Easy Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’m feeling Spring – anyone else?! The trees and flowers are blooming, I’m sneezing and the weather is gorgeous! What better way to ring in Springtime then with a cake! A lemon cake to be exact.

Now, I LOVE a good lemon pie or cake (like my No-Bake Lemon Pie, my Lemon Yogurt Cake, and my Lemon Meringue Pie). But today seemed like a good day to make an easy lemon cake with a decadent cream cheese frosting. We’re not celebrating anything, we’re not having any visitors… I just wanted to bake this cake!

This cake whips together so easily, too, as does the frosting. My favorite part is that the lemon flavor really shines – it’s seriously good! I will say that this is a dense cake, so I would eat as much as you can in the first day or two of baking it because as it settles over time, it becomes even more dense. Not a bad thing – just not as light and fluffy.

And as I’m writing this, I realized this cake would be PERFECT for Easter. Celebrate Spring time and it looks gorgeous!

When would be the best time to eat this cake? Let me know in the comments below!

Easy Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Lemon Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (about 12 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the cake: combine granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, and rub with fingers to disperse lemon oil until sugar feels moist, about 1 minute. Whisk in olive oil. Add eggs; whisk until well combined. Add milk, vanilla, and salt; whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour and baking powder just until combined, and then whisk 20 turns around the bowl.
  3. Lightly coat a 13- x 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray; pour batter into pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.
  4. Invert cake onto wire rack, and poke cake all over with a wooden skewer or fork 15 to 20 times. Stir together honey and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Brush or drizzle syrup over warm cake. Let cake cool completely, about 1 hour.
  5. To make the frosting: combine cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add butter, and beat on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until incorporated. Increase speed to high, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer cake to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate, uncovered, until frosting hardens, about 15 minutes. Cut cake in half crosswise, and stack halves. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Serve cake chilled. Enjoy. img_1306_jpg

Recipe slightly adapted from foodandwine.com.

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