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Sunday, March 8, 2020

Lemon Velvet Cake

This lemon velvet cake is luscious and easy to make. The crumb is tender and moist. A homemade cake does not have to be hard!

lifting first slice of layered lemon velvet cake out of the whole dessert

     Layers of soft lemon cake wrapped in a luscious lemon frosting, this citrus twist on a velvet cake is a must make.  The recipe is super simple to make.  There's no butter to soften or crazy ingredients to get.  You'll have it in the oven in no time and you'll be thanking your lucky stars after the first bite!

    I originally shared this recipe back in 2017.  It was fabulous then, but I didn't really like the way the cake was decorated.

    It was such a good cake the first time around, I knew it was worth a revisit.  It's not terrible having an excuse to go back and remake some of our favorite cakes after all!

     I found the recipe on the Tumbleweed Contessa way back when. Her lemon velvet cake caught my eye and I knew I had to make it.

      You know I love a good homemade cake, but spare time for complicated baking is always hard to come by. Luckily there are some great, simple homemade cake recipes out there.

       This one instantly caught my eye as something quick and approachable. For whatever reason it sort of reminded me of my devilishly good chocolate cake.

    Of course besides the fact they both contain flour and sugar, they really aren't that similar. But I was drawn to it anyway.

slice of lemon velvet cake served in front of remaining cake

     I have been craving bright flavors.  This winter has been dragging on and I will take any hint of sunshine I can get, even if that is just in the form of lemons.

     In the heat of the summer the tang of citrus is also welcome, but it can't be all orange creamsicle cheesecake all of the time. So this lemon cake is perfect for summer gatherings as well!

    I couldn't wait to whip this up and share it at family dinner. It came together as quickly as I had imagined. If the idea of homemade cake is scary to you, I hope you'll make the leap and give it a try.

    There are so many recipes that are really almost as easy as the box mixes. Plus you get the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself!

 If you don't believe me, check out the YouTube video of me making this cake.  You will see it really is quick and simple.

     This cake was really well received. It had a really nice crumb and it served like a dream. The last time I made it, I tried to get fancy and candy some lemon for garnish.

    Things were going really well but all of the sudden it started caramelizing on me. So they ended up darker than I had envisioned, but they smelled wonderful and were actually still quite tasty.

     I told myself I'd have to make this cake again so I could conquer the lemons! It would be a sacrifice, but I was willing to eat more cake...  err, I mean perfect the culinary technique!

     Of course when I got around to making the cake again I skipped the candied lemon altogether. Instead I piped on a few  little swirls of lemon sweetened condensed milk frosting and some fun sprinkles to jazz it up.

     Now I have to make it again sometime so I can conquer those lemons for once and for all!

slice of lemon velvet cake lying down on dessert plate

What makes it a velvet cake?

   Velvet cakes are typically very soft and delicious. The most popular, and likely original, version is the red velvet cake.

     The vinegar and buttermilk in the batter help give the cocoa powder a reddish tint.  Of course a ton of red food coloring helps to enhance it!

      In this lemon version, of course we didn't add any cocoa powder.  Also lemon juice replaces the vinegar.

     You still get the benefits of the acid, but with the flavor of lemon!  Another thing that makes velvet cakes stand out from others is most of them use oil instead of creamed butter as the base.

     This makes them even more affordable and quick and easy to make.  You don't have to wait for the butter to soften, just grab the oil and go!

      While you would traditionally use buttermilk in a velvet cake, I almost never have buttermilk on hand.  Instead, I put a teaspoon of lemon juice into a cup of milk before I gather the rest of the ingredients.

round lemon velvet cake with slice missing

    By the time I am ready to use it, the acid has had a chance to work its magic on the milk.  It does the job quite nicely without having to use any special ingredients.

     Though my brother and sister-in-law keep powdered buttermilk on hand for things like this and pancakes.  I should pick up a can sometime and see what I think!

Handy Items to Have on Hand for Baking Homemade Cakes:

  • You can definitely use a stand mixer for whipping up the batter, but I tend to use a hand mixer for this batter.  It easily whips up the oil and everything goes right in the dishwasher! 
  • Two 9" cake pans are perfect for this recipe.  I am sure you can bake it in a 9x13" pan.  I would start checking on it at about 35-40 minutes.  It is done when the center springs back after you touch it lightly with your finger. 
  • I do tend to use moistened cake strips when I bake cakes.  Otherwise the outside of the cake bakes quicker than the middle and you are more likely to have a hump.  The moist strips help the cakes to bake flatter.

