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a pretty lemon cake ready for serving

Easy Lemon Cake Recipe


Make an easy lemon cake based on a cake mix. Add your own freshly whipped lemon buttercream and freshly grated zest for a finishing touch.


Units Scale

For the Cake

  • Duncan Hines® 15.25 oz Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 3 Fresh Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Extract

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 drops Egg Yellow gel food coloring


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F or 325° F for dark or coated pans
  • Prepare cake pans as described using either cake release or butter and flour pans
  • Place the buttermilk, eggs, oil and flavoring into a mixing bowl and beat on medium until well combined. 60 – 90 seconds is plenty of mixing.
  • Turn off mixer and pour in entire cake mix package. Stir gently with a large spoon to moisten.
  • Using the mixer, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes
  • Distribute batter to prepared cakes pans
  • Bake as directed on the back of the mix if using standard pans. I baked the 6″ layers with the mini cakes at the same time for 25 minutes. You should start checking your cakes at the 20 minute mark for doneness by using the spring back method and by visually inspecting if the cake has pulled away from the sides.
  • Cool cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out of the pans onto the rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting

  • Using a mixer, beat the softened butter on medium speed until creamy. This takes about 2 minutes. Color of butter should lighten slightly.
  • Add sifted powdered sugar in two additions mixing on low until or medium low until sugar is incorporated. At this point we’re just trying to get the sugar into the butter without having clouds of powered sugar go all over the kitchen. Sifting the sugar provides a much smoother frosting. 
  • Once the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium and whip the frosting until smooth and creamy. About 3 minutes. During this time stream in first the lemon juice THEN the milk or cream. If the frosting is too thick, add a little more cream or milk to reach desired consistency. If the frosting is too thin, add a little more sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. We want it easily spreadable not runny.
  • While the frosting is in the last minute of beating, add food coloring if desired. I like a more pastel color to my frostings so I use only one or two drops, but you can omit it entirely or use more. 


Any leftover frosting can be stored in the fridge in a covered container for up to two weeks. Or freeze for up to 3 months. To use, simply allow it to come to room temperature on the counter and re whip to to return it to it’s creamy consistency.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American