Lemon Cake for a Crowd

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

Lemon Sheet Cake

Anyone else DREAMING about the days when we can safely entertain again? I love love love having friends and family over for brunch, picnics, and dinner parties. And I’m praying one day soon we’ll all be in need of recipes that can easily serve a crowd!

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!Which is where this dreamy lemon cake comes in! It’s thick, fluffy, and most importantly, it’s packed with fresh REAL lemon flavor. The lemon flavor comes from fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract.

It’s a million times better than those boxed cake mixes, and it’s pretty darn easy, too! Mainly because it’s a sheet cake recipe, which means no assembling and decorating multiple layers! You’ll simply bake the cake, let it cool, and then slather the yummy cream cheese frosting on top!

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

Let’s talk Lemon Cake Batter…

Before we get started, let’s make sure you have everything you need. Firstly, you’ll need a stand mixer or a large bowl and an electric mixer for this recipe. Unfortunately there’s no working around that!

Next, do you have a 9×13 baking pan and parchment paper? You’re going to need those, too! Unlike a lot of lemon sheet cakes, I don’t use a sheet pan because this cake has so much batter. Lots of batter = a super fluffy slice of cake!

Finally, you’ll need your ingredients! Our dry ingredients are all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I HIGHLY recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh your flour. Because I tested this recipe 8 times and it’s not super forgiving when it comes to the flour. Too much and your cake will be bone dry. Too little and it won’t set properly.

Your wet/solid ingredients are butter, eggs, lemon extract, vanilla extract, lemon juice, sour cream, and buttermilk. I know buttermilk is a pain, but it really is essential. Again, I tested this recipe with just regular milk and it was not the same.

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

Room Temperature Ingredients are KEY…

Before we start baking, let me ask you a question: is your butter at room temperature?! It HAS to be for this to work! If your butter is too cold your batter will never bind. It will look split and bake wonky. Your eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream should all also be at room temperature

Whip Up the Batter…

Now that all of our ingredients are ready and at room temperature, let’s bake!

  1. With your mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Toss in the eggs and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
  2. Toss in the sifted dry ingredients and mix on LOW until just barely combined. About 20 seconds.
  3. Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, buttermilk, and sour cream. Beat on low until combined.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of center of the cake comes out clean. Your baking time could be anywhere from 35 to 40 minutes depending on your oven and the type of baking pan you use. I use this metallic metal pan and my cake is done at exactly 37 minutes.
  5. Cool your cake on a wire cooling rack until completely cool! In the meantime, make your frosting!

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

It’s Lemon Frosting Time!

This lemon cream cheese frosting is to-die-for! Made with butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract. Plus a ton of powdered sugar, which binds everything together and sweetness things up! You’ll want to make this in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer.

If the frosting looks too thick, you can add a little extra lemon juice! Too thin? Add a little more confectioners’ sugar!

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

Make it Pretty…

You know I love making things pretty, so obviously I had to doll this cake up! To do that I simply added some dollops of lemon curd and fresh lemon slices on top! If they’re in season, you could even add some blueberries or raspberries on top! Lemon cake and fresh fruit are a match made in heaven!

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

More Lemon Cakes:

Lemon Cake for a Crowd

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield 9×13 cake

My lemon cake for a crowd is moist, fluffy, and loaded with fresh lemon flavor! Topped with silky smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, dollops of lemon curd, and fresh lemon slices, this is one of my most popular lemon desserts. Bonus: this lemon sheet cake is so easy and feeds a crowd!

Ingredients

For the Lemon Sheet Cake:

  • 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (343 grams)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract 
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature  
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature 
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice  

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, VERY soft
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, VERY soft
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons lemon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract 

Instructions

For the Lemon Sheet Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper, and any exposed pan, with non-stick baking spray. Set aside until needed. 
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 
  3. 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 on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat for another 30 seconds. 
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl often to ensure all of the ingredients are being evenly incorporated. 
  5. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon extract.
  6. On low speed, add in the sifted dry ingredients and beat until just barely combined, about 20 seconds here. Don’t over mix here or your cake will be dry! Stop mixing when you can still see lumps and streaks of dry ingredients. 
  7. Turn the mixer off. Add in the buttermilk, sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Turn mixer on lowest speed and mix just until all of the ingredients are combined. 
  8. Turn the mixer off and, using a rubber spatula, give the batter a gentle fold, scraping from the bottom of the bowl up. This is just to ensure the mixer blade didn’t miss anything! 
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and use a spatula to gently smooth the top.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is firm, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached. 
  11. Place cake pan on a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting. 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until completely smooth; about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added beat on high-speed for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the frosting over the cake and decorate with lemon curd and fresh lemon slices, if desired. 
  4. Leftovers should be covered tightly and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Courses Dessert

Cuisine American

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