Lemon Sheet Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Lemon Sheet Cake is light, fluffy party-sized cake full of lemony flavor in every bite. Easy homemade cake with lemon cream cheese frosting in an hour!

Sheet Cakes like Banana Sheet Cake are some of the best and easiest Cake Recipes for a party or a potluck. These large single layer cakes are baked and frosted in the same pan, perfect for an on-the-go dessert.

Lemon Sheet Cake slice on plate


This Lemon Sheet Cake is packed with real lemon flavor in every bite. No bottles of lemon extract or boxed cake mix filled with artificial flavoring. Just like our Lemon Roll Cake, this cake has fresh lemon juice and lemon zest for maximum lemony goodness. The bold citrus flavor in this cake is everything you want in a spring or summer dessert!

You can make a Lemon Sheet Cake for a weeknight dessert or bring it to your next potluck. One of the best things about this kind of cake is you prepare it in one bowl and one baking dish. You can store Lemon Sheet Cake in the pan too, so talk about minimal dishes! That’s the best kind of dessert for busy nights or last minute events. 

Lemon Sheet Cake is a great cake to make ahead. The cake stays moist without getting soggy for up to a week in the refrigerator. Lemon Sheet Cake tastes best at room temperature so leave it on the counter for at least 30 minutes before serving. You don’t want to keep it out all night though if it’s frosted, since the cream cheese needs to be refrigerated.

Make this Lemon Sheet Cake extra super lemony! Before topping with the Cream Cheese Frosting, spread a thin layer of Lemon Curd over your Lemon Sheet Cake. To make frosting easier, pop the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the lemon curd and keep frosting at room temperature (for up to 2 hours).

This delicious Lemon Sheet Cake goes perfectly with cream cheese frosting but you could use Buttercream Frosting too. If you want to make this cake for brunch, or just keep it super simple, serve unfrosted or lightly dusted with powdered sugar. For a summery dessert top warm Lemon Cake with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream!


Lemon Sheet Cake in baking pan


  • Berries: Lemons and berries are a perfect pair in baking. Sprinkle a cup of blueberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries over your batter before baking.
  • Meyer Lemons: If they are in season (December to May), you should definitely try sweeter, less tart Meyer lemons in Lemon Sheet Cake.
  • Citrus: Easily make this a Key Lime Sheet Cake or an Orange Sheet Cake by substituting key limes or oranges for the lemons. You could also do a Lemon-Lime Sheet Cake by adding the juice and zest of one regular lime.
  • Yogurt: Make this cake extra moist and tangy with ½ cup greek yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream for ½ cup whole milk.
  • Cupcakes: This is a larger cake batter recipe so you should get about 36-40 cupcakes. Pour batter into a lined muffin tin and bake for 18-22 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean.



  • Serve: You can keep unfrosted Lemon Sheet Cake, wrapped with plastic, at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cakes with a dairy frosting need to be refrigerated after no more than 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Store: Cover your Lemon Sheet Cake with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate up to 1 week. Leave cake at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.
  • Freeze: Wrap your cake pan tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before freezing for up to 3 months. Remove plastic wrap and defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Lemon Sheet Cake cross section in baking pan

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Lemon Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake is light, fluffy party-sized cake full of lemony flavor in every bite. Easy lemon cake mix with lemon juice and lemon zest made in an hour!
Yield 20
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 drops yellow food coloring , optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
  • Combine the milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low speed. Add the flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating with 2 portions of the milk mixture. Mix just until combined.
  • 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.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or the cake is golden brown and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack before frosting.


Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Lemon Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. I have tried several lemon loaf/quick bread/lemon brownie recipes. This one is my favorite. I did use 1/2 cup of lemon juice and reduced the milk to 1 1/4 cups. I did not have cream cheese so I made a lemon glaze instead. It tasted really good, moist and fluffy.

  2. Made this lemon cake and it was tasty. Had enough to make small sheet cake and 12 cupcakes. Also made Sabrina’s cream cheese frosting. Plenty of frosting for both cake and cupcakes.

    1. That’s one way to do it which sounds really good. There is more information in the blog about frosting. Other ideas and things of that nature.

  3. Hi, do you think this cake is high enough that I could split it and smear a layer of raspberry filling in the middle? I want to make it for the Fourth, and I have a plethora of raspberries from my garden to use up! Can’t wait to try this!!

  4. Hi Sabryna! I just threw together this recipe and the cake’s in the oven but upon cleaning up my kitchen, I found a lone egg and realized I only put 3 instead of 4 eggs in the batter!
    I’m sooo bummed! What do you think will happen? Will it still be edible???
    It smells really good but I’m a little nervous!!

      1. Sorry to say this cake did not turn out well. Heavy dense and bland. We could barely taste any lemon.

  5. This is the cake I take to all picnics and potlucks. Everyone loves it’s bright lemony flavor and I love how easy it is!