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!
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 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?!?!
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!
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 1/2 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...I always keep a bottle of this one in the fridge), 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir in the eggs until fully incorporated. However, just to be safe, I recommend tempering them first (see explanation under the "Ingredients" heading above).
- 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.
- 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!
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.❤️
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.
More Lemon Treats
- Whole Wheat Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Lemon Sugar Baked Donuts
- The BEST Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Minty Peach Lemonade
Lemon Sheet Cake
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 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 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.
Post originally published on June 1, 2018.