Gooey Lemon Cake Bars

Gooey Lemon Cake Bars: easy lemon bar recipe using a cake mix and a cheesecake topping. EASY too!

Gooey Lemon Cake Bars: easy lemon bar recipe using a cake mix and a cheesecake topping. EASY too!

Once upon a time there was a cute food blogger named Aimee.

She LOVED lemon desserts.

The end.

Gooey Lemon Cake Bars: easy lemon bar recipe using a cake mix and a cheesecake topping. EASY too!

Seriously, there is not much else to say about this recipe. I am in love with all things lemon! These lemon bars are made simple by using a cake mix (gasp!!!). I know, I don’t use a mix often, but back off. It’s summer.

Almost summer. Which means absolutely nothing except I wanted an excuse as to why I used a mix. Oh yeah, I used a mix on this because that’s what the recipe calls for!

I based these lemon bars off of THIS cake recipe. By just changing it slightly they become a whole new dessert. You can make these even prettier by adding some fresh raspberries or strawberries on top as a garnish.

But they don’t need any help in making them tastier. These cake bars are divine. Try them yourself.

Gooey Lemon Cake Bars: easy lemon bar recipe using a cake mix and a cheesecake topping. EASY too!

Gooey Lemon Bars

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 16 servings


    For the crust:
  • 1 box (18.25oz) Lemon Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • For the filling:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, butter and egg. Press into the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla eggs in a mixer. Beat until fluffy. Pour over crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) for best flavor. ENJOY.

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80 Responses to “Gooey Lemon Cake Bars”

  1. posted May 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    These look beautiful Aimee, lemon desserts are the best :-)

  2. posted May 30, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I love a good lemon dessert!

  3. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Lemons are the best and I love using cake mixes!

  4. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:01 am

    These look so delish! I am having such a love affair with lemon right now and I am always in love with gooey cake so this is definitely a win win.

  5. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:02 am

    You had me at gooey. Add the fact that it’s lemon and I’m hooked.

  6. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:05 am

    What a fabulous recipe! This cake looks so good!

    • Anonymous
      posted Dec 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Did U Put The Frosting On Before Our After U Baked It.Sully Question I Know.

      • posted Dec 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        It’s not actually frosting, it’s part of the baked layer. So yes, bake it first….

  7. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Love lemon desserts! And nothing wrong with using a cake mix! A girl can’t do it all!

  8. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Is it weird that I do a little dance everytime you post a lemon recipe? Love lemon, need this in my life :)

    • posted May 31, 2013 at 8:39 am

      only weird if you videotape the dance! Thanks for stopping over Kelly!

  9. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

    The fact that you put gooey in the title makes me want to make (and eat!) these immediately. They look sooo good!

  10. posted May 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Lemon treats are on my list too – this one looks awesome! I love how easy it is :)

  11. posted May 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I think you got the number of servings wrong – you added a 6 when it should really just say 1 😉

  12. posted May 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I’ll back off the cake mix thing…I’d totally eat these up! Gotta take short cuts when you can, and these look scrumptious!

  13. posted May 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Pinned these!! Looks amazing! :)

  14. posted May 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I am sooooo in love with lemon! And gooey cake bars. I just made some the other day. OMG.

  15. Liz
    posted May 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I love lemons too….so I’d fight ya for a piece of this for sure! :)

  16. posted May 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Hahaha! Love it! Best intro to a lemon recipe post by a blogger…ever! Well, you are pretty and have gorgeous blue eyes. But, who doesn’t love gooey cake when lemon is involved? Fabulous idea for summer…or anytime! Thanks, Aimee! xo

    • posted May 31, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Awww you’re too sweet Stacy! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. LuAnn
    posted May 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I’m confused about this recipe, I pour the cream cheese icing on top BEFORE baking?
    thank you

    • posted May 31, 2013 at 10:10 am

      yes, It’s not really a frosting, it’s more like a cheesecake layer. ENJOY.

