Lemon Pudding Cake 1

Show mom lots of love with rich and delicious Lemon Pudding Cake, May’s edition of The Recipe Box in Direct Magazine.  A batch of my favorite whipped cream cheese frosting makes both strawberry filling and lemon icing to complement it perfectly. It’s so easy that kids can make it with a bit of help, and Mom will be delighted with this extra-special dessert!

This is a tasty variation of an old recipe that uses a chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding (check out the variations in the recipe below!).  I love baking mostly from scratch, but I have many favorite recipes that use cake mixes and other products too; they are simple, quick and delicious – and a great way to get kids into the kitchen.  This cake can also be baked in a bundt pan – a simple lemon drizzle or just a dusting of powdered sugar with strawberries and mint makes an elegant finish to a Mother’s Day meal.

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Make the frosting first; you’ll want to chill it at least a couple of hours – overnight for best results.  It’s easy to whip up with a stand or hand mixer. Whipping a little bit of heavy cream into the mixture lightens the frosting and gives it a velvety texture that’s just divine.  Divide the frosting  and mix lemon zest into one bowl…

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…and strawberry jam in the other. Place into airtight containers and chill.

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Blend the batter well – it will become lighter in color.  After pouring the batter into the pans, tap the pans on the counter to get rid of air bubbles.

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Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove them and cool completely on the racks before frosting.

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Place the bottom layer onto a serving platter and spread the strawberry filling over the top.

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Layer the filling with fresh sliced strawberries, and a little more filling.

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Tip: placing strips of wax paper under the cake will help keep your serving platter clean while you frost and decorate.  Place the top layer on and, using a metal spatula, spread a little lemon frosting at a time around the sides of the cake.  This is the new and trending “naked cake”, with just a thin coating of frosting and the cake layers visible beneath.  You can absolutely use more frosting so you can create dips and swirls to your heart’s content!

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Spread frosting over the top of the cake – again, you can go for a smooth appearance, or use more frosting for additional texture.

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Remove the wax paper from under the cake.  Garnish with sliced and whole strawberries and fresh mint.  What a pretty centerpiece for your Mother’s Day table!  Store the cake, covered, in the fridge and take it out 30 minutes before serving to let it come to room temperature.  Enjoy, and Happy Mother’s Day!

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Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone

Mother's Day Lemon Pudding Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A rich and flavorful cake filled and topped with whipped cream cheese frosting is a perfect Mother's Day dessert. So easy to make - and it lends itself to some delicious flavor variations!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12-14 servings
  • Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 16 oz. box confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • Fresh whole and sliced strawberries
  • Fresh mint
  • Cake:
  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 1 - 3.4 oz. box instant lemon pudding
  • ½ pint sour cream (full fat)
  • ½ cup light vegetable oil
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 4 eggs
  • Variations: Use chocolate/dark chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding; vanilla cake mix and vanilla pudding; spice cake mix and butterscotch pudding, or try your own flavor combination!
  1. Make the frosting:
  2. With a mixer, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and smooth.
  3. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually add powdered sugar, starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high after each addition.
  5. Pour in whipping cream; start mixer on low speed and increase to high, whipping until the frosting becomes light and fluffy, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  6. Remove ⅓ of the frosting to a bowl and add the lemon zest.
  7. Fold in gently, transfer to an airtight container.
  8. Fold the strawberry jam into the remaining ⅔ frosting and transfer to an airtight container.
  9. Refrigerate filling and frosting for at least two hours/overnight.
  10. Make the cake:
  11. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 9” cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
  12. Using a hand mixer, combine all the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes..
  13. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops.
  14. Bake 24-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  15. Cool on racks for 10 minutes; turn out of the pans and cool completely.
  16. To assemble the cake, place one layer onto a serving plate, flat side down, and slide pieces of wax paper underneath the cake (to keep the plate clean).
  17. Spread the strawberry filling onto the layer to desired thickness; place a layer of sliced strawberries on top.
  18. Place the second layer on top of the filling, flat side up.
  19. Spoon some of the lemon frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it over the entire cake and down the sides.
  20. Use a metal spatula to smoothly spread the frosting around the top and sides of the cake.
  21. Spread it thinly for the trendy “naked cake” look; use more to create a thick layer with pretty dips and swirls.
  22. Remove the wax paper.
  23. Garnish the top and individual slices with the fresh strawberries and mint.
  24. Store the cake, covered, in the refrigerator. Take it out 30 minutes before slicing.
Prep time does not include chill time for the frosting (overnight).
Cook time includes 40 minutes cooling time for the cakes.
This cake can be made in a bundt pan: pour all the batter into the bundt and bake 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with powdered sugar glaze (2 cups powdered sugar whisked together with 2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice).

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