciously lemony! Don’t miss this one if you love all things lemon!

slice of Lemon Sheet Cake

What is it about lemon desserts that’s so refreshing and just delightful? The bright flavor? That little citrus tingle? There’s just something about biting into a lemony treat that makes them irresistible.

This Lemon Sheet Cake is a simple one-layer cake that I think you’ll be more than happy to add to your baking arsenal. There’s no stacking multiple layers and perfecting your frosting skills. Just one simple cake that mixes quickly and easily and is brimming with loads of lemon flavor. What’s not to love?

slices of Lemon Sheet Cake

This is a tall cake, too, for a single layer cake. There’s quite a lot of batter, so make sure your pan is not a shallow one. Most standard baking pans are 2 inches deep, and that will work just fine.

Once you’ve baked this amazing lemon cake, top it with a simple 4-ingredient frosting that is truly among my all-time favorites. It has such amazing flavor from the combination of cream cheese and sour cream. Plus, the texture is smooth and silky and just lovely. The lemon flavor in the frosting comes from lemon zest, which also gives it an interesting look. If your kitchen is warm, stick the cake in the refrigerator briefly to let the frosting set a bit before garnishing or serving.

slices of Lemon Sheet Cake on colorful plates

For a little fun, I like to add some sprinkles to an otherwise monochromatic cake. The ones I used in these photos are called Juice Box from Sweetapolita. I’ve also linked to a similar kind under the recipe. Any kind of sprinkles will do, of course, so just use your favorite!

Lemon Sheet Cake slices

Find more single-layer cakes in the Recipe Index.

More Lemon Cake Recipes

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Lemon Sheet Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Lemon Sheet Cake is all-out lemony deliciousness! This cake is bursting with lemon flavor in both the cake and the frosting.

Lemon Sheet Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 & 1/3 (314ml) cups milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 medium lemons)
  • 3 & 1/4 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 medium lemons)
  • 4 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (220g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream
  • zest of 1-2 lemons
  • sprinkles, for garnish

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9"x 13"x 2" baking pan with parchment paper. Grease (or butter and flour) the paper.
  2. Combine the milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating with 2 portions of the milk mixture. Mix just until combined.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of large air pockets.
  7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or the cake is golden brown and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  2. Mix in the sour cream and lemon zest.
  3. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles if you like.

Notes

Keep the cake chilled if not serving immediately. Bring to room temperature before serving. If you're adding sprinkles, you may want to wait to add them until just before serving to prevent any potential color bleeding into the frosting.

Cake recipe slightly adapted from The New York Times. Frosting recipe slightly adapted from Imperial Sugar.

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