Made with a boxed lemon cake mix, lemonade, and fresh lemon juice, this easy Lemonade Cake tastes like a big ol’ slice of sunshine! It’s tangy, tart, and super moist!
If y’all have been hanging around these parts for any length of time, you’ve probably seen my Pineapple Juice Cake. It’s one of my most popular recipes. It’s based on my mom’s Orange Juice Cake recipe from when I was a kid.
One of the questions I often get on that recipe is about using lemon juice in place of pineapple juice. And while using straight lemon juice probably isn’t the best idea, using some lemonade sure seemed smart. So, I went to baking and created this Lemonade Cake for y’all.
What is Lemonade Cake?
Lemonade Cake is a crazy easy, bundt-style, super moist lemon cake that is made with a lemon cake mix, eggs, oil, and lemonade. Then a glaze is made with powered sugar, lemonade, fresh lemon juice, and butter. The cake is then soaked in the glaze creating an amazingly moist cake that’s filled with tons of lemon flavor.
Why do you use a cake mix?
Every time I post a recipe that uses a boxed mix, I get complaints. Every time I post a recipe that’s from scratch, I get complaints. So, I try to offer a mix of both types of recipes. In this case, I decided to go with the cake mix. To all the cake mix haters, I say this…
A cake mix is nothing more than pre-measured ingredients. Cake mixes are more affordable, produce more consistent results, and make baking a whole lot easier for the average home cook. My goal here is to make cooking easy and approachable. If a cake mix does that for some folks, so be it.
Can I make this recipe from scratch? I’m sure you could. In fact, I’m willing to bet there are recipes out there to make a boxed cake mix from scratch. I’ve only ever made this recipe using a cake mix, so I can’t speak for how the recipe turns out if you make adjustments.
How to store:
Because of the fresh juice in this cake, I recommend storing it tightly covered in the fridge. It’s fine at room temperature if you’re going to eat it within a day or so, but any longer will require refrigeration.
You can even tightly wrap and freeze this cake for up to 3 months. I like to wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil for extra protection.
Lemon Cake Mix – I’ll admit that the lemon flavor in lemon cake mix isn’t always my favorite. Some brands just have a fake flavor that I don’t love. But, I tested this recipe with butter, yellow, and lemon flavored cake mixes and found the lemon mix did give the cake the best, most lemony flavor. The others were still delicious, they just didn’t have the strong lemon flavor I wanted for this recipe.
Vegetable Oil – Vegetable oil contributes to the super moist texture of this cake and is readily available in most kitchens. An equal amount of melted butter can be used as well.
Lemonade – Used in both the cake and the glaze, lemonade helps to add lemony flavor. I used bottled refrigerated lemonade right off the grocery shelf, but I’m sure homemade would work as well.
Eggs – Using room temperature eggs helps to get them all incorporated into the batter.
Powdered Sugar – I hate to disappoint you, but there’s nothing profound to say about powdered sugar here. If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can use regular granulated sugar, but it’s not a 1:1 swap. Typically you use about 1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar for every 1 cup of granulated sugar, so… If my math is correct, you’ll need just a smidge over 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in this recipe.
Lemon Juice – For the freshest flavor, use fresh lemon juice. A large lemon should yield about 3 to 4 tablespoons of juice. Bottled lemon juice will certainly work. It just won’t have that fresh flavor.
Butter – It’s always advisable to use unsalted butter in baking so that you can control the salt content. Can you use salted butter? Sure! Knock yourself out.
Variations and Additions
Lemon Zest – If you want to add even more lemon flavor, you could include the zest of 1 lemon in the cake batter.
Lemon Extract/Flavoring – If you only have a butter or yellow cake mix, adding lemon flavoring or extract to the mix will help you get some extra lemon flavor. Heck, you could even add lemon extract or flavoring to a lemon cake mix if you’re feeling super, you know… lemony. If using a butter or yellow cake mix, I’d guess you’d need somewhere between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of lemon extract.
Orange Juice Cake – The cake that started it all.
Pineapple Juice Cake – This one is probably my fav.
- 1 (15.25-ounce) box lemon cake mix
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup lemonade
- 4 large eggs
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup lemonade
- 1 lemon, juiced (3 to 4 tablespoons)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease and flour a 10 to 12-cup Bundt pan.
- Use an electric mixer to combine the cake mix, vegetable oil, lemonade, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat about 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides. Allow the cake to start to cool in the pan while you make the glaze.
- In a small sauce pan, combine the powdered sugar, lemonade, lemon juice, and butter. Cook over medium-low heat until the butter has melted, stirring frequently.
- Use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes in the cake. Pour the warm glaze over the cake while it is still in the cake pan. It's going to seem like a lot of glaze, but just keep pouring. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 more minutes, or until the cake is nearly cool and most of the glaze has been absorbed, then invert the cake onto a serving platter. Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.