When Life Gives You Lemon Cake Mix…

29 Jun

…You use it as your secret ingredient to lemon bars!

Lemon bars are a great and easy to make treat to have around the house. Lemons are the fruit personification of summer – clean smelling, bright color, and it really works anywhere (on grilled chicken, in ice water, or as a sweet treat). Even though here in SLO it’s maybe 60 degrees and raining today.

I spend more time digging the seeds out of the mixing bowl than I spend doing anything else in this recipe.

Lemon Bars (c/o Betty Crocker)


1 box of Betty Crocker lemon cake mix

1/3 cup of butter, softened

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 lemon – which you will use the following:

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice (I’m liberal here, I use about the whole lemon – why waste it?)

Powdered sugar

As if there wasn't enough sugar in the cake mix itself... Ta da!


Preheat oven to 350. Pour your cake mix (do not follow cake box instructions – use just the dry mix), 1 egg and the butter into a bowl and mix with a spoon until moistened and crumbly.

Is it sick that I might eat this off the spoon once the rest is baking in the oven?

Scoup 1 cup of mixture and set aside.

This part of the recipe always confused me - so it warranted a picture. This is set aside to use on the top of the lemon bars.

Take remaining mixture in bowl and press it into an 8×8 (or 9×9, or 13×9, whatever works) ungreased pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Mmmm, dense cakey mix.

In the meantime, beat together the granulated sugar, the 2 eggs, baking powder, salt, lemon peel and lemon juice until it’s light and fluffy.

Mixing together the top layer.

Once your baked layer is out of the oven, pour your sugar and lemon mixture over it. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of dry mixture over that.

Pop the whole thing in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a golden brown on top. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top, and allow to completely cool before slicing and dicing.

Finished Product!

Keep the lemon bars in the fridge with plastic wrap, and they should keep for up to a week. If people can really resist them for that long.

I'd like to say the little piece was for me, but that is a lie.

4 Responses to “When Life Gives You Lemon Cake Mix…”

  1. Sheila July 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    ah HA!! So THAT’S how you make them! Steve has been raving about your lemon bars for ages. Must try them soon. (Of course, I will have to bake them in the toaster oven I’ve put outside on the porch— it was 115 degrees in the shade this afternoon– ARRRRG!—too hot to turn the oven on in the house!)
    PS… have you got a lemon zester?

    • Betty July 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      I made these today (for the first time) with some home-grown lemons a friend gave me. They came out so well I feel like a professional baker! Thanks for always inspiring me!

  2. Mom June 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I want those for my Birthday!

  3. Steve June 30, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    They’re so tasty I’m gonna die !!! 😉

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