Lemon Sour Cream Cake

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Lemon  Sour Cream Cake is a very easy cake recipe to make for dessert tonight!

slice of Lemon Sour Cream Cake

This sweet and simple lemon cake recipe is made in a 9×13-inch pan. It’s the perfect dessert recipe to make if you’re looking for a sweet treat to share with your family. It’s a homemade cake (no box mix involved), but it’s not difficult to make and it does not call for any hard-to-find ingredients.

This recipe comes from my favorite cake baking book of all time: Piece of Cake by Camilla Saulsbury. I have made so many cakes from this cookbook, and I continue to reach for it again and again every time I want to try baking a new cake! I suggest you add the book to your cookbook collection. It’s a good one!

making Lemon Sour Cream Cake

How to make Lemon Sour Cream Cake:

For the complete recipe, be sure to scroll to the end of this post and print out the recipe. All ingredients and full instructions will be on the printable recipe.

In a large bowl, you’ll combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda). Then you’ll use your electric mixer to mix in eggs, sour cream, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. That’s all you do to make the cake batter. The batter is spread into a 9×13-inch pan and baked for about 40 minutes.

Icing for Lemon Sour Cream Cake

Icing for Lemon Sour Cream Cake:

After letting your cake cool off, you’ll make the lemon icing. It’s a mix of powdered sugar, sour cream, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. And then it’s poured onto the cake and spread to cover the top.

Lemon Sour Cream Cake

How to find a good lemon:

The best way to find a good lemon is to pick it up and hold it in your hand. If the lemon has a little “give” to it when you squeeze it (and isn’t rock hard), it will be easier to peel (a thinner skin) and it will yield more juice.

Slice of Lemon Sour Cream Cake

Things to order from Amazon to help you make this cake:

  • ZESTER: This is the one I have, and it’s perfect for zesting and for fine-grating Parmesan cheese, ginger, garlic, nutmeg and chocolate.
  • hand JUICER: This is a super handy tool for juicing lemons by hand.
  • 9×13-inch pan: I like this one because it has a lid, which makes it easy to store!

eating Lemon Sour Cream Cake

This Lemon Sour Cream Cake is a nice dessert to keep around for snacking, but it’s also a pretty dessert to serve for Easter or Mother’s Day or another special occasion day. Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator, since there is sour cream in the icing. Enjoy!

Here are a few more lemon dessert recipes you might like to try:

slice of Lemon Sour Cream Cake
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4.5 from 6 votes

Lemon Sour Cream Cake

Totally easy one layer cake recipe!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 318kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon cake, sour cream cake



  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch pan with nonstick baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Use an electric mixer to mix in the eggs, sour cream, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. On low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, sour cream, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice until blended and smooth. Spread the icing over the top of the cooled cake.



Serving: 1serving | Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg
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  • Patricia Gustafson wrote:

    Something is wrong with the icing recipe for the lemon sour cream cake. It’s as thin as water. Have added more powered sugar as well as a large amount of corn starch. Even refrigerated it for 30 minutes and it is still very runny. I gave up and poured it on the cake … too bad!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      It’s a pourable type of frosting- should look just like the photos!

  • Sandra wrote:

    Can this be made into a layer cake ?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I don’t think so- it’s lighter in texture.

  • Lynn wrote:

    I would just like to add that I had this for breakfast, I couldn’t wait till after dinner tonight!!! The texture was moist and a little dense like a pound cake light. That first bite you get the scent of lemons, the icing sparkles and finally the cake melts with icing….wait for it…then your brain is shouting yeeeesssss this is what you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy!!!


  • Lynn wrote:

    You had me at 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tbsp zest!!! I am completely thrilled that your recipie called for enough lemon to actually taste without adding fake lemon flavoring. I had to read the directions a couple of times as I thought there was a baking faux paus, add everything in a bowl and mix …gasp? Wait, what? I don’t need to cream the sugar and butter yada, yada yada! I have a plethora of lemons year round and am always looking for different recipies. Sshhhhh…don’t tell anyone but I could eat the batter straight up without baking, it was that delicious. The cake is now cooling and It would be terrific with lemon zest and granulated sugar sprinkled over the top but I’m going to make the icing but I can already tell IT’S GOING TO BE AWESOME!!!!!

  • Mary wrote:

    This was so good! I had a hankering for lemon cake, which I haven’t had in forever, and stumbled on your site (was searching web to use up some soon-to-expire sour cream and lemons). I cut recipe in half, and used a rectangular pan. 35 minutes of baking was enough. YUM. Thank you!

  • vivian wrote:

    Halved everything and made in a 9 inch round pan. Baking time was almost the same. This was a great dessert for a smaller than usual Easter dinner. It would have been beautiful with some edible violets to garnish. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • sm39 wrote:

    I was hoping for a light fluffy moist cake, this is quite dense, like a pound cake, the Lemon flavor is there, but, unfortunately for us this was not a keeper,

  • vivian wrote:

    Linda, two 9 inch round pans hold the same volume of batter as one 9 by 13 inch pan. I am going to make half the recipe in a 9 inch round pan. Baking time will be shorter, but I’m not sure by how much. hope this helps.

  • Linda Straczynski wrote:

    can I halve recipe, and bake in 8×8 or 9×9 ?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried that!

  • Nikki @Seeded at the Table wrote:

    This cake looks BEAUTIFUL! Cannot wait to try it!