Lemon Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake is the BEST lemon cake...a super moist, homemade, Texas sheet cake recipe topped with a tangy lemon glaze. It's easy to make and it feeds a crowd!

Lemon Sheet Cake with text overlay.

For a fall twist on sheet cake, you'll also love this Caramel Apple Cake!

Well hello there, friends. Happy summer! And happy FIVE YEARS to Five Heart Home! That's right...today is Five Heart Home's 5th blogiversary! So what say we celebrate with a scrumptious, from-scratch, Lemon Sheet Cake?

Lemon cake sliced in sheet pan with decorative lemon wedges on top.

Lemon Texas Sheet Cake

Y'all know what Texas sheet cake is, right? Traditionally, it's a giant slab of chocolate cake baked in a nice, big sheet pan. The batter is stirred together in a pot on the stove and, once the cake comes out of the oven, a glorious warm frosting is poured right over the cake. It's extremely sweet, moist, and decadent...and it's always a hit.

Personally, however, I've always been a bigger fan of white cake than chocolate cake. So years ago, I started making Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes. Those eventually morphed into a White Texas Sheet Cake. And just last month, I decided to give my tried-and-true recipe a lemon twist.

WHY DID I NEVER THINK TO MAKE LEMON TEXAS SHEET CAKE BEFORE?!?!

Slice of Lemon Sheet Cake on a plate with missing bite.

I adore lemon desserts, as evidenced by the fact that not too long ago I shared Lemon Fruit Dip and a Lemon Pound Cake. But wow. It's going to be really hard to top this Lemon Sheet Cake.

In fact, I took the remnants of this delicious lemon sheet cake to a pool party, and it was met with rave reviews. Everyone loved it, and for good reason. The cake itself is incredibly moist. The lemon flavor is prominent but not overpowering. And the tangy sweet glaze takes it over the top!

Close-up on a plate.

Ingredients

The ingredients for this lemon cake are pretty standard to most Texas sheet cakes. This version is simply infused with a big burst of lemon!

Here are a few notes on some of the most important ingredients in this recipe:

  • Butter. No need to soften it as it's going to be melted in a big ol' pot.
  • Lemon juice + lemon zest. Two large, juicy lemons yield approximately ½ cup of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons lemon zest. So you'll probably need three large lemons for this recipe...but I'd buy at least four, just in case. And while fresh-squeezed juice is hard to beat, if you decide to save time and opt for a bottle of pure, all-natural lemon juice (as opposed to lemon juice with additives), your cake will still turn out great.
  • Sour cream + eggs. When you stir in the sour cream, it considerably cools down the warm batter. But just to be safe, I usually crack the eggs into a separate bowl and temper them (whisk them and then gradually stir in some of the warm batter). Then I scrape all of the tempered egg mixture into the pot and quickly stir it into the batter. This helps ensure that the eggs won't scramble when they hit the warm batter.

Missing piece from sheet pan.

How to Make It

As for making this lemon cake, it really is a quick and easy recipe that basically involves melting butter in a pot and then stirring in the other ingredients.

  1. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the water and the lemon juice, increase the heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove pot from the heat and allow the batter to cool for at least 5 minutes. Then briskly stir in the flour until smooth, followed by the sugar, sour cream, and lemon zest.
  3. Stir in the eggs until fully incorporated. However, just to be safe, I recommend tempering them first (see explanation under the "Ingredients" heading above).
  4. Mix in the vanilla and lemon extract. Then sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top of the batter and stir them in until all ingredients are well blended.
  5. Spread the batter into a greased sheet pan and bake until a toothpick tests done!

Once the cake comes out of the oven, simply pour a glaze of powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest over the top.

Chill for a bit until the glaze is set, slice into squares, and enjoy!

Lemon glaze being poured over lemon cake.

I wish I could personally bake each and every one of you your very own Lemon Sheet Cake to show my appreciation. But since I can't, I hope y'all have a chance to make this recipe sometime yourself. And if you do, consider it my thank you for five wonderful years of Five Heart Home!

This blog...this job...this passion of mine wouldn't be possible without YOU. Thank you for reading and following and commenting and making my recipes, time and time again. I keep creating because y'all keep coming back. I had no idea what this little ol' blog would become in five short years, but I'm so glad it did.❤️

Lemon Texas Sheet Cake cut into slices in sheet pan.

Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • The sheet pan used for this recipe measures 18- by 13- inches with a 1-inch rim, commonly referred to a half sheet pan.
  • The key to avoiding an overly-thick batter is to allow the butter mixture to cool down before stirring in the flour. I like to use a big wooden spoon.
  • Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and immediately spread it into an even layer (an offset spatula makes this job easier). The layer of glaze will be thin, but it's sweet and tangy enough that that's all the cake needs!
  • Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap (I prefer Press 'n Seal). Pull the plastic wrap taut and store the cake in the refrigerator. If you want to increase the odds that the plastic wrap doesn't stick to the glaze, use small pieces of lemon to garnish each slice of cake, as shown in the photos in this post. This will provide a higher "layer" that the plastic wrap can rest on without touching the glaze.
  • If you have leftover lemon juice after zesting and juicing your lemons, you can always freeze it in 1-tablespoon portions in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and store in a plastic zip-top bag in the freezer. Thaw as needed for future recipes.

Slice of Lemon Sheet Cake on plate with fork.

