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Brenda's Scratch Lemon Cake

After searching high and low for a good, flavorful lemon cake that did not start with a box mix, I decided to combine some other recipes I've found into this delicious cake. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. Moist and light with the perfect amount of lemon flavor. I've only made it once so far (I'm posting so I won't forget what I did!) so I'd welcome your comments and feedback!


  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 1 box instant lemon pudding 1 tsp lemon extract 2 tsp vanilla 1 cup sour cream zest of 1 lemon 4 eggs 2 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 3/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)


Cream butter and sugar thoroughly (about 5 minutes in electric mixer on med-high speed). Add pudding, extracts, lemon zest and sour cream and mix thoroughly. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt. Mix 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter until completely combined. Add 1/2 the milk and mix completely. Alternate flour and milk, combining completely after each addition, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour. Prepare pans and bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top is beginning to brown. Single layer 8 or 9" pans should take about 25-30 minutes. Also makes awesome cupcakes!

Comments (19)

This sounds wonderful. There is also a great recipe in the RLBs latest book.Can't remember the name right now.
I am looking to use real lemon...could I sub the extract?
The extract really helps give the flavor a punch since it's so concentrated, so if you substitute lemon juice the lemon flavor would probably be a little muted I would imagine. I did use pure lemon extract, so it wasn't an artificial lemon flavor. One recipe I saw said instead of milk use the juice from the lemon you zested, then enough water to give you the right liquid quantity (or whatever ratio lemon:water you want). I decided to go with milk instead and the lemon flavor was spot on, but you might try the other way. Hope this helps!
sounds good, I am going to try it out this weekend. Am always on the lookout for a good lemon cake recipe. Thank you for sharing
what is instant lemon pudding, anyone know the english equivolent please.
how much does this make?
It would be enough to make a 2 layer 9" cake, maybe even 10". I made a 2 layer 6" cake, 2 doz mini cupcakes and still had batter left over to make a very thin 8" round. It's a good amount of batter.
ladibackluvvie: Here is a recipe for instant lemon pudding, hope this helps!
Is it still "scratch" if it uses a box of instant pudding? Ick.
I would still consider it scratch as it's pudding, you're still creating the cake from scratch, you're not just adding a few ingredients to a store bought boxed cake mix.
The "ICK" comment was probably not necessary. We must be kind when someone is so generous as to share a special recipe that they have taken the time to develop. How would it make you feel if someone commented that way to you!
I also have been looking for a good lemon cake made from scratch. I had a request for a wedding cake, they wanted lemon cake with blueberries with raspberry filling. I took a chance and the results where wonderful. Everyone loved it....Thanks this is a great recipe. I'll be using it from now on.
I was really lookinf forward to this cake as it had such good reviews. I don't know what happened...mine was a disaster. It was not enough batter for two 9" rounds, so I had to make a 2nd batch. I baked at 350 but my cakes were browning and raw in the middle. By the time they were cooked through, they were crunchy on the outside. I cut off the crust and tried to salvage the cake, but they were so dense. I used my extra batter to make a dozen cupcakes and they sank in as they cooled and were also super dense. I don't know the science behind baking soda vs baking powder, but are you sure it just needs 2 tsp baking powder and NO baking soda? I feel like the cake tasted good but was chewy and too dense.
@shannonlolly-- I hate it when that happens, lol. Check the expiration date on your baking powder. If it's expired, or even close to the expiration date, buy a new one. I ruined several batches of cookies last Christmas because my baking powder wasn't "fresh." Thankfully, my mom pointed it out to me shortly after seeing my first baked batch. Hope that helps. :)
I love the taste of this cake and the first one I did came out beautiful. I did 2 8" rounds and they were medium thin, not nearly as high as I like for my cakes but the texture and taste was amazing. Then I did a 1/4 sheet and it came out very dense with a crunch on the outside. The cake is definitely worth working out the kinks.
Is there a specific kind of flour? Is it all purpose, self rising or cake flour? Sorry I am new to baking from scratch lol.
Ok, I just used All purpose flour and it came out amazing!! I got rave reviews from my customer and am just thrilled at how it turned out. :0) Thanks so much for sharing!
Wonderful recipe! I made a cross shaped cake for my church's Easter celebration using this recipe and the congregation LOVED it! I didn't have lemon pudding on hand so I used vanilla and increased the amount of lemon zest and extract. I frosted and decorated the cake using vanilla buttercream and it was gone in no time. The cake was moist and delicious. Thanks for sharing. :)
wow, this was a amazing cake! I was worried when it shrank and pulled away from the sides of the pan that it would be too dry. It was so moist and flavorful. I frosted it with buttercream mixed with lemon filling and it was so good. Thanks for sharing!! Does this work for other flavors, not just lemon?
Cake Central › Recipes › Brenda's Scratch Lemon Cake