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.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

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.

Share with your friends!

Categorized in: ,

Related Recipes

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 didn’t have luck with this recipe but mostly my fault. I tried it first with a gluten free flour mix from our local Mennonite store, and then tried it again with a King Arthur gluten free 1:1 flour. The first time the texture was jello; the second time the texture was a wet sponge. Just not meant to be made with gluten free flour I suspect! Had to toss it both times as the texture was just too off. Nice lemon taste though!

  2. I made this cake this afternoon. I have also made Chocolate Depression Cake, Wacky Gingerbread Cake, Wacky Spuce Cake as well as Vanilla Cake. This particular version seems to have more liquidity. I measured evreything as the recipe indicated. When it came out of the oven after 35 m8utes, it was not fluffy like the Chocolate one and was pretty dense. When I cut it to serve, surprise layer was present because the cake had separated into a cake layer and something akin to a thicker jello layer on bottom. I used it with a lemon buttercream that I made up because I didn’t need the amount of the recipe. It had a very pleasant taste, but was not as good as the Chocalate one. I am not sure what I did wrong.

    1. Oh dear! That is not what is supposed to happen. And honestly, I have never had that experience. I will do some research and see if I can pinpoint how on earth this could have happened.

  3. I live in Mexico and am now awaiting some nice friend or neighbor to give me lemons off of their tree. I was drawn to this recipe because years ago (and far away) I used to make the wacky Chocolate cake – and enjoyed that. I was curious to know if this cake, like the choc. one, could be made in the same pan that it was baked in. No dishes until the cake was totally gone! (Except maybe a fork for the mixing and a measuring cup.)

    If we use margarine instead of butter for the frosting, I can serve this to my vegan friends.

  4. EUROPEANS be aware. I didnt check the cups I just checked the grams, and this cake Turned out horrible. Also the smell was very off.

    1. There is nothing wrong with the grams listed in the recipe, so Europeans can rest easy. It’s entirely possible you just didn’t like the cake OR you used an incorrect ingredient, as you mentioned the smell was off.

    2. Agreed. I followed it in grams and it was way too much liquid. It calls for 250 g of water, after 100 grams, it was like soup. The texture is horrible. The cake came out very gummy. The flavor was great though.

    1. It’s not too much liquid. It is exactly the correct amount. You can literally see it being pouring into the pan in the images, a very runny batter.

  5. When I make a citrus version of wacky cake, I use half a cup of juice and a half cup of water. The whole measure of liquid is then one cup (just like the original wacky cake recipe). This results in a great bake. Perhaps those who say there is too much liquid could try the recipe using these amounts.

  6. Sorry I wasn’t impressed, after following your instructions. The cake didn’t rise more than 1/4in. and the lemon flavor was so mild
    I would hardly call it a “lemon cake”.

  7. I did notice the difference in the amounts regarding the icing between the Chocolate Depression Cake and this Lemon Cake; seems like a lot of frosting for an 8×8 pan??

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.