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.
Love this recipe! Has anyone coated the Bundt pan in powdered lemonade mix before adding the batter? I usually try to have a matching flavor of something with sugar for just a little crunch on the outside of the cake, after I’ve applied my cake goop.
Cake Goop: I keep this in a sealed container to apply a coat on all pans: 1 cup each shortening/veg oil/flour. Use a silicone brush to apply a generous coat.
Duncan Hines lemon
Very good & moist—husband loved it! Not sure why it collapsed a little near the center but you can’t tell once it is turned out. Easy to make—looks like too much glaze but it all absorbed. I did add the zest of a lemon and just a drop of lemon extract which was good! Thanks for a good & easy recipe—I will make again!
Sounds great! Glad you enjoyed it! If you remember, what brand and flavor of cake mix did you use?
As I’ve not made it yet, I cannot rate this recipe. But I plan to ASAP, and I’m sure it will rate at least 5 stars since all your recipes are outstanding!
Thanks, PC! I really appreciate you saying that.
Thank you for your Lemon cake, i can not wait to make this cake, i will rate it when i make it, can i use frozen lemonade?
I’m afraid the thawed lemonade straight out of the can might be too sweet since it’s concentrated. You could certainly try it. Or you could make the lemonade according to the instructions on the can and then use that.
I’ve carried the orange juice and pineapple juice cakes to church and they were very well received. I bet the lemonade would be as well. And as far as satisfying folks…my momma used to say “some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope.”
She said some of the darndest things. Miss her every day.
Thanks, Jane! So glad to hear it! Ha! She sounds like a hoot! I know you miss her.
J. C. Manuel
Hi Stacey! Your Lemonade Cake sounds delicious, & I will be trying it soon as my husband LOVES lemon cake. Thank you for including a cake mix as the base! This helps us busy cooks save time & steps in getting a delicious dessert on the table, without compromise!
You are so welcome! I hope y’all will enjoy this recipe!
Could I add fresh blueberries to this?
I certainly don’t see why not. Let me know how it turns out!
What brand lemon cake mix do you prefer for this cake , Stacy? I can’t wait to make it. I love lemon anything?
I tested with both Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker for this recipe.
Which cake mix did you end up preferring? Thank you!
My favorite was the Duncan Hines lemon cake mix.
I used the Duncan Hines lemon cake mix.