Home Desserts Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Glaze

As much as I love layered chocolate cakes, this lovely lemon sheet cake is my all-time party fave.

From the buttery, citrus-infused cake to the tangy lemon glaze, my family is lucky if they get a slice – I could eat the whole thing in one sitting.

It’s perfect for parties, BBQs, potlucks, and more. And it couldn’t be easier to make.

Sliced lemon sheet cake in a baking tray with lemon glaze and lemon zest.
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Lemon Sheet Cake 

Sheet cakes are some of my favorite treats to bake and eat. They’re incredibly simple, but they’re always crowd-pleasers. 

And this recipe is no exception!

This lemon sheet cake is for serious citrus lovers. From the sponge to the glaze, it oozes with lemon in every bite

Better yet, it’s impossibly easy to make and decorate. So you can have it ready for a crowd in no time.

Whip it up for a summer party, or in the winter when you need something sunny.

There’s no wrong time for this stunning lemon sheet cake. 

Lemon glaze poured over lemon sheet cake in a pan.


Don’t let the long ingredient list fool you! Other than fresh lemons, I bet you have everything you need in your pantry right now.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • All-Purpose Flour: No fancy flour is needed here! All-purpose flour will deliver a perfect rise in the oven. 
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: This combo gives you just the right amount of rise.
  • Salt: To draw out the natural flavors and balance the lemon and sugar. 
  • Granulated Sugar: A little sweetness to combat the tartness of citrus. 
  • Unsalted Butter: Softened butter brings richness and moisture to the sponge.
  • Eggs: Another way to bring richness and moisture. But they also help the cake rise.
  • Lemon Zest and Juice: For maximum citrusy goodness! You’ll need the juice in the cake and the glaze.
  • Vanilla Extract: You could leave this out, but it adds a rounded depth of flavor that I adore.
  • Sour Cream or Buttermilk: The lactic acid in sour cream or buttermilk breaks down the protein in the flour, creating a more tender, moist cake. 
  • Powdered Sugar: A simple blend of lemon juice and powdered sugar is all you need over this cake.
Lemon sheet cake sliced in a baking pan.

How to Make Lemon Sheet Cake 

Check out how quickly this easy sheet cake comes together.

Don’t worry, I’ll get into more precise detail at the bottom of the page. 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter or cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper. 

2. Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. Combine the dry ingredients until the leavening agents are evenly distributed. Mix the sugar, butter, eggs, and flavorings in a separate bowl until smooth.

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and sour cream (or buttermilk) to the wet ingredients. Mix gently until no streaks of flour are visible. 

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Then, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. 

5. Make the glaze. Whisk the lemon juice into the powdered sugar until no lumps remain. Then, pour it over the cool cake.

6. Chill the glazed cake in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Then, slice, serve and enjoy!

A slice of lemon sheet cake with sugar glaze garnished with lemon zest.

Recipe Tips and Variations 

This lemon sheet cake is super simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

So, take your time, and be sure to check out these quick tips and variations!

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  • Use parchment paper and butter. This cake loves to stick to the pan. So, use a combo of butter (or cooking spray) with parchment paper to ensure it comes out without breaking.
  • Beat that butter! Make sure it’s smooth and lump-free before adding the eggs. Generally, it takes about 3 minutes for the butter and sugar to turn a pale yellow and become light and fluffy. 
  • Alternate adding the flour and sour cream. This step seems finicky, but it makes a world of difference. Start with the flour, add some sour cream, and repeat. Be sure to end with the flour too.
  • Cool the cake completely. If you pour the glaze over a warm cake, it will absorb all the sugar and vanish. So, make sure the cake is cold so it can set properly.
  • Citrusy variations. Feel free to try this with orange, lime, or grapefruit!
Lemon sheet cake sliced with lemon zest garnish and white glaze on top.

How to Store

The best thing about sheet cake is there are always leftovers! Be sure to follow these storage tips so your cake stays as fresh as possible. 

To Store: Cover the cake in the pan with two layers of plastic wrap or transfer leftover slices to an airtight container. Either way, store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

To Freeze: Wrap the unglazed cake in two layers of plastic wrap, and then add a layer of aluminum foil. It will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and glaze when ready to eat.

Note: you can freeze leftovers with the glaze, but it might thaw and turn watery. So it’s best to scrape it off and make the glaze fresh.

More Lemon Cake Recipes

Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix
Easy Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust
1920’s Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake
Mary Berry’s Lemon Cupcakes 
Lemon Sour Cream Cake

Lemon Sheet Cake

Course: DessertCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time



This easy lemon sheet cake is bright, airy, and oh-so-lemony. If you are a lemon-head like me, you’ll love it.


  • For the Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 large lemons)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup sour cream or buttermilk

  • For the Lemon Glaze
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 large lemons)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest for garnish, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
  • In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. Finally, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla, and stir to combine.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and sour cream, starting and ending with the flour. Stir by hand with a spatula until just combined and no streaks of flour are visible.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  • While the cake is cooling, add 3 cups of powdered sugar to a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice until smooth and lump-free. Add more powdered sugar, as needed.
  • Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and spread evenly over the surface. Garnish with lemon zest, if desired, and chill for 20-30 minutes or until the glaze is set. Then slice, serve, and enjoy!


  • Use an 18×13-inch half-sheet tray for a thinner cake, or two 8×8 round pans. They will only need 20-25 minutes in the oven.
  • After adding the lemon juice, the batter may appear curdled. That’s okay. It will smooth out when mixed with the flour.
Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Glaze

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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 :)

4 thoughts on “Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Glaze”

  1. First time baking, I have a glass 9×13 pan my question, do I grease or use cooking spray first in pan then line it with parchment paper? Thank you

  2. I’ve made this twice -awesome each time. Second time cake fell a little at high altitude though I added an extra egg. Will try other modifications next time. I turn the cake out onto a cookie sheet after baking, cool and then let the glaze fall over sides of cake. I chill afterwards for several hours then gently cut and removed spilled glaze from sheet edges to create a nice finished look. Looks amazing and like a pro baker! Definitely a crowd pleaser.

    • Hi Karen!
      So happy you like the recipe!
      And what a terrific tip for the glaze. I’ll have to try that next time 🙂


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