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Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix

Want to whip up a restaurant-quality dessert but don’t have the time to bake from scratch?

This lemon cake with yellow cake mix recipe is perfect.

Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Zest
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This super-easy lemon cake is ridiculously moist and packed with bright, zesty flavor!

The frosting on top adds flavor and a rustic flair. And it’s so good that no one will believe it came right out of the box.

Bring this lemon cake as your next potluck dessert, and your friends will be shocked at your baking skills. 

Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix 

Lemon cake with yellow cake mix.

Cake purists may frown upon the idea, but don’t listen to them! This cake is insanely moist, tender, and delicious – just as good as any homemade cake.

Boxed cake mixes sometimes get a bad rap for not being good enough.

However, these often-unloved cake mixes can actually make the most decadent desserts. This recipe is proof, so try it for yourself!


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Yellow cake mix. Any brand will do. You can also use other flavors, such as lemon for more zest.
  • Lemon-flavored Jello. The key to making the cake seriously moist! As with the cake mix, you can also swap out flavors.
  • Vegetable oil. For extra moisture.
  • Eggs. To bind the cake ingredients and give the cake its form.
  • Lemon extract. For that tart, lemony flavor.
  • Powdered sugar. For a sweet glaze. Don’t substitute with granulated sugar. Otherwise, the glaze will be gritty.
  • Lemon juice. For that tart and zesty flavor!

How to Make

Follow these steps for the perfect lemon cake: 

1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a Bundt pan by greasing it with butter (or cooking spray). 

2. Make the batter. Combine the cake and gelatin mixes in a large bowl. Then, whisk in the eggs, water, and lemon extract. Mix until smooth.

3. Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes when done. 

4. Make the frosting. While the cake is still baking, combine the sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice to make the icing. 

5. Finish. Turn the semi-cooled cake out onto a serving platter. Then, top with the frosting. Let it set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Tips for the Best Cake 

Want to make baking a boxed cake mix even simpler? Incorporate these tips into your baking:

  • No 18.25-ounce boxes? Use a 15.25-ounce box of cake mix + 1/2 cup spooned and leveled all-purpose flour. Don’t scoop and pack it into the cup, or you’ll use too much.
  • Grease the pan generously. Use butter or non-stick cooking spray, and be sure to get every nook and cranny. Then, dust the greased pan with flour. You can also brush the pan with cake release.
  • Use a light-colored Bundt pan. Dark pans can cause the batter to cook too quickly and burn.
  • Sift the powdered sugar. Doing so will ensure the glaze is smooth and lump-free. 
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing will cause the cake to turn out dry. To beat the ingredients together, use a whisk, not an electric mixer. 
  • Use room-temperature eggs. They’ll give you a smooth batter. 
  • Use aluminum foil if necessary. Cover the edges of the cake (or the entire pan) loosely with aluminum foil if it starts browning too quickly.
  • Make it a poke cake. Poke the cake with holes right after baking so the glaze seeps through.
  • Cake-releasing tips. Use a knife to loosen the sides, waiting no longer than 10 minutes after baking to start. Then, flip the pan over and wiggle it until the cake comes out.
Homemade Lemon Bundt Cake

Why Bake with Lemon Juice 

Lemon juice adds a zesty, refreshing flavor to a boxed cake mix. It’ll also help cut down on the “artificial” taste boxed cake mixes sometimes have.  

For this specific cake, you’ll also use lemon juice to flavor the glaze. Not only does it give the cake a refreshingly tart flavor, but it also helps lock in moisture.

Pro lemon-juicing tip: Warm lemons in the microwave for 30 seconds or let them soak in hot water for several minutes. Then, let them cool briefly before squeezing.

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You can also roll lemons against a flat surface to make them easier to squeeze. Finally, cut them lengthwise for the best grip. 

How to Avoid a Fallen Cake 

While a fallen cake still tastes great, it doesn’t look pretty at all. Here are a couple of tips to avoid a sinking cake:

  • Use an oven thermometer. Oftentimes, there’s a slight difference between the temperature you’ll set your oven to and its actual temperature. This deviation can make or break a cake. An oven thermometer will help you monitor the temperature accurately.
  • Don’t rely on visual cues. It’s possible for a cake to turn golden brown and puff up beautifully and still be undercooked on the inside. Always use the toothpick method to make sure it’s cooked through. 

Recipe Variations

Before you go, check out a few variations you can use to tweak this cake to perfectly suit your tastes:

  • Vary the cake mix and Jello. Any boxed cake mix works for this recipe. I often use lemon for that extra zesty flavor. Similarly, you can swap out the Jello flavors or mix lemon and orange Jello. 
  • Make it extra moist. Simply replace some of the vegetable oil with two scoops of sour cream. The result will blow your mind. 
  • Leave out the Jello. Not a fan of gelatin? Try using a pudding mix instead. Same great texture but with a slightly different texture.
  • Make it boozy. For more flavor, spike the cake with rum or brandy. Use 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup rum (instead of 3/4 cups water).
  • Don’t forget the toppings! Top it with whipped cream and fresh berries or compote. A scoop of vanilla ice cream works wonders, too. You can also sprinkle lemon zest on top for a more intense lemony flavor.

More Cake Mix Recipes You’ll Love

Funnel Cake with Pancake Mix
Pumpkin Dessert With Yellow Cake Mix
Cake Mix Brownies
Cherry Cobbler with Cake Mix

Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix



Prep time


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Try this lemon cake with yellow cake mix recipe for an easy dessert the family will love! You’ll feel like a pro after learning how to make this scrumptious cake.


  • For the Cake
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix

  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package lemon-flavored Jell-O

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

  • For the Glaze
  • 2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest for garnish, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter or non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl, stir the cake and gelatin mix. Then, whisk in the oil, eggs, water, and lemon extract until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, flip onto a serving plate.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Stir the sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add more powdered sugar as needed until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Pour the glaze over the slightly cooled cake and let set for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with lemon zest (optional) and enjoy!


  • Don’t overmix the batter! Doing so will result in a dry, flat cake.
  • No 18.25 ounce boxes? Use a 15.25-ounce box + 1/2 cup spooned and leveled all-purpose flour.
Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

6 thoughts on “Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix”

    • Hi Noreen! You’ll want to use 1/4 cup water + 1/2 cup rum (instead of 3/4 cups water) in the cake batter. For the glaze, 2 cups of powdered sugar with 1/4 cup of lemon juice should be just right. But you can adjust that if you want it thicker (add more powdered sugar).

  1. Where did you find a box of cake mix 18.25oz I only saw 13.25oz. does this make a big difference as to how must oil, eggs, etc you use for this recipe. Thank you

    • Hi Dee!
      I’ve found a few larger boxes but they’re few and far between, unfortunately.

      Here’s what you can do:

      -Use a 15.25-ounce box of cake mix + 1/2 cup spooned and leveled all-purpose flour. Don’t scoop and pack it into the cup, or you’ll use too much.

      -If all you can find are 13-ounce boxes, the best method is to buy more than one and weigh 5 ounces from one box. Add that to the recipe with the full box (13-ounces) and store the rest for later.

      It’s a pain, I know. But these are the best methods for using the same tried and true recipes without having to change them.

      Hope this helps!


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