Mom’s Lemon Jello Cake with lemon glaze icing is so easy to make, is bursting with LEMON flavor, and will be a big hit with all who try this delicious dessert!Mom's Lemon Jello Cake with lemon glaze icing is so easy to make, is bursting with LEMON flavor, and will be a big hit with all who try this delicious dessert!

My mother has been making Mom’s Lemon Jello Cake for at least 45 years. It’s SO EASY to make, is incredibly moist, and overflows with lemon flavor! It was always a treat when my Mom would make this simple, delicious cake for our family when we were young!

The cake takes only a few minutes to mix up and get into the oven… and 35 minutes later… you’ve made a fantastic, moist lemon jello cake, that is covered with a sweet lemon glaze that seeps into the body of the cake. This is really so simple to make. Here’s what you do:

Scroll Down for A Printable Recipe Card At The Bottom Of The Page

How To Make This Lemon Jello Cake

Mix the ingredients for the lemon jello cake in large bowl. It is important to note the recipe calls for lemon gelatin mix (not lemon pudding). I’ve been asked that question before and it is an important distinction!

Lemon gelatin is used rather than lemon pudding mix... and important difference!

Beat the ingredients with a mixer until they are fully blended. Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Ingredients for lemon jello cake in large bowl.

Batter for Mom's lemon jello cake is mixed together in bowl.

The addition of lemon jello powder really adds an extra level of lemony citrus flavor to this cake! Once the batter for the cake is in the pan, you’re ready to bake!

Lemon cake batter is poured into 13x9 inch baking dish.

Baking And Glazing The Lemon Jello Cake

Bake the lemon jello cake 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out dry. The cake will be light golden brown on top.

Let the cake sit (still in the pan) for just a minute on a wire rack, then poke holes into the entire top of the cake. I use a chop stick for doing this, but a straw also works well. Make holes every inch or so.

After lemon jello cake is baked, holes are poked into cake

Here’s a close up to show you the holes that were made in the top of the cake.

The lemon cake has holes poked in it all over.

Prepare The Lemon Glaze

Mix up the lemon glaze in a small bowl, then pour it over the hot cake. Use the back of a spoon to spread the lemon icing over the entire surface of cake.

Lemon glaze for cake is mixed up in bowl.

Glaze is poured over top of lemon jello cake.

Here’s what the lemon jello cake will look like after completely distributing the glaze over it. The glaze melts from the hot cake, and sinks down into the tiny holes you created all over the top of the cake. The lemon icing seeping into the holes INTO the cake is what helps the cake to stay so moist, and full of flavor! YUM!

Lemon glaze is absorbed through the holes poked into cake.

Ready To EAT!

Once the cake and icing have cooled off to room temperature, cut a piece of this tasty lemon jello cake, and enjoy every bite! It is DELICIOUS, and dare I say it again… so EASY!!!!!!

Slice of lemon cake on plate with a fork... ready to eat.

Sure hope you give this recipe for lemon jello cake a try. It’s always a big hit with everyone who tries it. If you like lemon flavored treats, you will love this cake (it also freezes well)! Have a fantastic day… and in the words of Cinderella in the newest movie version… “HAVE COURAGE. BE KIND.”

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Recipe Source: My Mom (who has been making this cake for at least 45 years!)

5 from 6 votes
Mom's Lemon Jello Cake
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Mom's Lemon Jello Cake with lemon glaze icing is so easy to make, is bursting with LEMON flavor, and will be a big hit with all who try this delicious dessert!
Category: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon jello cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories Per Serving: 281 kcal
Author: JB @ The Grateful Girl Cooks!
For cake:
  • 1 box Lemon Cake Mix
  • 3 ounces Lemon Jello powder (small size gelatin, not pudding))
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
For Lemon Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 lemons (all the juice AND the zest from the peel)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, jello powder, eggs, oil and water. Beat until well blended. Pour batter into a GREASED and FLOURED 13 x 9 inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean).

  3. While cake is baking, make the icing, by mixing the powdered sugar with the fresh lemon juice and lemon zest (rind), until fully combined.
  4. When cake is done, remove pan to a wire rack. While cake is still hot, poke holes over the entire surface of the cake, using a chop stick, a straw, or the handle end of a spoon. Make holes every inch or so across the top of cake. Pour on the lemon glaze, and spread it evenly across top of cake, to cover. Let cake cool down to room temperature (so glaze will firm up), then cut into pieces and serve. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Mom's Lemon Jello Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 piece (1/16th of total))
Calories 281 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 247mg11%
Potassium 45mg1%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Sugar 29g32%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Vitamin C 7.2mg9%
Calcium 76mg8%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Mom's Lemon Jello Cake with lemon glaze icing is so easy to make, is bursting with LEMON flavor, and will be a big hit with all who try this delicious dessert!