  18. posted May 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t use a mix often, but back off. It’s summer. <– LOL I can hear the comments now :) I have a cookie recipe next week that's nobake. It's summer, who cares :)

    And gooey cake is the best kind of cake!

    • posted May 31, 2013 at 10:11 am

      So far, so nice :) Thanks for stopping by Averie. can’t wait to see your nobake cookie, love summer desserts!

  19. nessa
    posted May 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    MMM….I love lemon!

  20. posted May 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    There once was a good blogger friend named Jocelyn who loved desserts made from cake mixes.

    I heart easy breazy desserts that start from a mix, but you knew that already :-) I heart this fun and delicious cake!!!

  21. posted May 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I could eat an entire plate of these! They look so ooey gooey and lovelyyyy 😀

  22. posted May 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    This is the absolute perfect, easy dessert for summer! Pinned!!

  23. posted May 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve got that same lemon love affair! Love this simple recipe and of course, love your presentation and photos!

  24. posted May 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Oh these bars look heavenly Aimee! Anything with lemon is just perfection in my book :)

  25. posted May 31, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Love lemon desserts! These bars are amazing! Nothing wrong with taking shortcuts here and there!

  26. posted May 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    YAY more lemon! Tis the season and cake bars are amazing! Especially when they are gooey and smothered in frosting!

  27. posted May 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Pinned this before I even read the post, they look that good!! Who cares if it’s a cake mix, it’s lemon deliciousness!!

  28. posted Jun 1, 2013 at 9:27 am

    These look so good! I love the creamy top layer. I’ve made gooey butter cake with yellow cake mix but never thought to make it lemony!

  29. posted Jun 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Sounds delicious, but I think I will try using lemon juice instead of vanilla. What do you think?

    • posted Jun 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      Lemon juice would be fine. Or extract. Or lemon zest! It totally is lemon-y enough without though!

  30. posted Jun 2, 2013 at 3:28 am

    I love lemon, too. We just bought a baby lemon tree, and I’m really hoping we can keep it alive. How awesome would it be to just walk into your backyard and get a lemon? I’m definitely trying this recipe.

    • posted Jun 2, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Oh how I would love my own lemon tree. That’s just awesome!

  31. posted Jun 5, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I love lemon bars! These look fantastic and I love how simple they are!

  32. posted Jun 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I love lemon bars :) this looks fantastic!

  33. posted Jun 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    LOVE lemon bars; these look so yummy! Beautiful pics Aimee!

  34. Rebekah
    posted Jun 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Are you supposed to bake these bars with the cream cheese topping on them? Or do you put it on after? The instructions say to bake it with the topping but the picture looks like you put it on after baking.

  35. posted Jun 9, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Oh I love me some lemon, too, Aimee! These look awesome.

  36. angie
    posted Jun 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Can I use lemon extract instead of vanilla or will it overwhelm it?

    • posted Jun 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      It really has enough lemon flavor as is…but you can totally try adding the lemon extract if you prefer!

  37. Anonymous
    posted Jul 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Mine did not turn out like picture at all!!! Crust was all brown…top was okay but certainly not as light and yummy looking as yours. I used the same cake mix…not a fan.

  38. Sue
    posted Jul 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I sent the message above

    • posted Jul 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Hmmm, I make this all the time with no problems! I would say maybe double check your oven temperature. Make sure you beat the filling mixture until thick and fluffy before pouring over crust. Sorry it didn’t work out!!

    • Connie
      posted Jan 17, 2014 at 10:42 am

      How long do you have to beat the topping mixture for? Mine turned out brown on top too..

  39. posted Jul 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I made this today, and mine looks nothing like yours. I am so bummed. It’s such a simple recipe, I thought for sure it would be fail-proof. Sad day :( Does it need to bake at a lower temperature? My edges were pretty brown, but my cake crust was dense and lost all it’s pretty yellow color. It tasted like cheesecake with a little lemon. I so wanted it to look and taste like yours :( I made some strawberry sauce & topped it with that. It redeemed it a little. Just can’t seem to figure out where I went wrong.

