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Recipe for lemon cake made with a cake mix and instant pudding mix.
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Easy Lemon Cake with Lemon Pudding Frosting

Easy Lemon Cake starts with a cake mix and lemon instant pudding! This lemon layered cake is so easy to make with a doctored up cake mix and it's topped with the fluffiest whipped lemon pudding frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy lemon cake, easy lemon cake with lemon pudding and cake mix, lemon layered cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 398kcal
Author Together As Family

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 1 box (15.25 oz) lemon cake mix
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) lemon instant pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs

Whipped Lemon Pudding Frosting

  • 1 packet Dream Whip
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) lemon instant pudding
  • 1⅓ cups half & half milk or whole milk

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350°. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, or you can use the bowl of a stand mixer, add the dry cake mix, instant pudding, sour cream, oil, milk, whole milk, and eggs.
    Beat on low speed, increasing speed as needed, until the batter is well combined. The batter will be thick and that's ok.
  • Divide cake batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. The layers will be thin but don't worry cause as they cook they will bake up higher.
  • Cook for 18-20 miutes.
    Use a toothpick inserted into the middle to ensure it's cooked all the way. You want the toothpick coming out with moist crumbs NOT wet batter.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan (at room temperature) until it's completely cooled.
  • At this point you can either frost the cake once it's cooled OR tightly cover the cake pans with saran wrap or tin foil and refrigerate overnight or for several hours before frosting it.
    I always make the cake the night before I need it. I bake and cool it the day before and then tightly wrap the cake pans up and refrigerate overnight. The next day I make the frosting and frost the cake.

Lemon Pudding Frosting

  • Combine all frosting ingredients into a bowl, or use the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low speed, increasing speed as needed, until it's thick and fluffy and stiff peaks form. This will take several minutes.
    The recipe pictures show a double recipe of the frosting. If you like the more even layers of frosting and cake then you will want to double the frosting recipe for a layered cake.

Notes

Dream Whip : Dream Whip is a powdered whipped topping. Think of powdered milk compared to milk. Dream Whip is the powdered, shelf-stable version of heavy whipping cream. I don't use Dream Whip a lot, actually only in this lemon cake recipe, but it's really good! Promise. You can find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store and it comes in a box with 2 packets inside of it. You will need 1 of those packets for the frosting, unless you want more frosting, then you will need 2 packets to double the frosting recipe. If you don't want to use the Dream Whip then feel free to use 2 cups heavy whipping cream in it's place. Depending on sweet preference you may have to add some powdered sugar as well to the frosting mix before you start beating it, if you use heavy whipping cream instead of Dream Whip.
Sour Cream : Full-fat sour cream tastes the best so please use it. You are making cake after all, not diet food, so if you want it to have the best texture and rich taste then use full fat sour cream.
Can I make a 9x13 cake? I tested this recipe several times using a 9x13 pan and while it worked I did not love the results. It tastes better as a layered cake. You can bake it in a 9x13 baking dish but watch the center closely because it does not rise up high like the edges, so use a toothpick inserted into the middle to check for doneness. You want the toothpick coming out with moist crumbs not wet batter. Follow the instructions on the back of the cake for cooking times if making a 9x13 cake. 
Can I make this ahead of time? Yes you can! In fact I love to make the cake the day before. I bake it and let it cool completely. Then I cover the cake pans with Saran Wrap and let the cake refrigerate overnight. The next day I make the frosting and frost the cake before serving it. I think it's much easier to frost a cold cake. 
This recipe is different than the original (slightly). If you loved the original recipe here it is : 
15.25 oz lemon cake mix
3.4 oz lemon instant pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Frosting recipe is the same as before. No changes. Read the post above for reasons to the changes and notes on the changes made. 

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 377IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 2mg