California {Lemon} Sheet Cake

A twist on the traditional double chocolate Texas-style sheet cake, this Lemon Sheet cake is a lighter, fruitier version but just as delicious. 

California {Lemon} Sheet Cake

Ever since I was little one of my very favorite desserts was Texas Sheet Cake. My mother would make it every so often and almost every single year for my birthday.

Even though it’s not your typical birthday-style cake (meaning one of the rectangular or round three-inch tall cakes with too-thick frosting and your name in cursive piped across the top).

Totally yummy in it’s own nostalgic birthday tradition way.

But for my birthday,  it couldn’t hold a candle to a well-frosted Texas Sheet Cake.

(Please note my perfectly placed and quite brilliant pun.)

Sometime I’ll be sharing my mother’s Texas Sheet Cake with you. I know there are a lot of recipes for Texas Sheet Cake out there but my mother’s is absolutely amazing and always perfectly moist and rich.

I’m sort of known for taking a bite right after the cake is iced and the frosting is setting. Or more like several bites. So by the time dinner is ever started there is a mis-shapen hole in the corner of the cake.

It’s practically tradition at this point. Everyone has just accepted that a piece will be missing before it’s served. And they all know who stole it.

The best part of the sheet cake is the rich icing and the moistness of the cake itself. I love it so much I decided to make a new version.


And if there is one thing that lemons always remind me of, it’s California.

I am originally from Huntington Beach, California. And my love for the Golden State runs deep.

Ever since my family moved to Utah, I’ve taken at least one, sometimes three or four trips back to Cali. Many times by myself, just staying with family. My brother in Santa Monica, sister back in Orange County, cousin in Ontario, and many times my mother’s parents in San Diego.

I could go on and on about the reasons I adore California and all of the memories I have from all of my trips there.  One of my favorite memories though of California is sipping the sweetest, more flavorful, fresh lemonade I’ve ever tasted.

Made from lemons straight off of the tree in my grandparents’ backyard. A real lemon tree. With huge juicy lemons.

So incredibly refreshing and unbelievably delicious.

So when I whipped up this lemon sheet cake, I could think of nothing but sweet memories of croquet, walks down the Oceanside pier, and giant California lemons.

This cake is moist, just like it’s Texas friend. Maybe it’s the fact that they are such humid states. Or maybe the sour cream/greek yogurt. That could be it too. Either way, I love them both and can’t get enough.

The icing on this lemon version is light and perfectly sweet and citrus-y. (Yes, citrus-y.) But it’s definitley not “Woah, hello lemon.”  It’s more of an “Oh hey…this is lemon!”. You know what I mean?

If you really love lemon though, I’d add a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice straight to the cake batter. It will kick that lemon flavor up several notches.

Oh and I discovered that it’s super super yummy with a fruity ice cream. We tried it with homemade pineapple-orange sorbet and with homemade mixed berry ice cream. Ohhhhh it was good. Really really good.

So if you’re looking for a perfect summer dessert to serve a crowd (or just yourself, I don’t judge), you definitely need this California {Lemon} Sheet Cake. With a fruity, creamy, frozen scoop of something.

It screams summertime.

California {Lemon} Sheet Cake

A twist on the traditional double chocolate Texas-style sheet cake, this Lemon Sheet cake is a lighter, fruitier version but just as delicious. 
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, Lemon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24
Author Tiffany


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup greek vanilla yogurt


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small sauce pan, melt butter with water over medium heat until butter has completely melted. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add butter mixture to dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or whisk until completely combined and smooth. 
  • Mix in vanilla, eggs, and greek yogurt. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan or 11x17 inch pan. Cook about 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. 
  • For the frosting, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour onto cooled cake. For best results allow the cake to set for at least 1 hour or overnight. 


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I have to pin this. These cakes are so great for entertaining.

I love the idea of a Lemon Sheet Cake especially in Summer time. I live in San Diego right by Oceanside so I know what you mean about lemons reminding you of California. Can’t wait to try the recipe.

eggs were left off the ingredient list…

Haha, California sheet cake … Love It! This looks more my style too, maybe because I’m a California girl that loves lemon!

Will a half sheet size pan work? Or, are you talking about a quarter sheet size jellyroll pan? My son requested a lemon cake for his birthday tomorrow, and I was looking for one made from scratch. Yours sounds delicious!

Ok, made this last night. Looks great. I was not sure when to add the sugar??? I think I should have added it to the butter and water? But it was too late so batter was really “thick”, and not “runny” at all so it made it a little hard to spread over the pan. And “shaking” it down was pretty impossible. And maybe add a little more lemon juice to the batter?!? Please let me know, I’m gonna make this at a family reunion in October. This was a “test run”. Thanks so much!!


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