Mom\'s Lemon Jello Cake

71 Comments on Mom’s Lemon Jello Cake

  1. 5 stars
    Very good and easy recipe. I used a white cake mix because it’s what I had on hand. Cooked 10 minutes less than directions called for. Added the juice of one lemon with the water since I wasn’t using a lemon cake mix. Also added a few drops of lemon oil and some vanilla. So good-reminds me of my childhood. I think it’s also known, in the south, as funeral cake.

  2. 5 stars
    I live at a high elevation and I added 2T of flour which normally works for cakes, but it turned out a little too dense, although the flavor is still good. Has anyone made any adjustments for higher elevation? Also, my glaze didn’t melt into the cake, so not sure if I need to adjust that for the elevation too. Thanks

  3. This is my son’s favorite cake and it’s his birthday today, so I have it in the oven right now. I was winging it because I didn’t have the original anymore. I remembered I needed to add 4 eggs and a bit more oil. My box cake calls for butter, so I increased that a bit. I also added some lemon zest to the cake. Oh, and I could have sworn the recipe I had before called for the larger box of lemon Jello? Like the 5 oz one? I ended up using 1.5 boxes of the 3 oz box. I hope I didn’t ruin it.

    I came here because I couldn’t recall when to put the holes/icing on the cake.

  4. JB, I’m excited to make this cake with your recipe! Is it OK to use instant Lemon jello or does it have to be regular jello? Before I found your recipe, I bought lemon cake mix instead of yellow. Do you think that will matter? Also, if I use lemon juice for the glaze instead of lemons, any idea how much I should use? Finally, how can I print your recipe from the website without signing up for the whole google thing. Every time I click on VIEW or PRINT, it takes me to that, with no way to close out of it and just print your delicious recipe.

    • Good morning, Trish. I will try to answer all those questions. 1) I have never made this recipe with instant jello, so don’t know how this would be. 2) Never used yellow cake mix to make this recipe, as it is a lemon cake (wouldn’t taste the same) Recipe calls for lemon cake mix. 3) always use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. 4) no signups for google are needed to print the recipes, Trish. Might be the printing preference or configuration you have set up on your computer.

      • I just made this with yellow cake on New Year’s. It still came out very lemony, I have used both lemon and yellow cake mix in the past, you can’t tell the difference, they both come out tasting the same. The lemon jello and lemon glaze give you a lemony taste as well. Everyone raved about the lemon flavor and how good it was.

  5. The origional recipe I had called for 4 eggs. But I was told to only buy a Duncan Hines yellow cake mix with no pudding in the mix. And I always made it in a an angel cake Pan. Over the years I found it difficult to find the OriginalMixSo when I did find it I’d buy 2 or 3–4 boxes of it so I’d always have it on hand. My original recipe was lost in a fire So I’m very happy to have this back again. T my recipe was given to me around 1961…

    • Tanya’s I’m glad you said that about the eggs. I ran to check my recipe from my grandmother against this one. It says 4 eggs and sometimes I add a little vanilla but that was my aunts addition and I don’t think it is needed.

  6. 5 stars
    I used to make this with my mom in the 1970’s and am so happy to see it again! My mom passed away a few years ago and I find myself wanting to make things that remind me of her. The only differences are: we used to put poppy seeds in and we used a Bundt pan. Thank you for posting this OG lemon cake recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    making this cake today in honor of my gram’s bday. she wrote out the recipe but not the cook time or oven degree. happily surprised that there was a similar recipe on the net.

  8. I was looking for a Dreamsicle Cake that is NOT a poke cake and wanted to use cream cheese icing instead. I think that I can use this recipe, using a yellow cake mix. Wanted to use orange sugar-free gelatin too. With some adjustments we will see how it turn out. Wish me luck.

  9. My next-door neighbor’s mom made this cake all the time in the early 1960’s, so I always made sure i was invited to dinner when I saw her making this. She said the recipe was originally on the back of the lemon jello box in the 1950’s. They stopped printing it, and she later called it her “secret recipe,” so I’m glad to see the recipe here for my favorite cake! I will now have the ability to make it myself for the first time.

  10. Man question here: how do you make the glaze? Just follow the directions on the box of Jello? Boiling water then cold water? Thanks.

    • Hi, John… the instructions and ingredients for the glaze are listed in the printable recipe cad at the bottom of the post. Perhaps you didn’t scroll far enough down to allow you to see this? Hope that helps. Have a nice day.

