Home » Dessert Recipes » Lemon Dream Cake

Lemon Dream Cake

Easy Lemon Dream Cake starts with a boxed cake mix swirled with lemon pie filling. All topped with a creamy, lemony whipped topping!

A CREAMY CAKE FOR LEMON LOVERS

This lemon cake has quickly become one of my favorites (and a favorite of my co-workers!) My co-workers are often my guinea pigs for new recipes. This recipe is definitely for those who love lemon desserts. It is so easy to make but looks like you spent hours making it. If you want a fun new lemon recipe, try making this Lemon Dream Cake!

A small slice of Lemon Dream Cake on a white dessert plate.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S)

Can I make this with a different cake flavor?

You can use yellow, white or even a lemon cake mix. I think, however, the lemon cake mix would just be a bit too much but of you want lemon overload, go for it! I think you could maybe even use strawberry for a strawberry lemonade type effect. You could even make this with homemade cake mix if you wanted to. Looking for a homemade white cake mix or a yellow cake mix– I have you covered. The whole thing about this cake is convenience and ease, but if you have the time and energy to make a cake from scratch, go for it!

Could I use a different pie filling?

Yes! You can use whatever pie filling you think would work well with these flavors. I think a blueberry pie filing would be delicious with a lemon cake mix. Lemon and blueberry work really well together.

Is the frosting necessary?

While I love the frosting combination, if you want to make this a little lighter, you can.
It’s super easy to change it up a bit, just don’t use the lemon frosting in the topping. It can just be the Cool Whip. Or you can add in a teaspoon of lemon extract to the Cool Whip and stir and just spread that on the cake.

Can I use lemon curd instead?

Sure thing. Lemon curd would be great in this Lemon Dream Cake. It won’t be as much since lemon pie filling comes in larger amounts than lemon curd but it will still work. You can also mix lemon curd in with the Cool Whip instead of the lemon frosting. 

Can I make this in round cake pans and layer them?

We had a reader ask this, and I figured it’s worth mentioning in here too so you don’t miss the info. I wouldn’t recommend this since this cake can be a bit heavy and I don’t think the layers with the frosting and Cool Whip would hold up well. That being said, if that’s something you want to try, you could… just know that I haven’t tested it that way and don’t think it’s an easy swap to make.

What to do with leftover cake?

Any leftover Lemon Dream Cake needs to be refrigerated, especially because of the frosting with the Cool Whip. When you aren’t serving this cake, it needs to be kept in the fridge too. So, leftover cake should be covered or placed in an airtight container and can be stored for up to 4 days. As time goes on, the cake will start to change texture from the frosting and pie filling. So, the sooner you can eat it, the better.

Can I freeze this cake?

You bet and I think this would be a good one to freeze and enjoy later! Freeze it appropriately and enjoy within 2-3 months of freezing.

A plate with a serving of homemade Lemon Dream Cake.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • vanilla cake mix – see my FAQ’s above about different flavors you can use.
  • ingredients needed to make cake (eggs, oil and water)- quantities and required ingredients may vary depending on your cake mix brand. I also think you can go with sugar free options where possible.
  • lemon pie filling – you can use the whole can of filling or just a little. This is all up to you and how lemon-y you want to go with this. I use all of it.
  • lemon frosting – if you don’t want so much lemon, you could use a vanilla or white frosting.
  • whipped topping – most commonly people use Cool Whip, but the store brand works just fine here.
Cool Whip, vegetable oil, eggs, water, lemon frosting, lemon pie filling, and vanilla cake mix.

HOW TO MAKE LEMON DREAM CAKE:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare cake mix as directed on the back of the box. Pour batter into baking dish. Place spoonfuls of lemon pie filling all over the batter. Take a knife and swirl it all around to help evenly distribute it better.

Note: The lemon pie filling is heavier than the cake batter. So it will sink to the bottom of the cake as it is cooking. Don’t worry, it won’t burn. This is normal.

A baking dish with cake mix and lemon curd, then it all swirled and a baking dish with a baked Lemon Cake.

Bake at 350F degrees (in center rack) for about 35-40 minutes. Until it springs back to the touch and isn’t jiggly in the center. Let cake cool completely before proceeding to the next step. In a bowl, combine lemon frosting with whipped topping. Mix until thoroughly combined. Spread frosting over cooled cake.

