Gooey Lemon Cake Bars

Turn your favorite Gooey Butter Cake into a Lemon dessert! Gooey Lemon Cake Bars will make you quite happy, and nobody has to know you started with a mix!

Be sure to sign up for my email…new recipes in your inbox

**Photos updates February 2017**

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

She LOVED lemon desserts.

The end.

Turn your favorite Gooey Butter Cake into a Lemon dessert! Gooey Lemon Cake Bars will make you quite happy, and nobody has to know you started with a mix!

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.

Turn your favorite Gooey Butter Cake into a Lemon dessert! Gooey Lemon Cake Bars will make you quite happy, and nobody has to know you started with a mix!

Connect with Shugary Sweets! I know you want to see behind the scenes…check out my instagram!

Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Bloglovin’

Gooey Lemon Bars

Yield: 16 servings

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Turn your favorite Gooey Butter Cake into a Lemon dessert! Lemon Cake Bars will make you quite happy, and nobody has to know you started with a mix!


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 (I underbake mine a little to get that definitive separation in layers). Remove from oven and cool completely.
  2. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) for best flavor. ENJOY.

MAKING THIS RECIPE? Share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #ShugarySweets so I can see what you're cooking up in the kitchen!

Turn your favorite Gooey Butter Cake into a Lemon dessert! Gooey Lemon Cake Bars will make you quite happy, and nobody has to know you started with a mix!

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

**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

85 comments on “Gooey Lemon Cake Bars”

  1. These look beautiful Aimee, lemon desserts are the best 🙂

  2. Lemons are the best and I love using cake mixes!

  3. 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.

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

  5. What a fabulous recipe! This cake looks so good!

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

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

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

  9. Lemon treats are on my list too – this one looks awesome! I love how easy it is 🙂

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

  11. 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!

  12. Pinned these!! Looks amazing! 🙂

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

  14. Liz

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

  15. 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

  16. LuAnn

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

  17. 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!

  18. nessa

    MMM….I love lemon!

  19. 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!!!

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

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

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

  23. Oh these bars look heavenly Aimee! Anything with lemon is just perfection in my book 🙂

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

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

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

  27. 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!

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

  29. 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.

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

  31. I love lemon bars 🙂 this looks fantastic!

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

  33. Rebekah

    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.

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

  35. angie

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

  36. Anonymous

    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.

  37. Sue

    I sent the message above

  38. 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.

    • 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 🙁

  39. Carrie

    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!

  40. kay biel

    Can these bars be frozen?

  41. Pingback: Gooey Lemon Cake Bars | Foodies Unite!

  42. Pingback: Foodies Network » Gooey Lemon Cake Bars

  43. maria

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

  44. Kate

    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!

  45. Pingback: Gooey Lemon Bars {Leftovers Club} | Food Ramblings

  46. Pingback: {weekly round-up: lovable lemon} | {tallgrass musings}

  47. 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!

  48. Judy

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

  49. Kent Carthey

    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.

  50. Lena Epperson

    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.

  51. Pingback: Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies- Baking Beauty

  52. Anonymous

    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?

  53. Jess

    I only have a 16.50 oz box…do I need to change the recipe to account for the difference?

  54. Dawn

    Love the recipe, but my gooey topping browned. It doesn’t look dreamy like yours. What did I do wrong? I cooked it for the specified time.

  55. I used lemon in stead of vanilla yum

  56. Melissa

    I see the chocolate recipe you based this one off of also has 1/2 cup butter in the filling (as I know traditional gooey butter cakes do) So, just to be sure, no butter goes into the filling of this lemon alternative?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.