Lemon Crazy Cake is a cake made without milk, eggs, or butter, but full of lemon flavor with a light and fluffy lemon buttercream on top. I also have a Chocolate Depression Cake you may want to try!


Piece of Lemon Crazy Cake with a Bite Taken Out and Fork Resting on Plate.
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Lemon Crazy Cake

The only crazy thing about this super moist, lemon-flavored cake is that you can make it without milk, eggs, or butter. Well, it also may be crazy how great it tastes even without those ingredients! One taste-tester said it tasted like frozen lemonade in cake form.

Although the cake is made without eggs, milk, or butter, I did add a lemon buttercream frosting on top which does have butter in it.

Pan of Lemon Crazy Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting in Swirls from Overhead.

Cake Ingredients

Lemons: Make sure you have a few lemons on hand. You will need lemon zest and lemon juice for both the cake and the buttercream (if added). I used three lemons in this recipe.

Buttercream: As I stated above, the lemon buttercream does contain butter; but it adds even more lemon flavor to every bite.

Pouring Batter Into 8x8 Pan for Lemon Crazy Cake.

What is a Crazy Cake?

Crazy Cakes, also known as Depression cakes or wacky cakes, among other names, became popular during the Depression-era. During this time, it was hard to get ingredients like milk, eggs, and butter. However, that didn’t mean that they should not be able to enjoy desserts! So, the crazy cakes were made.

Can I Zest and Juice the Same Lemons?

Yes, you can use the same lemons for both zest and juice. Be sure to zest the lemons first; then, you can juice them. When zesting the lemons, be sure to only use the yellow part. The white part of the peel is bitter.

Spatula Picking up a Piece of Lemon Crazy Cake from Pan.

Can I Add Food Coloring to the Cake?

Sure! If you want a bright yellow cake to match the lemon cake title, add 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring to the cake batter.

Can I Make This Cake Without the Buttercream? 

Definitely! If you just want a refreshing lemon cake, it’s delicious on its own!

One Piece of Lemon Crazy Cake on a White Plate with White Fork.

How to Store Lemon Crazy Cake

This cake can be left out at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. You could also store it in the refrigerator if preferred.

Can I Freeze Lemon Crazy Cake?

Yes! It is best to freeze the cake before adding the buttercream and the same day you make it. First, let the cake cool completely. Next, remove the cake from the pan and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Make sure none of the cake is left exposed to avoid freezer burn. Finally, wrap the cake in a layer of aluminum foil.

Label and date the packaging and freeze the cake for up to a month for best results. To thaw the cake, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before removing the aluminum foil. It will take 2-3 hours before it completely thaws. Once thawed, you can add the frosting.

Pieces of Lemon Crazy Cake from Overhead with One Piece and Fork.

Can I Make Lemon Crazy Cake as Cupcakes?

Yes! To make this cake as cupcakes, line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Pour the batter about 3/4 of the way full into each liner. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, checking for doneness at about 15 minutes. The cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs but no wet batter.

More Lemon Cake Recipes

4.65 from 14 votes

Lemon Crazy Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Lemon Crazy Cake is a cake made without milk, eggs, or butter, but full of lemon flavor with a light and fluffy lemon buttercream on top.


Lemon Cake

  • cups (187.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • cup (73 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (250 g) water

Lemon Buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cups (437.5 g) confectioners' sugar
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoons lemon zest, about one lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Lemon Cake

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and lemon zest. Whisk to combine.
  • To the flour mixture, add lemon juice, vinegar, oil, and water. Stir using a spatula or whisk until ingredients are fully combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick is inserted and comes out clean with a few crumbs, but no wet batter. Let the cake cool while you prepare the frosting.

Lemon Buttercream

  • Using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until well combined.
  • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until creamy.
  • Fold in the lemon zest.
  • Spread the buttercream over the cooled cake.

Did you make this recipe?

Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.

This recipe was adapted from Sweet Little Bluebird’s Lemon Crazy Cake recipe.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I made this cake today lemon one. Well I really didn’t care for it ,its way too sweet my goodness to sweet. I was disappointed because it really looked good and I love lemon.

    1. Mabe use some cream cheeses frosting instead without any lemon flavor in the icing. Im going to do that.

  2. Delightfully lemon! Made a great small birthday cake for someone who is dairy free. Used plant butter for the frosting and nobody tasted any difference from butter.

  3. Hello
    I have made the crazy chocolate cake and it was delicious. Everyone loved it and it was so moist. Yummy! Definitely going to try this lemon one sounds so good. I wanted to ask can I replace the water with milk?

  4. I saw a recipe for a lemon blackberry cake. Now I can’t find it. This recipe looks similar. Do you think I can just add blackberries to it? I don’t want a layer cake. The recipe I saw was for a 8×8 sized cake.

  5. I had been craving an orange cake and found this recipe. I made a couple of replacements knowing that the original recipe was for lemon which is typically quite sour I cut the sugar by almost half, because that’s significant I added a bit more flour to make up for volume. I used orange juice and orange zest. I have to say this cake was a huge hit! I plan on making it again and I am excited to try different flavor profiles. First it’s one of the moistest sponges I’ve ever had. The frosting was ridiculously buttery and tasty. I didn’t have quite enough confectioners sugar but that was fine – not noticeable. I added orange zest and a little orange juice to moisten it. Thanks for the recipe.

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