Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mary's Lemon Cake

I looked and didn't see this summertime favorite but that could be for numerous reasons:

A.  I forget to label things!

B.  I forget to label things!


C.  I forget to label things, LOL!

But this recipe is an old favorite. It's one of the few things my mother made after I was old enough to remember. By the time I was seven or eight, her alcoholism and depression had taken over and it wasn't until I was in my mid-thirties that I got to meet my mother sober. What a joyous thing that was!  Sure, there was a lot of water under the bridge, but I had God with me, all the time. Remember that song, Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel?  That song spoke to me in so many ways of God's redeeming love and protection.

This cake is tart/sweet, it's moist and tender, it's a perfect 'pick up a slice and eat' kind of picnic offering. I don't know where it originated (probably McCall's magazine or something like that) but it's a huge crowd pleaser whenever our family gets together. And yes...

It's Easy-Peasy!  :)


1 yellow cake mix
1 large package lemon Jello
4 eggs (I'm using my fresh eggs from the chicken coop!!!)
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water

Mix together. Beat on medium speed for 4 minutes.

 Pour batter into greased and floured 13 x 9" pan.

Bake at 350 degrees (moderate oven) until cake is done. Cake is done when it springs back when lightly touched in middle OR when you insert a toothpick into the middle and all that clings to it are a few moist crumbs. To tell that you really must withdraw the toothpick from the cake. I may or may not have forgotten to mention that!  ;)

Cool 5 minutes. Or six or seven. Prick cake with wide-pronged meat fork... Prick thoroughly.

Each hole you make provides a channel of glazing deliciousness.

Make glaze:

3 cup 10 X sugar (can you tell this is an old recipe????)  Powdered sugar was often referred to as "10X" or Confectioner's sugar to make the distinction between that and normal grind sugar.
3/4 cup Lemon Juice
Whisk sugar and lemon juice together. Slowly drizzle over cake, allowing liquid to seep into all those precious little holes you made.

Amazingly delicious cold, warm or at room temperature. Seriously, sitting down and eating the ENTIRE THING is never a bad idea. You can always make more, right?


  1. Oh, YUM. I'm a fan of anything lemon.

    Your history with your mother reminds me of a beautiful book called 'The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake'. Really gorgeous, about gifts we use and gifts we refuse. And about food.

    Thanks for sharing...

    1. Oh, Ginny-Lou-Who, I love that title! It rocks!

      And the message of using gifts. So stinkin' true!

      You will be a fan of this. I'm such a fan that my pants don't want to snap together.


  2. Ok its the annoying aussie here. Do Americans ever make cakes from scratch? I see so many using packet mixes. I think I the only packet mix I have used was a brownie mix someone sent me and I ruined them.

    Im glad you have a good memory of your mother from an early age.

    1. Jenny, these mixes are so refined now that they quite often give you a better result than a lot of scratch cakes for simple dark chocolate, white, and yellow cakes.

      For other cakes, I always go from scratch. And I've gotten Softasilk Cake Flour on Ginny-Lou-Who's and Jan's recommendation, and it turned out the BEST chocolate scratch cake I've ever made. I think it was even better than the mix dark chocolate cake taste wise, but it crumbled a little too much. Gotta figure that out because the flavor was oh, so good!!!

      But here's the thing: We tend to hurry here. To crowd too much. There may or may not be a slight lax factor as well!!!

      So I use both. I make all my puddings and frostings and fruit fillings from scratch...

      And I'm just dying to hear how you ruined a brownie mix. This isn't really possible. Is it??? ;)

    2. Oh but Ruthie it is! I have no idea what I did but they didn't cook right and tasted terrible. I got a second pack and it was a bit better but still not nice Way to rich for me but I burnt it.
      Mum has an easy cake mix she uses for all cakes, vanilla, chocolate she would even use it for a cherry cake and date cake and apple. etc. She used it and had a honey topping which I loved but of course she never wrote down the recipe and when I asked about it she couldn't remember it. She hadn't made it for several years but said I imagined it. If I did I have an very active imagination cos and I still remember the taste and it even had coconut which I dont like, but in this I didn't mind.
      Ok now I am off to bed. want to see if I can at least read for 15 mins.

    3. Jenny, that recipe is like the cake I remember from my childhood. My father got this amazing spice cake with REAL FRUIT between the layers... bananas and cherries... with a whipped cream or mock-whipped cream icing...

      I loved that cake. I've never been able to duplicate it. the bakery shut down a long time ago and I heard the baker had gone to another bakery not far from me... My husband (bless his heart) went there and tried to find out if they knew about this cake, and could they make it... but that baker had retired a long time ago and no one knew how to make the cake.

