★★★★★

Lemon Cake Bars

Thick and easy, these moist Lemon Cake Bars are bursting with citrus flavor. Topped with a luscious lemon buttercream frosting, you’ll LOVE this recipe!

These tender, moist lemon cake bars were a happy accident in my kitchen. 

Originally I set out to make lemon COOKIE bars with a sweet lemon buttercream frosting. But, during the process, a few changes were made and the end result was too fantastic to fix!

What I love about these Lemon Cake Bars is they aren’t overly sweet. You know, that cloyingly sweetness that you can’t manage to finish one bar.

These bars are topped with my favorite lemon buttercream frosting, but if you want something even lighter and less sweet, give my lemon whipped cream a try instead! 

Lemon Cake Bars

Unlike these Gooey Lemon Cake Bars that start with a cake mix, today’s recipe is from scratch, but so easy!

I love that this recipes makes a 13×9 baking dish, perfect for sharing with family and friends! But also, freezer friendly!

How to Make Lemon Cake Bars

STEP 1. Cake Bars.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9-inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray with non-stick baking spray (or use my homemade cake release).

In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter with sugar until creamy. Add in eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and lemon juice, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Using a wooden spoon (so you do not over mix), add in flour, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.

Spread batter in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes, remove and cool on wire rack.

STEP 2. Lemon Frosting.

For the frosting, beat softened butter with powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and heavy cream. Beat until light and fluffy, for about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.

Spread frosting over cooled cake bars. Slice and enjoy.

Storing Lemon Cake Bars

Store these lemon cake bars in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can refrigerate these bars if you prefer them chilled (I enjoy them both ways)!

Freezing Lemon Cake Bars

What I love about these cake bars is they freeze beautifully.

You can freeze them with or without the frosting! Just know that the texture will change slightly when frozen with frosting on top.

To freeze, wrap cake bars in plastic wrap then a layer of foil (or slide into a freezer safe ziploc bag or airtight container). Freeze for up to 30 days.

Thaw lemon cake bars overnight in refrigerator or at room temperature. ENJOY.

Tips for Lemon Bars

  • Start with softened butter.
  • Do not over mix batter, use a wooden spoon to incorporate dry ingredients.
  • Use fresh squeezed lemon (not bottled lemon concentrate)
  • Cool completely before adding the frosting!

MORE Lemon Desserts

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Yield: 36 Bars

Lemon Cake Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Thick and easy, these moist Lemon Cake Bars are bursting with citrus flavor. Topped with a luscious lemon buttercream frosting, you'll LOVE this recipe!

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray with non-stick baking spray (or use my homemade cake release).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter with sugar until creamy. Add in eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and lemon juice, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Using a wooden spoon (so you do not over mix), add in flour, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.
  4. Spread batter in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes, remove and cool on wire rack.
  5. For the frosting, beat softened butter with powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and heavy cream. Beat until light and fluffy, for about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.
  6. Spread frosting over cooled cake bars. Slice and enjoy.

Notes

  • Start with softened butter.
  • Do not over mix batter, use a wooden spoon to incorporate dry ingredients.
  • Use fresh squeezed lemon (not bottled lemon concentrate)
  • Cool completely before adding the frosting!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

36

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 28mg Sodium: 68mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Thick and easy, these moist Lemon Cake Bars are bursting with citrus flavor. Topped with a luscious lemon buttercream frosting, you’ll LOVE this recipe!

Aimee

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**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**

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Posted on January 27, 2020

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