Gooey lemon butter cake

Impress that special someone with a cheesecake-like gooey lemon butter cake. Chock full of lemon flavor, this dessert is sure to please!

Have you ever been to a restaurant and absolutely fell in love with a dish? The kind where you wanted to go home and immediately recreate it? Well, that happened to me not too long ago. You all know my love affair with desserts, right? I was attending a holiday party at a local restaurant and saw lemon butter cake on our selected menu. It didn’t sound like anything too fancy, but I tried it anyway.

One bite and I was in dessert heaven. The cake had this light and crispy crust with an ooey gooey lemon filling. I could make out cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk but not the rest. It was garnished with a candied orange slice as well. Naturally, I talked to our waiter that night and asked him if the pastry chef would be willing to share the recipe with me. He laughed and said that he highly doubted it, but I was welcome to chat with him at the bar.

So I boldly marched myself over to the bar, introduced myself and asked if he would be willing to share his lemon butter cake recipe with me. He said that the cake had been a secret recipe for 25 years, and that he would be taking it to the grave with him. He mentioned that countless media outlets and publications have called to
ask for the recipe, but he wasn’t willing to share his secrets.

OK, so I completely struck out. But, I did some internet digging and found a recipe that was at least worth a try. This gooey lemon butter cake tasted a bit more like a cheesecake, but it was still quite tasty. The crust was crunchy and reminiscent of a graham cracker crust, and the filling was smooth and creamy like a New York cheesecake. I need to go back to the restaurant to see how close this is to the original version, but until I can figure out the chef’s recipe, this one will suffice. For those of you who are still looking for a Valentine’s Day dessert to serve this weekend, try this. 

Gooey lemon butter cake

Impress that special someone with a cheesecake-like gooey lemon butter cake. Chock full of lemon flavor, this dessert is sure to please!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Chilling time8 hours
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake, Cheesecake
Servings: 10
Author: Eva Bakes



  • 1/2 stick butter melted
  • 2 cups boxed yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 (2 Tablespoons) egg whisked


  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (light or Neufchatel is OK)
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Zest from two large lemons


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 10" springform pan but flip the bottom part of the pan upside down so the cake can easily slide off.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, boxed yellow cake mix and whisked egg. Once the dough becomes a smooth batter, transfer it to your prepared springform pan. Pat the dough on the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium to medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue mixing. Turn the mixer down to low and add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and add the eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Finally, add the lemon juice and zest until everything is fully incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake in your preheated oven for 50 minutes. The top will be golden and puffy.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely. Chill overnight in the refrigerator; the top will collapse a bit, but that is OK. Garnish with powdered sugar, candied citrus, lemon slices or berries before serving.


Cake should be keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.
Source: Adventures in Menu Making


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