Lemon-Glazed Sheet Cake

Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 10 mins
12 to 16 Serves

A delicate cake that has a double dose of tangy brightness, thanks to a zest-filled batter and a silky citrus glaze. The optional candied lemon-rind topping adds a design element that will have the crowd swirling with delight.



  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

  • 1 ⅓ cups sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 ⅔ cups cake flour (not self-rising), such as Swans Down

  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature


  • ¾ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus ⅔ cup fresh juice (from about 3 lemons)

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • Candied lemon zest, for serving (optional)


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Beat butter with sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition and scraping down sides as needed. Beat in lemon juice. Beat in flour in three additions, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula.

  2. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely.

  3. Glaze: Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon zest in a saucepan. Whisk in yolks, then 1 2/3 cups water, lemon juice, and butter. Bring to a boil over mediumhigh heat, whisking constantly, and cook, still whisking, 1 minute. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, whisking occasionally.

  4. Poke 20 holes in cake with a skewer; pour glaze over top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Decorate with candied zest. (Leftovers can be refrigerated, wrapped in plastic, up to 3 days.)

    lemon glazed sheet cake
    Alpha Smoot
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