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lemon sheet cake slice on small white plate with bite taken out

Lemon Sheet Cake (for a crowd!)

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16-20 1x
  • Category: Desserts & Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This citrus-intense, Lemon Sheet Cake is calling all lemon lovers to the yard. Whip up this super easy lemon cake that’s bursting with fresh lemon flavor, and paired with a tangy, silky-smooth lemon cream cheese frosting to finish! Such a bright sweet treat that has an extra tender, moist crumb…a perfect dessert that feeds a crowd!



For the lemon cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 small lemon, zested & juiced
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted if lumpy
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

For the lemon cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 (8-ounce) block full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small lemon, zested & juiced
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


For the lemon cake:

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Then line the pan with a piece of parchment paper with a bit of overhang on the sides, and spray again. This ensures that the parchment paper adheres well to the pan and acts as a double measure against any sticking- then set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, lemon zest + lemon juice- stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. With the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition. Empty the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and evenly spread the batter, smoothing the top as needed.
  4. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Then transfer the cake to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely before frosting.

For the lemon cream cheese frosting:

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add lemon zest + lemon juice and continue beating until combined. Then add in the powdered sugar and continue beating until the frosting is well combined and smooth.
  2. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the cake. Then slice cake into wedges and garnish with thinly-sliced lemon, candied lemon slices, and/or extra lemon zest/peels, if desired. Enjoy!


  1. Storing leftovers: This lemon cake will keep fresh when stored inside of an airtight container (those cake domes are excellent!) for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. If you’d like, you can keep it on the counter (covered for freshness) for about 3 days. You can even freeze this sheet cake, too! To freeze, wrap leftover cake in plastic wrap, first. Then cover the plastic wrapped cake completely in foil. It will keep in the freezer for about 2 months. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the fridge.
  2. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

Keywords: lemon cake, lemon sheet cake, lemon frosting, lemon desserts, cream cheese frosting, easy lemon cake