      Of course, sometimes memories make things better than they were and if i had it now I might scowl and say, "What was I thinking????"

      But all I remember is mouth-watering moist spice cake with sliced banana and cherry in the whipped cream filling.

      Drooling!!!! Not pretty!

  3. And yes! There are gluten and corn free versions of all the ingredients! Making this one! So summery.

    I have read that book too. Sometimes life just hands you lemons and you have to make lemon cake!

    Peace, Julie

    1. Clearly I must get this book!

      Julie, let me know how the gluten-free version comes out. I cannot imagine it would be bad... Because it is lemon, after all.

      And it doesn't have any chemical lemon taste, like you get in some lemon products... just sweet, tart, natural lemon.


  4. What is it about lemon and summer afternoons? Don't they just go together?

    And I love that you have this special recipe from your mother. Something precious from those years the locusts had eaten...

    My family has been making noises about how I used to make desserts but stopped. I had to stop. I was beginning to lead the way in pudgy mama circles.

    But when we have company, or it's a special occasion? It's dessert time! I'm saving this recipe for the next special occasion - and maybe celebrate more often :)

    1. Yes, yes, yes, celebrate more often!!!! God wants his children happy... :)

      But I hear you that too much of a good thing is a bad thing for the bootie! Dagnabbit.

      You will love this. Promise! Promise! Promise!

  5. I read this to Donny, who is a lemon fanatic. He was making enjoyable noises deep in his throat, LOL. But there's no finished-product photo! What's with that??? I might have been willing to thoroughly tempt him with that picture and might have even broken down to buy the necessary ingredients... ;-)

    Sounds good--as always, Ruthy! :)

    1. Melanie!!! I forgot to post the last pics! Thank you for the reminder!

      I did the blog and then took the finished pics when the cake was done... but forgot to add them.

      So now you see the FULL EFFECT OF WONDERFULNESS, DONNY!!!

  6. I'm drooling. Copied this recipe down and am going to make it this weekend for company. I LOVE all things lemon but haven't found a great lemon cake or loaf recipe so I'm always hunting them out in tearooms and lamenting the fact that I can't make them. You've made me a happy woman!!!!! Whoooohooo Canadian women's soccer won the bronze game!!!!! Now I'm doubly happy.

    1. We were rooting for your girls on this side of the pond! Go Maple Leaf/Canada even if you have no clue what Canadian Bacon is...

      because it's an American invention.



  7. Oh, this sounds amazing!! And made with a mix is right up my alley! :) Although my hubby thinks desserts that include fruit aren't really desserts at all. He has to have chocolate to be happy.

    You know, maybe that's a good thing. More for me! :)

    1. Missy, imagine this drizzled with slightly melted Ghirardelli milk chocolate... Or dark chocolate.

      Amazing. 'Sall I'm sayin'...

  8. The additional pics make it look even more delicious!

  9. Ginny-Lou-Who? I love that! Makes me think of Dr. Seuss.

    And you're the Grinch! Perfect!


    Your lost cake recipe reminds me of something that happened at my oldest daughter's First Communion. For the reception, someone brought a platter of dark chocolate tarts. Hard to describe. Layers of solid chocolate, cheesecake, dark chocolate mousse and topped with a glazed fruit layer.

    After about ten minutes we were all hunting down the poor old lady that brought that platter. Had her by the neck, threatening that recipe out of her. (Kidding, but she did look a little alarmed as we crowded around.)

    But no... Her grandson was visiting from BELGIUM. He worked in a pastry shop there. A famous one that guarded their recipes. He figured it was okay to make over here, just once, quietly.

    And he was NOT spilling. *sigh* We still talk about it.

    1. That's almost worth a trip to Belgium, isn't it?

    2. My brother just went Belgium and he apaprently sampled some 60 types of beer. Hm. I could do the same thing... with desserts!

    3. My boys went to Belgium for a beer sampling, too. What's up with that????

      CHOCOLATE. Belgian chocolate is way better than beer any day and twice on Tuesday.


    4. Dorks is right. That's just wrong.

    5. Beer over chocolate? Why not both?

      But not at the same time. Eewww.

  10. Ruthy, this sounds absolutely delicious. I can't wait to try it!

  11. wow when I was in college we had Double Dave's and they had a 'drink your way around the world' - can't remember how many but there were a LOT and you got a t-shirt when you finished. nope I never drank the stuff -can't stand the taste- but I could sure eat my way around the world (except for that weird stuff in yesterday's post!) normal food I could eat my way around the world - otherwise I'd need to drink my way around it first so I wouldnt' know what I was eating! ;-)