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Jamie Lee Curtis' Favorite Lemon Cake

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
40 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

My sister, Susan Anderson, of Atlanta, prepares this easy lemon cake to tote to picnics and family get-togethers in the mountains. Even in hot weather children would rather have a slice of it than eat ice cream. Who knows why? Perhaps because it is moist and has that perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Excerpted from “The Cake Mix Doctor” by Anne Byrn. Workman Publishing, 1999. 

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  • vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
  • flour for dusting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 package (3 ounces) lemon gelatin
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean or sunflower
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)



Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.


Place the cake mix, gelatin, oil, water and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stope the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan in the oven.


Bake the cake until it is light brown and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.


Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a serving platter. Spoon the glaze evenly over the warm cake so that it drizzles down the sides and into the center. Slice and serve warm, or let it cool before slicing.

Store this cake, covered in plastic wrap or placed under a cake dome, at room temperature for up to 1 week. Or freeze it, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight on the counter before serving.