A glass bowl with the ingredients for the frosting, then it all mixed, and it all spread on the cake.

Refrigerate until chilled and keep any leftovers refrigerated. Serve and enjoy.

A slice of Lemon Dream Cake being removed from the baking dish with the rest of the cake.

CRAVING MORE LEMON RECIPES?

Originally published: July 2012
Updated photos & republished: April 2024

Close up looking at a slice of Lemon Dream Cake on a plate.

Lemon Dream Cake

Easy Lemon Dream Cake starts with a boxed cake mix swirled with lemon pie filling. All topped with a creamy, lemony whipped topping!
4.84 from 119 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • ingredients needed to make cake: eggs, oil & water (according to the back of the cake mix box)
  • 1 can lemon pie filling
  • 16 ounce tub lemon flavored frosting
  • 8 ounce tub whipped topping (COOL WHIP) thawed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare cake mix as directed on the back of the box. Pour batter into baking dish.
  • Place spoonfuls of lemon pie filling all over the batter.
    Vanilla cake mix with globs of lemon pie filling on top.
  • Take a knife and swirl it all around to help evenly distribute it better.
    Cake mix swirled with lemon pie filling in a baking dish.
  • Bake at 350F degrees (in center rack) for about 35-40 minutes until cake springs back to the touch and isn’t jiggly in the center.
    An unfrosted, fresh baked Lemon Dream Cake.
  • Let cake cool completely before proceeding to the next step.
  • In a bowl, combine lemon flavored frosting with whipped topping. Mix until thoroughly combined.
    Lemon frosting and Cool Whip mixed together in a bowl.
  • Spread frosting over cooled cake.
    Iced Lemon Dream Cake in a baking dish.
  • Slice and serve or place in the refrigerator to chill slightly before serving.
    A slice of Lemon Dream Cake being removed from the baking dish with the rest of the cake.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 453mg | Sugar: 54g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Did you make this recipe?Share it on Instagram @thecountrycook and mention us #thecountrycook!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




162 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this cake!! Made as directed except I used blueberry pie filling instead of lemon (the store was out of stock). I also added the zest of a lemon to cake batter to give it an extra pop of flavor. Yummmmm! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. This one is a keeper!

  2. Made this today Can’t wait to try it. I’m sure I’ll llove it. Was wondering if I could exchange Milk for the water inn the batter. Thank you.

  3. I just made a Lemon Cream Cake using a lemon cake mix. Excellent! But I do have a question. The recipe calls for a 14.75 can of lemon filling. I couldn’t find one anywhere. any suggestions? I really don’t want to buy more than I use. Great recipe though.

  4. 5 stars
    I love lemon and so does my staff, I make this cake at least 6 times a year. it’s a big hit and I never have any to bring home. I do use a lemon cake mix and it’s fabulous

  5. 5 stars
    this is one of my favorite, go-to recipes when I want to wow them and don’t have a lot of time. it’s always a hit. I have one cooling on my counter as we speak!

  6. 5 stars
    Can I substitute sour cream for the oil or will it make the cake to dense for the lemon pie filling? I make this recipe and everyone loves it but I have heard sour cream added to a cake mix makes it even better.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this cake tonight and I called it my cheap cheat sheet cake. It sure is delicious though. Thank you so much for the great recipe. My mother told me the trick with the frosting from a can and cool whip and I wasn’t very sure of it. I am a purist when it comes to frosting but it is delicious. I loved it and so did my husband which is amazing because he doesn’t like anything except chocolate. Thank you again and again. I will try your other lemon recipes. I have a really good lemon tear apart loaf bread that is good too. .

  8. 5 stars
    This was delicious! We love anything lemon. I did put fresh blueberries on top of the whipped frosting. Very refreshing.

  9. 5 stars
    YUM! This was so easy and it was such a big hit it was gone in one day. That’s saying something when there are only 3 of us. Ever since I made it my hubby wants more lemon cake. He is a fan of yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I think that is so boring. But I try to keep him happy. He even went out and bought more lemon cake mix-that is what I made your cake with and it was GREAT. I love your recipes. Thank you. Thank you.

  10. 5 stars
    I have a friend who needs to eat gluten free. Her birthday is coming up & her husband called & asked specifically for this cake since she loves it & I do too. I used a GF yellow cake mix. I made a lemon pie filling from scratch & used GF flour. Now waiting on cake to cool. We will be celebrating tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe.