This ultra-moist Lemonade Cake smothered in lemon cream cheese frosting is an all-time favorite lemon dessert. This easy lemon cake recipe is filled with delicious sweet citrus flavor, infused with lemonade at every turn. Made with a jazzed-up lemon cake mix for extra convenience!
Lemonade Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
My kids are notorious for disliking lemon-flavored anything. Lemon pie? Nope. Lemon cookies? Fuhgedaboutit. And yet, sugary lemon candies like Sour Patch Kids or Lemonheads are totally fair game. Explain this to me. #childlogic
I’m sharing my “secret weapon” for imparting delicious, sweet lemon flavor into baked desserts that even my kiddos can’t resist: lemonade concentrate. I’ve used it often, with some pretty awesome results, from Lemonade Pie to Lemonade Brownies, and now this gloriously zesty lemonade cake.
Lemonade flavor infuses every stitch of this cake, from the supremely moist crumb to the lemon glaze, to the lemony cream cheese frosting. It’s like taking a big ol’ bite out of a ray of sunshine. This is one of my favorite lemon desserts!
What You’ll Need
This lemonade cake starts with a lemon cake mix, ‘cause I’m all about that extra convenience. By the time we’re finished with it, you won’t believe that it ever came from a box!
Below is everything you’ll need to make a lush homemade lemonade cake as well as the frosting and glaze. Don’t forget to check the recipe card for the full details and amounts.
- Lemon Cake Mix: Choose your favorite boxed lemon cake mix from the baking aisle.
- Eggs: Fresh eggs help bind the ingredients and give the cake structure.
- Milk: Whole milk or 2% milk lends a good amount of fat to the batter, for a moist, rich cake.
- Vegetable Oil: Or another neutral oil, like canola. This also contributes to the moisture in the cake crumb.
- Frozen Lemonade: You’ll need frozen lemonade from concentrate. Take it out of the freezer well in advance so that it has time to thaw before you start. You’ll use frozen lemonade in the cake, glaze, and frosting!
- Powdered Sugar: The glaze for your lemonade cake is a simple mix of powdered sugar, lemonade, and water. A glaze adds just the right amount of sweetness and makes the cake super moist. You’ll also need powdered sugar for the lemon frosting.
- Cream Cheese and Butter: These form the base for the lemon cream cheese frosting. I recommend letting both the cream cheese as well as the butter come to room temperature, so they’re easy to combine.
- Vanilla: A dash of vanilla extract mellows out the citrus flavors and tang of the cream cheese. Use pure vanilla extract for the best results.
How to Make a Lemonade Cake
This moist lemon cake is super simple to make, which is just one more reason it’s the best! Take a basic lemon cake mix, amp it up with some lemonade concentrate, and top it with a lemonade glaze to lock in moisture. Afterward, finish everything off with a creamy, gorgeous lemonade cream cheese frosting. Easy peasy! Here’s how you do it:
- Make the Batter: While the oven is preheating, combine the cake mix with the rest of the cake ingredients, including the lemonade concentrate. Mix for a couple of minutes until just combined. Return what’s left of the lemonade to the freezer for now, as you’ll need it again for the frosting.
- Bake: Next, transfer the lemonade cake batter to two greased 8” round cake pans. Bake the cakes at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes, until set. Leave the cakes to cool in the pan completely before glazing and frosting.
Making the Glaze
Once your cakes have cooled, you’ll want to trim the “domes” to level off the tops of the cakes. I find this is easiest to do using a serrated knife. Trimming the tops also leaves the crumb exposed to soak up all the glaze.
If the cakes come out already pretty level, you can skip trimming them and simply use a skewer to pierce holes in the tops of the cakes, so that the glaze can sink in. Next, let’s make your lemon glaze:
- Combine: Stir together the glaze ingredients.
- Pour: Pour the glaze in an even layer all over the tops of the cakes while the cakes are still in their pans.
- Soak: Next, leave the glaze to soak into the cakes for at least an hour, or in the refrigerator overnight.