    • I have baked this cake for years, however, for some reason now the center of the cake sinks. Any suggestions?

      • That happens to me all the time now as well. I have no idea why it is happening. Have been making this cake since the 60’s with no problem. Sure would like to have an answer.

  11. I have always made this in a sheet pan not a cake pan. For a large group double the recipe and use a 13×18 pan

  12. Hi, I Live lemon…
    Just made this cake…it’s cooling… didn’t have lemon jello, so used strawberry jello…
    I’m taking it to a funeral reception tomorrow…sure there won’t be any left.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Omgosh! I am in tears right now. My mother, who has since passed, always used to make a cake like this for my birthday. I can’t find the card I had the recipe written down on so I’m so grateful I found this. The only difference is that we prefer a yellow cake mix to the lemon. So excited to make it for Thanksgiving this year. Thank you!

    • My mom too. My 22-YO grandson remembered it from when he was little and requested it for his upcoming birthday. Most of the recipes want cool-whip or pudding which is just WRONG!

  14. I am so happy to have found this recipe! My husband’s birthday party is tomorrow and I can’t find my recipe!! My mother-in-law made this for my husband for his birthday every year, and after we were married, I made it for him his special day. His mom used raspberry jello instead of lemon, and a yellow cake mix instead of lemon, and the recipe I HAD used 4 eggs instead of 3. But the “frosting” part is the same. We are having his party at our goddaughter’s house, and everyone is looking forward to the cake!!! Thanks for posting the recipe!

  15. I have a friend,Jim, who makes this all the time. He uses 1 box of lemon jello and 1 box of orange, as he couldn’t find two boxes of lemon this time, also he adds 1 tsp baking powder as this makes the cake rise better.

  16. Hi there “Grateful Girl”,
    I baked this cake tonight for my brother-in-laws birthday lunch tomorrow. Jello cake was his favorite growing up and my sister thought lemon would be a great taste for summer. It is golden on top and pulled away from the sides of my metal pan as it cooled. I hope I did not over cook it, I actually cut back 2 minutes because the cake mix called for 30 minutes. I see that you use a glass pan. I am hoping it will be moiste even though it appears a little dry on the sides. I will use a glass pan next time.

    • Hope you enjoyed the cake, KelleyJo. I have actually used both metal and glass pans for this cake through the years. For me, testing it with a toothpick inserted into the middle has always been my test for done-ness. Have a great day.

  17. This was my mom’s go-to also. She used a yellow cake, 4 eggs, lemon extract and Jello pudding (not gelatin). She made it in a bundt pan. I made it this weekend and added about a teaspoon of baking soda and it rose beautifully. This must have been published in Ladies Home Journal or McCalls, which were her favorite magazines for us all to have such a similar recipe. Enjoy!

    • Hi, Beth! Thanks for writing. Guess we all had great moms who grew up cooking the same things quite often, back in the days before Pinterest, blogging, etc. What a wonderful heritage! Have a great day.

  18. My mom made me this always fit my birthdays. Being that we are home more often I thought I’d make it for my kids. My mom used 4 while eggs but everything else is the same. I don’t have a box of yellow cake mix so I’m looking at recipes online for yellow cake. Any suggestions for making this from scratch?

    Also, have you tried it with one more egg?

    Lastly, any attempts with adding lemon zest to the batter with the lemon jello for a more lemony flavor?

    I’m so excited to make this cake!!!

    • Hi, Danielle. Never have tried it with more eggs. You should be able to find a great recipe for yellow cake online (there’s lots). I think adding lemon zest to the icing would be fantastic! Great suggestion. Hope you have a great day, and wishing you great success with the cake!

      • The original recipe used an 18 oz box of cake mix – today’s is under 15.25 or so depending on brand. This probably accounts for the difference in egg number

  19. Hello,
    I am making this cake for my husband’s birthday. His grandmother made it for him years ago. He told me he thought it has lemon jello AND frozen lemonade. I can’t find a recipe with both. The frozen lemonade was used where you have the lemon juice and confectioner sugar. Do you think it would be too sweet if I made the change?

    • Hi, Lori. Thanks for taking time to write. Wow… have never heard of using frozen lemonade. I suppose it might work (I sure think it would be fun to try it out!). I am assuming you mean using it for the lemon glaze on top of the cake. Not sure just how sweet it would be, but certainly worth the try. Would love to hear from you if you use that method, and see how it worked out for you! Take care.

  20. I just thought I’d share that my mom always make this cake (with her variations) for my dad when he was still with us. It was his favorite. Mom used Lemon Cake Mix, a full cup of water and 3 Lemons for the glaze instead of 2. (dad really liked the extra kick). Otherwise the recipe was the same. I’m getting ready to make it right now (but might cut back on the oil)!

