Lemon Surprise White Cake (With or Without Frosting)

Lemon Surprise White Cake on a cake plate


Now I always try to make cakes, pies and cookies from scratch. But once in a while (or lately more than not), I’ve got to look for a shortcut or two because I’m stretched for time or energy. And sometimes…I can luck out, like with this Lemon Surprise White Cake!

Lice of Lemon Cake on a plate

I only remember having a ripped piece of paper in my recipe file that had a few ingredients on it: Duncan Hines White Cake Mix, eggs, water and sour cream.

INgredients for Lemon White Cake Mix

That’s it! Nothing else was on that paper! I have no idea where I got it or how long I’ve had it!  I do remember that to make this cake I substituted the sour cream for the vegetable oil that was usually one of the ingredients in the Duncan Hines White Cake Mix. 

Close up of the lemon white cake without frosting


This cake recipe couldn’t be easier! Especially on a weeknight when you are celebrating a special birthday (like we were for my Mom) and having the family over for dinner after work! That’s my situation. So I had to look for something easy to whip up in the morning before work, and be able to frost the cake during a quick break at lunch! You can certainly have this cake without the frosting, and it’s just as good! But adding the frosting added just the right silkiness for Mom’s birthday cake. 

Frosting ready for the cake

Now I remember I usually do cupcakes with this recipe, but I chose a Bundt cake instead so we could put candles on the cake and sing happy birthday to Mom. 

Lemon Surprise White Cake on a cake plate


So just by using the white cake mix, eggs, water, substituting sour cream for the oil, and then adding the little surprise of lemon curd or pie filling to the batter, you’ve got a luscious lemon cake! Now with this cake, the lemon filling tends to fall down to the bottom of the batter (and with a Bundt, it is really the top), but that’s ok! It still popped right out of the Bundt pan!

Lemon Surprise White Cake without icing

And of course, putting the lemon filling in the frosting makes it silky smooth! 

Frosting ingredients for the cake


Frosting in a bowl and the cake on a cake plate


After a big family dinner on a weeknight, it was nice to have this Lemon Surprise White Cake for a birthday dessert! Everyone loved it! And next up, I’m definitely taking this dessert to the next level with my Lemon Surprise White Cupcakes! Stay tuned for that soon!

Lemon Surprise White Cake on a cake plate

Until next time,

Let’s get cookin’ and bakin’ together,


Lemon Surprise White Cake

This luscious Lemon Surprise White Cake will have you making it over and over again! Using a white cake mix from Duncan Hines, it is so easy to whip up and serve for family and friends! Make it with or without the frosting! It's just as moist either way!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: All
Keyword: DuncanHines, DUncanHinesCakeMix, easylemoncake, easylemondessert, easywhitecake
Servings: 12 people
Author: Madeline Kohler


  • 1 Hand or Stand Mixer
  • 1 Bundt or Tube pan


Cake Batter

  • 1 box Duncan Hines White Cake Mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 16 ounces lemon pie filling or lemon curd


  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 8 tbsp butter (1stick), softened
  • 3 ouonces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup lemon pie filling or lemon curd
  • 1 tbsp light cream, half-n-half or whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Cake Batter

  • Preheat oven to 350° on bake setting.
  • Grease cake pan well (I use Pam's Baking Spray and it works fantastic)!
  • Pour cake mix into mixing bowl.
  • Add eggs one at a time and blend on low speed until eggs are combined with the dry cake mix.
  • Add sour cream. Blend on low speed until combined.
  • Add water slowly, and blend on low speed until combined into batter.
  • Blend on medium-high speed until all lumps are gone and batter is nice and smooth (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Pour batter into baking pan. Drop the lemon filling by tablespoonfuls until you have used the 16 ounces of filling. You can take a knife to swirl the lemon so it incorporates a little more evenly throughout the batter.
  • Bake 40 minutes, making sure cake is firm to touch or that a cake tester comes out free of the batter (just insert the cake tester 1/2 way through to avoid catching the lemon filling at the bottom of the cake).
  • Cool for 20 - 30 minutes and turn cake upside down onto rack and let cool completely before frosting.


  • Put softened butter and cream cheese into large mixing bowl.
  • Beat on low speed until butter and cream cheese are well combined.
  • Add lemon filling light cream and vanilla and beat on low speed until incorporated.
  • Add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low speed after each addition. Turn blender to medium-high and blend for another minutes until frosting is free of lumps.
  • Once the cake is cooled and on a cake plate, frost the cake.
  • Serve and enjoy!


INgredients for Lemon White Cake Mix Frosting ingredients for the cake Lemon Surprise White Cake without icing Frosting in a bowl and the cake on a cake plate Lemon Surprise White Cake on a cake plate


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating