Let Them Eat Cake…And Make It, Lemon Jello Cake

Do you ever have small little details in everyday life bring about some cherished memory from days past?  Recently grabbed a bottle of Jergen’s hand lotion from the bathroom counter at work, as soon as I squeezed the lotion out onto my hand I was taken with the smell of the “original scent” of this lotion.  It brought back memories of a special aunt.  My Aunt JoAnnie was not only a favorite but also my God mother. I was flooded with memories of her. She always had Jergen’s hand lotion it was kind of her trademark! (if one can have a hand cream as a trademark)  I loved that scent then and I love it today too.  Every once in a while I’ll come across a little detail that will take me back to some childhood memory of a special place, person or event.  I think it’s so interesting how certain smells and tastes can trigger something in our brain and we are instantly taken to another time and place.

When I was a little girl I looked forward to big family events, baby showers, birthdays or just the summer family reunion picnic. When there was opportunity for a family pot luck I knew that one of my great aunts was going to make my favorite Lemon Cake.  I wished I could eat the whole cake…and I probably could have but of course my mom would limit me to one piece and I was always worried that if I didn’t pay attention to when dessert was served, I’d miss out, it would be gone, and I wouldn’t get a piece.  I loved that lemon cake, and my mom never made it since she did not have a recipe.  As an adult I remembered that cake and wanted to learn how to make it so one day while one of those great aunts was at my house I asked for the recipe.  She was surprised to find out that I didn’t have it, laughed a little and passed it along to me that day.  I was so excited and tried to make the long awaited cake. It was a fail!  I had followed the directions, but no matter what I tried I couldn’t make that cake come out correctly.  I even had other family members attempting to make it too! Cousins, Mom, no one could make it as I remembered it…and these women were bakers too!  I resigned myself that Aunt Helen must have gone to her grave…along with Auntie Carol and taken that recipe with her (they were sisters and the only ones that I remembered making this cake)…and she must have purposely left something out of the recipe that she gave me.  Well, ok,  maybe it wasn’t purposely as she was up there in age when she gave me the recipe and she did write it down from memory.  I was completely bummed!

UNTIL…..I went to dinner at a friends house and she served the cake for dessert!  I asked for the recipe, and again and again and again, I tried to make this cake! Her recipe was slightly different but seriously, it was a fail every darned time!  NOW DONT YOU LAUGH AT THIS PART….The name of her recipe was Lemon Jello Cake. You may have heard of it before but I had not! I searched the internet and was completely surprised to find out that this recipe was a very popular recipe. It had been around for ages which totally explained why all the people that made it correctly were older!  I must have lived under a rock, however, there were so many renditions of the recipe that I struggled with which one to try.  Finally, a couple of weeks ago I gave it a shot, I picked up some pointers from various other bakers. I actually looked for older bakers when I was blog hopping, thinking that they had the secret when it came to this cake. And OMG!  I GOT IT!  IT CAME OUT JUST AS I REMEMBERED.

So here it is, one more rendition of Lemon Jello Cake, for those of you like me, who struggle with making this cake.  I’m noting some tips that were important little details that make all the difference in the world.

Lemon Jello Cake

Dunkin Hines Lemon Cake Mix (or any other brand but I used this cause it called for it and I think it’s a little moister than some brands), Small package of Lemon Jello, 3/4 C Oil, 3/4 C water, 4 eggs, 2 lemons, 2 T melted butter and 2 C Confectioner’s Sugar.

  • Mix – cake mix, water, oil, eggs, lemon Jello together and bake in a greased13x9 inch cake pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook your cake, you want it to be moist.  It should barely bounce back when you gently touch the top of your cake.
  • While cake is cooking mix together glaze for top.   Here’s one of the small little details that made all the difference in the world.
  • Start with the 2C confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter and add this to the sugar.
  • Juice the lemons until you have 1/4 cup NO MORE.  Most of the recipes calls for “the juice of 1 or 2 lemons”.  That is a dumb statement as lemons can give a varying amount of juice depending on the ripeness and even how you go about juicing the lemon.  Squeezing a lemon by hand vs using a electric juicer can give you a very big difference in the amount of juice you get.  So by all means…juice away until you have 1/4 cup but no more (even a little less is ok).
  •  Add this juice to the confectioner’s sugar and mix together until the glaze is about the thickness shown below

  •   You may even want to add your juice a little at a time to make sure that your glaze is not too thin. If your glaze is too thin you will not get the glaze to set-up on top of your cake.
  • When the cake is done remove it from the oven and poke holes all over the top of the cake with a BIG fork (the barbeque type like this).

  • This is another on of those little details.  You don’t want to tear your cake up but if your holes are not big enough the glaze will not seep into the middle of the cake and get that flavor down inside.
  • Slowly pour and spread your glaze over the top of your cake making sure that it seeps down the sides of your cake and into the holes.
  • Once your glaze is all spread over the top of your cake place the cake in the oven (turned off) for 5 minutes to set glaze.  Take out and cool before serving at room temperature. In my opinion, this cake is best served at room temperature.

I even made a cupcake to give it a try in that form and it was delicious too!

Mmmm,  hope you enjoy! And of course…that you have better luck with the baking than I did.






Here’s the dangerous part….my family…not really a fan of lemon desserts, it’s chocolate, chocolate for them so I’m very likely going to be the person that eats the most of this dessert…watch out waistline!




Let Them Eat Cake…And Make It, Lemon Jello Cake — 4 Comments

      • Oh my goodness! I can relate to the phone problem…so annoying!

        I baked the cupcakes for 18 minutes, but I’d say try 18-20 minutes depending on your oven. To test the doneness lightly touch the top of the cupcake and it should spring back not leaving an indention. Happy baking!

        • Thank you for your speedy response. 18 min was perfect! My recipe is exactly the same as yours except for the glaze. I use 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-4 Tbsp lemon juice and 2-4Tbsp of oj. Thought I’d mention it. Happy baking!

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