Great-Aunt Ruby’s Lemon Iced Cake


My Great-Aunt Ruby was famous for her lemon iced cake. It was one of her specialties and was liable to show up at every church supper or summer party on the farm. This cake remains a family favorite now baked by Georgia–who passed the recipe on to me.

Like any hardworking farmer’s wife who spent her days in the garden and hanging up her laundry on the line, Ruby was thrilled with newfangled conveniences like linoleum and cake mixes. I’ve turned this recipe back around into a scratch cake using my Homemade Yellow Cake Mix, but you can make it with a store-bought mix if you like. But you’d better be hanging up some laundry on the line, too!

Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly
How to make Great-Aunt Ruby’s Lemon Iced Cake:

1 recipe Homemade Yellow Cake Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla*
1 3.4-ounce package (dry) instant lemon pudding
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract

*If making this cake with a store-bought mix, do not add vanilla.

Combine cake mix, vanilla*, pudding, water, oil, eggs, and lemon extract. Beat with an electric mixer to combine then beat two more full minutes. (Don’t skip the mixing time! The extra mixng whips air into the batter to make a light cake. This is a heavy batter and it needs the extra mixing.) Spoon into a greased, floured tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350-degrees for 50-60 minutes. (Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Place foil over top after 40 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.) Invert onto a serving plate; cool then top with Lemon Glaze.

Lemon Glaze:

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice*
3 tablespoons grated lemon peel*

*Takes three large lemons.

Whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Poke holes into cake and pour glaze over top, letting the glaze sink into the holes to fill the cake with flavor. Scatter cake with grated lemon. Serve!
I love how festive this cake looks! Heavy on the eggs, this is very similar to a lemon pound cake that’s been drenched with glaze. This is delicious cake, especially if you make it homemade!

P.S. For those of you who wonder sometimes what I do with all these goodies, I don’t always keep them. After I took pictures, I gave half of this cake to my cousin as it’s one of his favorites. My Great-Aunt Ruby is “Granny Ruby” to him.

Find this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

See All My Recipes
Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly


  1. Ms E says:

    It’s great to see a recipe returned to a made-from-scratch approach. I’m sure Coco, Clover and maybe Annabelle would have been happy to help consume part of that delicious looking cake!

  2. shirley says:

    Can’t comment. My mouth’s too puckered.M-m-m-m-m-m :hungry: 😆

  3. Lynda Dunham-Watkins says:

    Mouthwatering picture! And I’m sure a mouthwatering cake….mine’s watering! My husband’s sweet tooth will love sinking into this one!

  4. CindyP says:

    OOOOOh, it looked wonderful the other day when you tempted us with it….THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

    As soon as I get flour [how does anyone run out of flour?!?! – much like you aluminum foil, you expect it to always be there!] I’m making this, too!!

  5. MissyinWV says:

    Looks Yummy! I willbe sure to try this one…its just perfect for spring!

  6. Joanna Wilcox says:

    for a twist – pour in a can of fruit cocktail including juice and add some coconut, I just tried a recipe much like this one but its called Fruit Cocktail Cake.

  7. Renee says:

    I am making this tomorrow for a Kentucky Derby party! Thank you (and Aunt Ruby) for the recipe.

  8. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    That HAS to beat the mouth-watering lemon pound cake from Starbucks that a friend just introduced me to. And tell Coco she looks lusciously cool in her Spring mud socks! :hungry:

  9. Amanda says:

    Thank you, thank you for this wonderful cake. I am so excited to get back to “scratch”. And lemon is my favorite

  10. Mary Lund says:

    Looks look great. :hungry: I am baking it this weekend:). I wondered why I have so many lemons on hand….Hey Suzanne, are you working on an homemand recipe for instant lemon pudding? 😉 Do you have a photo of Great Aunt Ruby you could post?

  11. trish says:

    I have to go get all the different lemon ingredients and try this out on my husband. He loves lemon. I also don’t have a bundt pan. Will have to work on that.

    Anyone remember the bundt pan scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding??
    This reminds me of it!!!!

  12. Paulette says:

    Suzanne, I make an almost identical cake, except I use vanilla pudding, 2 oz. poppy seeds, and add 1/2 cup cream sherry. OMG. And better the second day.

    I can’t wait to try your homemade cake mix, very clever idea.

  13. Julie says:

    Bought your book!! Half way through, very good and I olny read cookbookS! Ha! Oh and I own a coffee shop and guess what my newest addition is to the menu??? Over the top cinnamon strusel rasian biscuits! YUMMY.. You are famous in Peculiar, Missouri!
    LOve, Love your blog!! :snoopy:

  14. Julie says:

    OOPS! Sorry about the Typos!!! I can spell! :happyflower:

  15. Bev says:

    I have had a very similar cake and it is fabulous! :eating:

  16. The Retired One says:

    Thanks for this delicious recipe…I will try it soon. Your pictures always makes everything look scrumptous too!