More Lemon Treats

Lemon Sheet Cake Recipe from Scratch

Lemon Sheet Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake is the BEST lemon cake...a super moist, homemade, Texas sheet cake recipe topped with a tangy lemon glaze. It's easy to make and it feeds a crowd!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Glazing & chilling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 301kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) salted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

  • Adjust the rack to the center position of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a rimmed 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan with softened butter.
  • In a large pot set set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the water and the lemon juice, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Remove pot from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Then briskly stir in the flour until smooth, followed by the sugar, sour cream, and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs until fully incorporated (temper them first if the batter is still hot). Mix in the vanilla and lemon extract. Then sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top of the batter (make sure there are no lumps!) and stir them in until all ingredients are well blended.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and smooth the top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely before glazing.
  • For the glaze, measure the powdered sugar into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and zest until completely smooth. Add a bit more lemon juice if the glaze is too thick or a little more powdered sugar if it's too thin. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and immediately spread into a thin, even layer. If desired, garnish the cake with small lemon pieces of lemon. Chill (uncovered) for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze to set before slicing. Cover tightly and refrigerate any leftovers.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on June 1, 2018.

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Recipe Rating




55 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Would this cake be good if I ditched the lemon glaze and frosted it with whipped cream and fresh berries?

  2. It’s in the oven! I had to use 6 lemons to get the right amount of juice! You must have some monster lemons!🤪😊

  3. 5 stars
    Perfectly moist cake with lots of lemon flavor, just the right combination of sweet and sour. The glaze, as they say, "is the icing on the cake"!

  4. 5 stars
    This cake is absolutely delicious! I've made it twice now and every person that tried it was crazy about it! A definite winner and it will be a regular at our parties. Thanks for this gem of a recipe!

    1. Hi Nancy! I'm sorry, but I have not made this particular recipe as cupcakes. That being said, I converted my favorite vanilla sheet cake recipe to cupcakes, so you could probably use that recipe as a guide for converting this one (as far as baking time). The vanilla sheet cake cupcakes are a smaller scale recipe, however, so this lemon sheet cake batter will give you a few more cupcakes. Alternatively, you could just opt to make my favorite lemon cupcake recipe instead. Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. I only have a 12x17 pan. Don't know how much it rises and would overflow if I put all the batter in?

    1. Hi Dawn! This recipe was developed for a true 18x13x1" half sheet pan, so it would certainly overflow your pan. You could try baking some of the excess batter in a few muffin cups, but unfortunately, I can't advise on exactly how much batter to put in your specific pan to guarantee no overflowing. I wouldn't want you to end up with a mess in your oven if you accidentally put too much batter in your pan!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this for a Pot Luck tonight and MANY friends asked for the recipe. It's a keeper! Thank you for sharing this...

  7. 5 stars
    Ohhhhhh man was this cake delicious! I read a bunch of comments beforehand (as I do for any recipe to see if there's any tips, etc) and was thrown off by so many people saying the batter was "so thick" or like "cookie dough consistency." I'm a firm believer that if you follow the recipe to a T, it will come out. I did just that and it was absolutely perfect. I assume other people had not let the butter/water/lemon juice cool for at least 5 minutes before adding in the dry ingredients, but, if your read the recipe, it tells you to wait five minutes 🙃. It's rare that I take the time to bring out my measuring tape while baking to get the cuts of the cake perfect, but you bet your a$$ I did for this. I wanted each and every square cut to be beautiful! My boyfriend's grandparents send us a box of lemons from their Meyer lemon tree every year and this time, I made this cake with them. For the lemon garnish on top, I decided to cut the lemon wheels into sixths and sit between paper towels to absorb some of the moisture out of them before setting them on top of the slices. I brought the cake to a party and everyone loved it so much and I've had multiple people ask for the recipe already!

  8. 5 stars
    WOW! I baked this for the first time today and it truly is a 5-star recipe! It came out better than expected and was super easy to assemble. I didn't change a thing. This cake will be a go-to from now on for gatherings and pot-lucks.
    Thank you so much for creating it❤️

    1. More baking time = further browning, but if the cake is already done, you don't want to overbake it and dry it out. I think it's fine if it doesn't brown as long as it tests done and tastes good. 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Made this for my lemon loving mama for Mother's Day 2021. She, my dad, my brother and I LOVED it! It's so moist and delicious...so much so that mom and dad had to help themselves to two pieces. Also, it's truly awesome that this doesn't take long to bake in the oven. Truly 5 stars and a recipe that we'll keep in our family for a long long time!! Thank you for sharing this recipe ♥

  10. 5 stars
    I have now made this 3 times...and it's a keeper! So easy, so tangy and my family loves it. I don't have a half sheet pan so I use a 9X13 -- but I'm going to get a half sheet JUST for this recipe! Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. 5 stars
    I don't comment much, but I just had to on this recipe. I'm a sucker for anything lemon and this is one of the best cakes I have baked and tasted. It's WAY better than anything out of a box. I believe this will be the dessert that I take to funeral meals and potlucks. Thanks do much for sharing!

  12. Hi there made this cake and I think that it came out a little gummy on the bottom when I cut in in to squares maybe did not cook long enough but was in the oven 18 minutes and checked it toothpick come back clean?

    1. Hi Barbara! This is a very moist cake and definitely does not get dry on the bottom. But by what you're describing, yes, it may have needed another minute or two in the oven.

  13. Hello! I made this Cake for a Party.
    It seemed to have came out Fine!
    However, I haven't had a Chance to Try it Yet! But! I Notice in Your Video it Looks Like you are using more than 2 Eggs?
    In Your instructions it Only states 2 Eggs.
    I'm Confused? Wouldn't this Effect the Height & Moisture of the Cake?

    1. Hi DeAna! Hmmm...I just watched the video again, and it only shows two eggs. That is the correct measurement for this recipe. Hope that helps! 🙂