  21. My mom always made this cake. She called it her Lemon Gold cake.
    It was always my birthday cake and now my youngest son’s (he’s 18)
    Mom always used 2 1/4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/3 cup of lemon juice for the glaze. And a total of 4 whole eggs and 3/4 cup of vegetable oil.
    Today I’m trying it with lime jello

    • Good morning, Darcy! Thanks for writing. Hope you have (or had) great success with the lime jello for the cake!Take care.

    • Hi, Laurie! Thanks for writing. I am sure you can, but am fairly certain you would have to adjust the cooking time a bit, as the cake would be thicker. I have NEVER made it in a bundt pan in all the years I’ve been using this recipe, so I’m not much help there. Hope you have great success… the cake is really yummy!

    • Good morning, Steph! Thank you for writing. I have no idea why it wouldn’t work, but I have NEVER tried it, so can’t help in how much to use. Might have to be a taste and tell kind of thing. Good luck. Would enjoy hearing from you if you use this method and the amount that worked for you.

  22. I’ve made this cake for years. It’s always a crowd pleaser. I prefer to make it with a yellow cake mix, kinda adds a slight vanilla taste to it.You can also use a Lime jello, especially around St.Patricks Day!

    • Good morning, Jae! Thanks for writing! Have never even thought to try it with lime jello… bet that would taste and look great, as well! Hope you have a great day!

  23. Hi. I dont know if you’ll see this in time but… I dont see the recipe or measurements for the glaze. I grew up on this cake. It’s always my bday cake. Only this year I do not have my mom or anyone to ask. I dont know where my copy is. I remember we added something like an extra egg or more water
    Darn. The glaze I think is butter lemon and powdered sugar. I read this article over a few times. I dont see it.
    I will get to learn it by memory this year. Nothing makes the correct things in cooking stick in your brain like doing things incorrectly. But if you get this soon would you have time to help a girl out? Thanks

    • Good morning, Kari! Thank you for writing, and Happy Birthday (in advance?)The ingredients for the lemon glaze are in the printable recipe card, at the bottom of the post. You must have not scrolled down far enough to see them. Hope you enjoy the cake!

    • Hi, Ashley… you know, I have never used less jello in all the bazillion times I have made this cake, so I can’t speak to how that would impact the flavor of the cake itself. If you do make it with only part of the jello, I would be curious to know how that worked out. Merry Christmas.

  24. Hello! I’m in Houston ,TX. I made your Lemon Jell-O cake. It is really good. I like how moist it is. I didn’t know if I should use Jello-O’s Lemon gelatin or Jello-O’s Lemon pudding. The recipe wasn’t clear on that detail so I bought both used the pudding and it came out really good. I’ll try it with Jello-O’s Lemon gelatin next time to see if their is a huge difference.

    Lemon Cake is my favorite cake amd I love trying different variations of it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Good morning, Erica! Yes, the cake needs lemon JELLO gelatin to make it as written. Glad to hear you had good luck with the pudding, though. I edited the recipe just a bit to make sure this ingredient is clear for others. Thank you for taking time to write, and hope you will try it with the gelatin. It’s yummy! Have a great day!

  25. Hi my mom used to make this all the time when I was a kid. Only her recipe used white cake mix. Plus I never found it to be oily either. like one other person found it to be. Go figure! Anyway I am glad its still around.

    • Hi, Jeannie! Thanks for taking time to write! Your comment made me laugh! Maybe all Moms used to make this cake back in the day, right? Hope you have a great day!

    • Good morning, Vicki! I used a fork to mix it all together… it’s very easy to do! Hope you have a great weekend, and do hope you enjoy this delicious lemon jello cake! Thanks for taking time to write.

  26. My grandmother made this cake every summer when I was s kid. It took me forever to figure out that the jell-0 went in the mix, not in the glaze! But today I put lemon juice instead of water in the mix. Let me tell you, try this. It takes it up several notches on the yummy lemon scale!!!

  27. Made this Lemon Jello cake today. It’s okay, just oily. I would probably go with 1/2 cup (as the cake mix asked for) or a tad less. Icing was a bit too sweet, not enough lemon kick. Next one I’ll add juice from three lemons cut back on the powdered sugar.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write, Curtis. Sorry you felt it was oily… we’ve always thought of it as a moist cake, and have never had anyone in all the years of serving it think it was too “oily”. If you choose to make it again, hope the changes you make will make it perfect for you! Blessings- Have a great day!

5 from 6 votes (1 rating without comment)

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