Gooey Lemon Butter Cake

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Total time: 1 hr

Equal parts sweet and tangy, this ooey gooey lemon butter cake is decadently delicious. Made with a buttery lemon cake base and a tangy cream cheese topping, this gooey butter cake is like sunshine for your tastebuds!

Cakes & Cupcakes
March 28, 2024
Gooey Lemon Butter Cake
  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Total time: 1 hr

Equal parts sweet and tangy, this ooey gooey lemon butter cake is decadently delicious. Made with a buttery lemon cake base and a tangy cream cheese topping, this gooey butter cake is like sunshine for your tastebuds!

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Gooey Lemon Butter Cake

Equal parts sweet and tangy, this gooey lemon butter cake is decadently delicious. Made with a buttery lemon cake base and a tangy cream cheese topping, this gooey butter cake is like sunshine for your tastebuds!

gooey lemon butter cake cut into squares

Gooey Lemon Butter Cake

Gooey butter cake is one of those desserts that really doesn’t need much convincing to eat. The name pretty much explains exactly what it is: an irresistible buttery cake with a gooey, tangy topping that all meld together into one delicious, gooey mouthful. My only complaint towards traditional gooey butter cake is that it can be really sweet. That’s where the lemon comes in. Adding lemon zest, juice and extract to gooey butter cake offsets the sweetness with a delightfully tart zing that will leave you doing a happy dance at first bite.

And if you’re not sold, this recipe is also SUPER easy to make thanks to a cake mix, because why not make our lives a little easier?

gooey lemon butter cake with powdered sugar

Ingredients for gooey lemon butter cake

Gooey butter cakes consist of two parts: a buttery, dense cake base and a gooey cream cheese topping. The combination of the two will set your taste buds into a frenzy. We took the shortcut here and used a cake mix as the dry ingredients for the base to make things easier. The best part? You only need 8 ingredients to whip up this decadent cake!

Here’s your shopping list:

  • Unsalted butter: You probably could have guessed that you’ll need some butter for this gooey butter cake. And you’d be correct. You’ll need 1 stick of butter for the lemon cake base! I wouldn’t recommend substituting for oil or shortening because the butter is such a key flavor!
  • Cream cheese: The first few times I had gooey butter cake I wasn’t sure how they achieved that amazing, gooey topping. Now I know: the secret is cream cheese. The tangy cream cheese perfectly complements that lemon flavor and puts the ooey-gooey in butter cake! Be sure that your cream cheese is at true room temperature to prevent any lumps!
  • Eggs: You’ll need 3 large eggs to make this lemon cake–1 for the cake base and 2 for the topping!
  • Cake mix: We love a shortcut and cake mix is basically just premeasured dry ingredients, so it’s perfect for this recipe! We used a yellow cake mix, but I’ve also tested this with a white cake mix and a lemon cake mix and they all work great! Just be sure that you’re using a 15 – 16ish ounce one! The recipe is pretty forgiving, but anywhere in that range will work!
  • Vanilla extract: You technically don’t need vanilla extract, but it will really deepen the flavor profile if you can spare it. It’s one of my favorite tricks when using a boxed mix to elevate the taste!
  • Lemon extract: A little lemon extract will give your real lemon flavor a boost and ensure that lemon-y goodness comes through in the finished product!
  • Lemons: You’ll use both the zest and the juice of fresh lemons to impart that tangy, tart lemon flavor in this cake!
  • Powdered Sugar: You’ll need powdered sugar for the gooey topping (it will sweeten and thicken it!) and also to top the cake with. before serving!
gooey lemon butter cake with powdered sugar and lemon juice

How to store this gooey lemon butter cake

This gooey lemon butter cake is best stored tightly covered in the fridge. Because the cake is, well…gooey (hehe) it’s best stored in a single layer so that the top of the cake doesn’t stick together and create a mess! I like to store it in the pan it’s baked in, covered tightly in plastic wrap or tinfoil. The gooey lemon layer will absorb the powdered sugar, so you can always top it with more powdered sugar when serving any leftovers!

gooey lemon butter cake

Don’t love lemon? You can easily tweak this recipe!

We love the lemon addition to this gooey butter cake because it helps to offset the sweetness, but if lemon isn’t your thing you can easily tweak this recipe. You can just omit the  lemon altogether and have a classic gooey butter cake on your hands or you can swap the lemon out for a different flavor. Another citrus like lemon or orange would be a fun twist, or you could omit the zest and juice and use almond extract in place of the lemon extract! The base of this cake is very forgiving so feel free to play around with it!

gooey lemon butter cake

Happy baking, sweet friends!

XXX

Print
  • Author: Sofi | Broma Bakery
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 servings
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: american

Gooey Lemon Butter Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews

Equal parts sweet and tangy, this gooey lemon butter cake is decadently delicious. Made with a buttery lemon cake base and a tangy cream cheese topping, this gooey butter cake is like sunshine for your tastebuds!

  • Author: Sofi | Broma Bakery
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 servings
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: american
Units:

Ingredients

for the lemon cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 15.25 ounce yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)

for the gooey lemon layer

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper on all sides. Set aside.
    2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the melted butter, egg, cake mix,  vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix together until combined and no streaks of the cake mix remain, about 1 minute.
    3. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading to the edges and evening out the top. Set aside.
    4. Next, make the gooey lemon layer. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can just wipe out the bowl you just used!), combine the cream cheese, eggs, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Beat on low speed, gradually increasing to medium until smooth and fully combined, about 2 minutes.
    5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, using the silicone spatula to spread the mixture all the way to the edges.
    6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown and the center of the cake jiggles, but feels mostly set (think of it like a cheesecake!). Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow the cake to  cool completely in the pan.
    7.  Once fully cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, slice and serve! If not serving right away, store tightly wrapped in the fridge until read to serve!

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  1. So delicious, and lemon is one of my favorite flavors. Mine was perfectly done at the 32 minute mark. Will definitely be making again!






  2. Made these for Easter and everyone who had one LOVED them. And then I ate aaaallll the leftovers by myself! They were that good!






  3. Delicious and so easy! I love how lemony it is and the texture is amazing. Mine did cook a bit quicker, so I would definitely recommend checking on it early just in case!






    • Hi Caroline! This is good intel–I’ll add a note the recipe to check on it earlier!