    • posted Jul 20, 2013 at 1:21 am

      Amber, bummer! I make gooey cake bars all the time with this recipe, swapping out different cake mixes for the base flavor. I honestly don’t know what could have gone wrong?! Mine definitely has a lot of lemon flavor, and stayed quite yellow (clearly :) The only things I can think of would be is to check your oven temperature? Although, I know with all your baking it’s bound to be close to accurate! Sorry I have no other help for you :(

  40. posted Jul 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I still love you & your blog though :)

  41. Carrie
    posted Aug 31, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I have made these twice now. The first time I added some extra lemon just and some zest to the cream cheese topping and I got rave reviews. This time I just left it per your instructions. I am sure they will be great either way! Thanks so much for the great recipe!

    • posted Aug 31, 2013 at 9:20 am

      They’re so good. Glad you enjoy them too Carrie!

  42. kay biel
    posted Nov 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Can these bars be frozen?

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  45. maria
    posted Apr 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Do you have to use a “cake mix”? I like making food from scratch.

    • posted Apr 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      I usually bake from scratch too. I have never tried this with a from-scratch cake though.

  46. Kate
    posted May 5, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Mine turned out dense and not light or fluffy like the picture. I’m thinking I baked it too long. And, I baked mine using my convection oven. Next batch will be with the regular oven and I will watch the time. Also, my topping never got what I would call light and fluffy, so I will make sure the eggs are at room temp along with very soft cream cheese. I think the recipe is super easy, but the little things matter a lot if you want the perfect result. Thanks!

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  49. posted Aug 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I just shared this recipe on my “Weekly Round-up” series of top recipe finds! This week was all about lemons, so I knew this was a must add. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe with us!

  50. Judy
    posted Sep 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Recipe for the frosting on these lemon bars. Didn’t see it anywhere and would love it to finish them like yours. Yummy! Thanks.

    • posted Sep 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      It’s all there in the recipe. There is no separate frosting layer, the top layer gets baked on with the crust layer.

  51. Kent Carthey
    posted Sep 18, 2014 at 7:00 am

    Very disappointed. They were neither gooey nor lemony. In addition to the fact that the recipe does not give different baking times for glass and metal pans, I nearly burned out the motor of my small, hand held mixer beating the dough, But let’s get to what’s advertised. Perhaps living in Costa Rica where lemon flavors everything, I found simply using the cake mix fairly bland and with no additives with lemon in the topping, there was no addition zing.
    Adapting the first time, I added 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the batter making a somewhat crumbly base (I’d adjusted cooking time as well) and added the zest of three limes to the topping. It still didn’tr reach the desired intensity. On my final try, I layered in a strong glaize of homemade lemon on top of the cake then added the zest of five limes to the topping and when serving added a combination of lime and lemon zest for color and flavor.

  52. posted Dec 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I MUST try these!!! :-)

  53. Lena Epperson
    posted Dec 16, 2014 at 11:43 am

    My RANT of the year… All these wonderful recipes that use Duncan Hines cake mixes that call for 18.5 oz. that are now 16.5 and even 15.25 (Betty Crocker, which isn’t as tasty as Duncan Hines). . I have an AMAZING Earth Quake Cake that I’ve made over the years, Lemon Blossoms that are to die for… and POOF! The ratio is off. I’d rather pay more for the cake mixes then have the 1% companies make us believe we’re getting the same amount for the same price. Ok… hopping off my soap box. I’m still going to try this recipe with the 15.5 oz box.

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  55. Anonymous
    posted May 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    is the butter and eggs for the crust seprate, (like extra from the eggs and milk the box says to add) or is it part of the cake mix ingredients?

    • posted May 19, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Just combine the cake mix, the butter and eggs for the crust (no additional items like the box says). Then combine the filling ingredients and place over crust. Bake everything together! ENJOY :)

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