Frosting the Cake
The citrusy cream cheese frosting on this cake is AMAZING! It’s such an easy cream cheese frosting recipe, with the addition of lemonade for a sweet-tart punch. Here’s how to prepare the frosting and frost your glazed lemonade cake:
- Make the Frosting: Begin by beating together the butter and cream cheese until creamy, then mix in the lemonade concentrate and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping the sides as needed, until the frosting is thickened and smooth.
- Frost the Cakes: Take your cakes out of the fridge, and remove them from the cake pans. You can use a knife to slide around the edges, to help them loosen. Once your cakes are free from the pans, it’s time to frost them! Use an offset spatula or knife to spread your lemon frosting all over the cakes, or in any way you prefer. Fill the cake with frosting also, if you’re making a two-tiered lemon cake like the one pictured.
Tips for Success
Below are my tips for making the perfect lemonade cake:
- Make the cake in advance. You can bake the cake in advance, soak it in glaze, and pop it into the fridge overnight to really let those flavors develop before you frost it. Make sure to store it airtight.
- How to tell when the cake is done: The easiest way to know if your cake is ready is to use a toothpick stuck into the center (thickest part) of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your lemon cake is ready to come out.
More Ways to Decorate a Lemon Cake
Aside from the tangy lemonade frosting, there are countless ways that you can dress up your lemonade cake! Try topping it with lemon slices, spiraled lemon peels, candied citrus, or lemon zest to really amp up the lemon factor. Here are more easy cake-decorating ideas to try:
- Swirls of whipped cream or mascarpone
- White chocolate chips or sprinkles
- Crushed pistachios (like my Pistachio Lemon Bundt Cake)
- Strawberries or mixed berries
- Toasted coconut
- Homemade Strawberry Syrup
How to Store Lemonade Cake
You can store this lemonade cake either frosted or unfrosted. The unfrosted cake is great to make a day ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to frost it.
Store the frosted lemon cake airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend taking the cake out of the fridge about 15 minutes or so before serving, to take the chill off.
Can I Freeze Lemon Cake?
This cake is best to freeze after the glaze has soaked in and before it’s been frosted. Once the cakes are completely cooled and have had a chance to sit after glazing, wrap the cake pans tightly in plastic wrap, plus a layer of foil. Store the cakes frozen for 2-3 months.
Thaw the frozen lemonade cakes in the fridge overnight, then remove the cakes from the pans and frost them as usual.
This ultra-moist Lemonade Cake is made from a jazzed-up boxed lemon cake mix and saturated with lemonade flavor all the way through. Complete with a rich and creamy lemon cream cheese frosting!
For the Cake:
- 1 Lemon boxed cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Lemonade from Concentrate, thawed
For the Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons Lemonade from Concentrate, thawed
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 (8- ounce) block of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup Lemonade from Concentrate, thawed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 cups powdered sugar
Making the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2, 8″ round cake pans generously with cooking/baking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cake mix, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and 2 tablespoons of Lemonade from Concentrate on low for 30 seconds, and then on medium for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Keep the remaining frozen lemonade concentrate in the freezer…you will need it again.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for approximately 1 hour. Do not remove.
Making the Glaze
- When the cakes are cooled level them off with a serrated knife, so they are flat on top.
- If the cakes didn’t dome much and don’t need to be leveled, poke holes with a skewer throughout the top, so the glaze will sink in.
- In a medium bowl combine powdered sugar, Lemonade from Concentrate, and water.
- Stir until smooth and pour equally over the top of the cakes, still in the cake pans.
- Cover and let sit for at least an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator is best.
Frosting the Cake
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter and cream cheese together for 2 minutes on medium speed, until combined and creamy.
- Turn the mixer to low and add your lemonade and vanilla.
- Slowly add in your powdered sugar and then beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- When ready to frost, remove your cakes from the refrigerator.
- Loosen the cake around the edges with a butter knife so it will release easily.
- Frost as desired.
Store refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 756
- Sugar: 110.2 g
- Sodium: 224.3 mg
- Fat: 21.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 139.6 g
- Protein: 5.3 g
- Cholesterol: 105.1 mg
Keywords: lemon cake recipe, cake mix recipes, lemon desserts
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More Zesty Lemon Desserts
- Lemon Chiffon Cake
- Lemonade Pie
- Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake
- Lemonade Brownies
- Easy Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
- Pink Lemonade Chiffon Cake
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