I have been eyeing* this recipe on Pinterest for a couple of months now. I think it called to me because it reminds me of a bakery-type lemon bar, which I love. Well, I usually love them. I don’t like the ones that taste like egg yolk. Have you had those before? Ugh. They almost give lemon bars a bad name, but if you have a really good one, you’ll forever be in search of another really good one. Or maybe that’s just me…
So, I clicked on the link to the recipe and I expected to find a lemon-bar recipe with cream cheese frosting, but I was wrong. This recipe uses boxed cake mix! And while I’m usually all about making everything from scratch, I had to give this one a try. The cake-mix is really just used for the crust anyway, so that doesn’t really count. (Just humor me. It makes me feel better.)
This recipe is super, super easy. Mix up the crust, press it in, whip up the topping and the frosting…you can even use the same bowl which makes me really happy because I just cleaned my kitchen and the last thing I want to do is a bunch of dishes just to get it back where I started.
I think it’s one of my new favorite desserts. It’s soft and creamy and tastes like everything you have ever dreamed a lemon bar should be. You do dream about them, don’t you? Well, if you don’t now, you will after you eat this.
Next time I make this, I will make a couple of small changes. I will increase the butter to 1/2 a cup (or 1 stick) and I will only bake it for about 23 minutes. I let it go the full 25 minutes and I think it was just a tad overdone. And the crust is just a little crumbly so I’ll add the extra butter next time and see if it comes together a little more easily. I used the bottom of one of our glasses to press the crust into place and it worked perfectly. I was a little leery about the frosting quantity – I was sure it wouldn’t be enough but it was just exactly the right amount.
Hope you like this one! Enjoy!
*Is it eyeing or eying? Google says one thing, Microsoft says another, dictionaries say both are right…and now I’ve looked at the words so many times I can’t tell which one looks right to me…ugh.
- 1 box of lemon cake mix
- ½ cup softened butter
- 3 eggs
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large, deep mixing bowl, combine cake mix, softened butter and 1 egg. The mixture will be dry and crumbly, and you shouldn't have any large chunks of butter left.
- Press mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 pan.
- Using the same mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar, and beat until smooth and well combined.
- Reserve half of this mixture and refrigerate for later use.
- To the remaining mixture, add 2 eggs and the vanilla, and beat until well blended.
- Pour the mixture over the cake and spread evenly. (I just tilted the pan until it ran to all of the edges and covered it up.)
- Bake until set, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool completely, and then spread the reserved cream cheese mixture on to the bars.
- Refrigerate until firm and then cut into squares and serve.