Do you have a favorite variety of homemade cake?  Have you tried any velvet cakes besides red velvet?  I am always ready to talk cake.  Tell me all about your favorites in the comments or on social media.

velvet cake, easy lemon cake, quick and easy homemade cake
Lemon Velvet Cake by step video making a lemon velvet cake
Yield: 16 servings

Lemon Velvet Cake

Lemon Velvet Cake

This lemon velvet cake is luscious and easy to make. The crumb is tender and moist. A homemade cake does not have to be hard!
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 35 Mtotal time: 45 M


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk soured with 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • optional: yellow food coloring (I didn't use any but you could for a more vibrant yellow color)


How to cook Lemon Velvet Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease two 9" pans
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder until completely combined and free of clumps.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together oil, eggs and sugar until light an fluffy.
  4. Add buttermilk, lemon extract, vanilla and lemon juice, whipping until combined.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients until just mixed and then spoon into prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Layers of soft lemon cake wrapped in a luscious lemon frosting, this citrus twist on a velvet cake is a must make.  The recipe is super simple to make.  There's no butter to soften or crazy ingredients to get.  You'll have it in the oven in no time and you'll be thanking your lucky stars after the first bite!


  1. That was a nice cake. There was just the right amount of lemon flavor too! That's not always easy to do but you got it right for this cake. And it held together when you cut it!

    1. It really did serve like a dream and was so good. Thanks =)

  2. I just went to lemon heaven!! What a beautiful cake that I know is bursting with flavor!!

  3. Now I'm craving lemon frosting like crazy. It must be contagious :). This cake is just perfection, Carlee! Have a great week!

    1. I should have started with the disclaimer that the cravings are contagious!

  4. Yum!! I'm a sucker for lemon - I used to be all about chocolate but I don't know what happened! I have seen recipes for that condensed milk frosting so I'm very interested to know more - can't wait for the post.

    I think you might be the frosting queen! I'm off to see the creamsicle cheesecake!


    1. I still love my chocolate, but I have a newfound love for lemon too.
      I will wear my new title proudly, thanks Mollie!

  5. Our brains must have been on the same wavelength this weekend. Lemon is it! This cake looks so good and I love the velvet part! I did cheat and use a box cake, but you are right, it really isn't that much more difficult to make a scratch cake. Thank you for sharing. I'm pinning and sharing this.

  6. My husband and I would have to fight over this cake! Delicious!

  7. Hi Carlee, I'm on a bit of a blogging go slow at the moment, but can see I've been missing out on some good recipes! A good lemon cake is up there with a good chocolate cake in my book, especially made with lemons straight from the tree. I wonder if this recipe would work with oranges when they are ready. Could be worth a try!


    1. Now you have me curious as well. I can't see why it wouldn't work and that sounds DELICIOUS!

  8. I'm a total sucker for lemon desserts! This cake looks super and so delicious.

    1. I am too, especially when it's hot out! Thank you so much!

  9. Mmmmm, I love lemon, this cake looks delicious! I pinned it for later. Will definitely be making this soon.

  10. Lemon are so creative!! Yum!! Thanks for linking up at Friday Frenzy Link Party!! XOXO :) PINNED!!!

  11. This is a beautiful cake and I sure love the frosting! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. Yum! I'm pinning this to my cake board. Looks great!!

  13. I STRUGGLE with homemade cakes! Seriously I always mess them up so yours looks amazing to me!

  14. I already had a cake lined up to bake today, but now I want to bake your Lemon Velvet Cake! Husband better be hungry, and eat up!

    1. Ha! Now I am curious what the other cake on the menu is! I made an apple cake this weekend and I can't wait to share it. There is still a chunk left, but now I'm kind of wanting lemon cake too!

  15. What size round tins did you use?

    1. I used 9 inch rounds. It would likely work in a 9x13" pan as well, just add a little time to the baking to make sure it's done.

  16. How much yellow food coloring should be used?

    1. It depends how vibrant you would like the cake. I didn't use any, but a half teaspoon might be a good place to start or just a drop or two of food gel.

  17. With the words lemon and velvet, you know it’s going to be good! Yum! Happy Monday sweets!

  18. Wow, Carlee, I have been on a lemon kick lately and so I can't wait to try this cake. It looks so yummy and yours is absolutely beautiful. :)

  19. This cake is wonderful! It is moist, soft and deliciously "lemony." It honestly is what Spring would be in cake form.
    I topped it with a basic cream cheese icing that I added a little lemon juice to. Thanks!

    1. Lemony cream cheese frosting would be so good! I am so happy you liked the cake!

  20. I'm going to make this, I just found lemon extract. I am always on the lookout for lemon recipes since I have a lemon tree! Thanks for posting about those cake strips, I have never heard of them before. How do you like them? I plan on making some. Thanks for posting!

    1. They work surprisingly well! My sister-in-law made her own, so that is a great option. I hope you enjoy the cake and have fun experimenting with the strips.

  21. Gorgeous cake! Lemon is my very favorite anything! I must make this soon! Thank you!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!