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Holding On To Summer {Recipe: Sinful Lemon Cake}

Summer is slipping away.

The funny thing is, as much as I love summer, as soon as the kids start back to school I am more than ready for autumn to make its presence known. The crispness in the air, the colorful hues adorning the trees, football and pumpkin…all are my cue that summer is long gone and fall is here.

I wanted so badly to make pumpkin bread today, but I couldn’t do that to summer. Summer needs it’s last hurrah before autumn pushes it out of the way and takes the spotlight. So, with the smell of lemon filling my kitchen and sweet sunshine tones of summer, I made a lemon cake.

This, my friends, is not just any lemon cake. This is a lemon cake with everything rich and indulgent I could imagine poured in. Sour cream, pudding, butter and buttermilk… all wrapped up in one brightly baked package. It smells like summer, it tastes like summer… in my mind, it is an ideal way to bid adieu to a wonderful few months and to let fall know that yes… now we’re ready.

(Just like those awesome chevron spoons from my banana pudding ice cream post, these yellow bags are also from I’m With Cupcake. Check out their adorable stuff, today!)

Sinful Lemon Cake

Sinful Lemon Cake

A sinful lemon cake with hints of summertime.


  • 3 Cups Cake Flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 4-ounce package instant dry Jello pudding mix (vanilla or lemon)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two standard size loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together cake flour, baking powder, Kosher salt, granulated sugar and pudding mix.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs and beat until a soft yellow. Add butter and shortening and mix until fluffy. Slowly add additional wet ingredients (buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract) and mix until well blended.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time, to the stand mixer bowl and beat at medium speed until all the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into two prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool then remove from pan.
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  1. Lemon Cake is one of my favorites! I always make it around Christmas! YUM!

  2. Not sure if this is referring to instant or cook

  3. Sorry, that got away from me……
    Is this referring to instant pudding?

  4. Sinful? I’d call that cake luscious! Yum. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors and is most definitely a summery delight. I love summer, too, and am always sad to see it go. It always feels like saying goodbye to an old friend.

  5. Oh man! You love me, you really love me. How did you know I ADORE lemon?! I just made Picky Palate’s Starbucks Iced Lemon pound cakes, well a few days ago, but YUMMMMM! Can’t wait to make this! Thanks!

  6. No fall! If I could draw a circle with fall in the middle and a line through it I would. I want summer to last forever!

  7. This looks FANTASTIC Kristen! I pinned it, I’m going to be making it for my Keurig Vue party in September – yay!

  8. I was just about to make a pumpkin and dried cranberry bread. My in-laws arrive tomorrow and I always like to have a tasty quick bread for them to have with coffee. Now I’m torn. This might be the one to make. Maybe I’m being too quick to dismiss Summer! Thanks for posting!!

  9. could this be made in a bundt pan? It sounds wonderful!!

    • Hi Lin – I really think it could. In fact I originally imagined doing it in a bundt pan but changed my mind because I decided I wanted loaves. Let me know if you try it that way!

  10. I absolutely love lemon desserts and the best are when it’s in the form of a simple cake. Here’s to holding on to summer!

  11. Oh this looks perfect and captures the happiness of summer!

  12. So cute – love the little bags – I wish summer was not ending, especially here in Seattle, WA love summer here. Just fyi – having 20% off in my store right now.

  13. I really like those little bags, awesome pics.

  14. I love lemon cake, love lemon desserts and snacks and I’d love to give this a go. Sadly, I don’t use boxed pudding mix. Don’t sell it here. I wonder if this could be made without it?

    • Totally – in fact the sour cream and pudding were just things I decided to throw in to make it more indulgent :) You can easily do it without.

  15. Kristen, you know the thing I love the most about citrus desserts is that you can eat them in the middle of an ice storm and one biter takes you straight back to summer.

  16. I love lemon bake goods! Those chevron bags are too perfect for these!

  17. I am so compelled to start baking with Fall flavors, but the 90+ degree temps are making it hard. Summer definitely needs a last hurrah and this cake looks like the way to celebrate!

  18. It’s a whole 64 degrees this afternoon in sunny California so yes, baking this should be on my list! Yummy sounding!

  19. Well, making this in a bundt pan was a success! This is so yummy! Light and delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Lemon loaf is my favorite!!


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