nesting * geeking * critiquing

Half-Scratch Lemon Cake

When I was in fourth grade, I decided I loved lemon cake. It wasn’t a staple around our house, so I’m not sure from whence the lemon muse came. Nonetheless, it became a fast favorite since I could bake it myself…from a boxed mix, of

Twenty years later, I still enjoy making lemon cake from a boxed mix. These days I do it a little differently, though, and it tastes sooo much better.
The “half-scratch” cake is moist and lemony, and the canned frosting makeover yields creamy yumminess.

Adapted from the recipe at Your Home-based Mom.

Half-Scratch Lemon Cake

  • 1 boxed lemon cake mix (ignore everything it says on the back of the box)
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • A couple of squirts of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees(F) and grease a 9″x13″ pan.

Throw all of the ingredients in your electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed for a couple of minutes, until it looks like cake batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. As with any cake, check early and often so you don’t leave it in too long and wind up with dry cake.
I started checking mine around 22 minutes—toothpick should come out clean with a few crumbs—with 25 min being just about right. Cool completely before frosting.


  • 1 can of the pre-made stuff, lemon flavor
  • A couple of squirts of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Using your stand mixer’s whisk attachment, whisk on high for several minutes. You’ll notice it become fluffier and the color less chemically yellow. After you’ve “let ‘er rip” for a few minutes (no set time, just until it looks right to you), put it in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen back up a bit.

Frost your cooled cake and refrigerate again before serving if the frosting looks a little melty. (I also store mine covered in the fridge just to keep it nice and fresh.)



3 responses

  1. Awesome recipe. Like how you use a packet mix and are not ashamed to do so, respect!
    I love lemon too. For ages I didn’t and my taste buds changed and I can’t get enough of it now. Great post!
    Steph 😃💋

    7.8.2013 at 10:19 am

  2. I love this — great way to enjoy “better than the box mix” without spending all day in the kitchen… Though If you ever are in the mood for an awesome fully scratch lemon cake, try Ina Gartens recipe. It is out of this world. Perfect summer food!

    7.9.2013 at 10:49 pm

  3. Thanks, ladies. Can’t beat lemon! And I’ll definitely test my skills with the fully homemade recipe…some day 🙂

    7.10.2013 at 8:41 am

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