    The Retirement Chronicles

  17. Ang. says:

    Oh!!!! This is one of our family favorites, too! I got the recipe from my mother-in-law. I’m not sure where she got it from. I always us a lemon cake mix to make it more lemony. I also used bottle lemon juice when I am in a pinch. It is simply known as lemon cake by us. Yummy stuff. Half of my family requests this cake for their birthday and the other requests my homemade marble cheesecake.

  18. Vera says:

    You always have the BEST looking food, always makes me so hungry.

  19. Donna says:

    YUM, my friend gave me her late mother’s recipe for lemon cake and it sounds similar to yours above, except with a lemon cake. LOVE cake! I had lemon cake today..but not homemade. Drats!

  20. Jodie says:

    My Aunt Inez used to make that recipe or one very close to it. My 2nd favorite cake, immediately following any chocolate cake. I do love it and have made it with store bought yellow cake mix before. I’ll try Great Aunt Ruby’s version and eat an extra piece in memory of Uncle Harley & Aunt Inez.

  21. Staci says:

    Sweet Lord in Heaven, I want a piece of that cake. Or two. :snoopy:

  22. Winifred says:

    My that looks scrumptious!

  23. Estella says:

    Your cakes looks so good!

  24. Marley Delarose says:

    Oh, I just knew this recipe was next. Thanks. Can’t wait to make it. :dancingmonster:

  25. Kacey says:

    I think a piece of that cake and a big ‘ol glass of milk would help me sleep better tonight… That recipe looks delicious!

  26. Diane says:

    My sister wants a lemon cake for her graduation party. I think this will be the one I make! Btw, I tried your Quick mix recipe and made sausage cheese biscuits….they were heavenly!!!!! I will make them again and again and I have promised my husband I will make some for him to take to work. Thank you so much for posting the recipes with pictures…it really helps!!!!

  27. Andrea says:

    I love lemon cake and am very happy because I have your yellow cake mix recipe, but this is not a scratch recipe. Lemon pudding mix isn’t a basic ingredient and is not available in England.

  28. Alexandra says:

    Thank you, Suzanne and thank you Aunt Ruby. The cake sounds great but does anyone know what I can replace the instant pudding mix with? We can´t get that stuff here in Argentina.

    • Kris says:

      Instant pudding is made with gelatinized starch so you can’t make an exact replacement. I would start with some easy lemon pudding recipes, converting wet ingrediants like milk and eggs to their dry powdered forms. I’m not sure if you’d end up with the same results in the cake. Maybe the gelatin is the key?

  29. Betty Jo says:

    OMGosh! This makes me want to lick my monitor! ♥

  30. wm1 says:

    Try making your own vanilla extract. I buy good bourbon vanilla beans at an online Juliet Mae Spices. Try making your own. it really makes a difference. Like fresh vs. canned.

  31. KCRanch says:

    Suzanne – I made this cake for my family last weekend and all I can say is OMG!! It was delicious, moist, tangy perfection. I did end up making extra glaze because we love lemon anything at our house and even added some of the zest to the glaze to keep the flavor in tact. The boys all agreed this one is a keeper and needs to be made again, like NOW. Thanks for another great recipe!

  32. LynneW says:

    Andrea and Alexandra, there is a recipe at HomeSteadingToday which I have copied below.

    Instant Clear Jel is a modified food starch product, found in many of the items you buy. It is used as an instant thickener because it thickens instantly without heat. You should mix it with dry milk, sugar, honey, or spices, to avoid lumps forming. Shaking sugar and clear Jel in a bowl with a lid is an easy way to mix it. It may be put in a blender if you do get lumps, or they can be mashed out with a fork. Clear Jel is a shelf stable product. It will replace high priced pectin and uses less sugar.

    Vanilla Pudding
    1/3 cup instant dry milk
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/3 cup Clear Jel Instant
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Combine dry ingredients. Add 2 cups cold milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix in blender or with a mixer. Thin if needed. May vary with lemon, coconut, etc. Add more sugar with cocoa.

    I hope this helps and you can find a similar product in your area.

  33. carrie says:

    You went to the trouble of making homemade cake mix and then added boxed instant pudding? What a shame.

  34. MrsObe says:

    This is ‘my’ lemon cake recipe (except my cake doesn’t look as pretty). I use a 9×12 cake pan and my boys eat it in very large slices. When we head to my FIL’s house for the annual hunting trip it’s a competition between my lemon cake and my MIL’s. They’re almost identical and both are the first desserts to go.

    Funny story – when I first met my husband I made this cake for dinner. Two days later when I was invited back to his house the entire cake was gone. I called him and his son (language alert) “god damned pigs” as I had wanted a piece. They now call the cake GDP Lemon Cake! Which reminds me, it’s been a while since I last made any…

Add Your Thoughts