Lemon Surprise Cake

filed under: Cakes on August 13, 2017

Just six ingredients are all you need to bake the most flavorful and delicious Lemon Surprise Cake! If you happen to love Lemon Pound Cake as much as I do, try my from-scratch version! (Better yet, try this Cream Cheese Pound Cake. It’s award-winning!)

Lemon Bundt Cake on Cake Stand with Icing Drizzling

Lemon Surprise Cake

Why did I call this a lemon “surprise” cake? Because it has lemon-lime soda as an ingredient! I was a bit shocked that one little can of soda can make such a wonderful difference in a cake, but it did. I can’t wait to try this with other flavors!

Traditionally speaking, this is a lemon pound cake and has been around for many generations. Our grandmothers were masters of finding ways to save money and use what they had to create beautiful and delicious desserts.

Lemon Bundt Cake Slice on Plate with Fork

What is a Lemon Surprise Cake? 

This is actually considered a pound cake. The definition of pound cake is this: a rich cake containing a pound, or equal weights, of each chief ingredient, typically flour, butter, and sugar.  One of the original lemon pound cake recipes was: (OH MY GOSH A DOZEN EGGS?!?!) 

  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1 pound butter
  • 1 pound flour
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

With changes in the sourcing of flours, accessibility of ingredients, quality of butter, and the addition of extracts in baking, some modifications have been made to that original recipe.

So if you want to get technical, this lemon pound cake recipe does not have equal parts of flour, butter, and sugar. However, it still maintains the rich flavor and beautiful, dense crumb that is commonly associated with a pound cake.

Close up of a Slice of Lemon Bundt Cake

Easy 7-Up Cake

As you can tell, this cake recipe is much easier! A few simple ingredients!

There are only 6 ingredients in this easy lemon pound cake, no baking soda or baking powder is needed! The rise comes from the carbonation in the soda added.
You can use any lemon-lime flavored soda.
4.67 from 6 votes
Super easy, super delicious!
Lemon Surprise Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

Just six ingredients are all you need to bake the most flavorful and delicious Lemon Surprise Cake!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Surprise Cake
Servings: 6 SERVINGS
Author: Amanda Rettke
Lemon Cake
  • 1 1/2 cup (339g or 3 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups (384g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. McCormick Lemon Extract
  • 3/4 cup lemon-lime soda, like 7-up or Sprite
Lemon Glaze
  • 3 cups (375g) confectioners sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Lemon Extract
  • 0-4 tablespoons milk (optional)
Lemon Cake
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour (or spray with non-stick spray) a bundt pan.
  2. Cream sugar and butter in the bowl of stand mixer on medium speed until fluffy and light.
  3. With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time and mix well.
  4. Add in lemon extract and soda and then slowly add in flour and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Bake at 350°F for one hour and fifteen minutes or until inserted toothpick is removed with very few crumbs.

Lemon Glaze
  1. Place butter in bowl and mix (with hand-held mixer or stand mixer) until light. Add in confectioners sugar and extract. Mix until fully combined. (If frosting is too thick it can be thinned with a little milk.)

Recipe Video

Let me know if you try this super easy and delicious cake! Photography by Ashlee Marie.

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  • Steve says:

    Why is the video directions different than the printed? Differences in cooking times for cake, no reference to the lemon zest in the printed version, and the frosting video calls for melted butter creamed into the confectionary sugar, while printed version calls for room tempt. This last mishap results in having to use more milk to think it down.

    • Amanda says:

      Always follow the recipe as written. 🙂

  • SylviA says:

    Hi Amanda. Could I put a layer of cake mixed in the bottom then small layer of lemon curd …and the rest of the cake mix . Would this work do you think ?

  • Marion says:

    can this be done in the microwave?

  • Rovertia M. WootenRovertia says:

    Please repost your recipe for blueberry lemon cake. I saw the video but need exact measurements and I cAn’t find it 😇Thank You!

  • Sue says:

    What about the zest. How much? When is it added? “Always follow the recipe as written.” ??? No zest written in the recipe . . . ???

  • marlene robinson says:

    the recipe shows lemon but how much please reply I really want to make this asap, can I use reg. 7up and not lemon lime soda

  • Ethel Williams says:

    do baking powder go in the lemon cake

  • Reg Marchant says:

    Hi What does the C stand for, example
    3/4c lemon lime soda
    and 3c flour.
    I have made various cakes in the past but never come across the c I am making my wife a lemon drizzle cake for the allotment open day
    Thank you in advance

    • Amanda says:

      C= Cup

  • Ethel Williams says:

    Do liquid go in the icing for the lemon surprise cake

  • Ethel Williams says:

    I just want to say that I tried the lemon surprise cake and it was delicious thank you for the recipe

  • Renan Freitas says:

    The taste is so yummy and so sweet. The cake is gone in 30 minutes.

  • ayesha haya says:


  • F.D. says:

    I make a cake like this, but I add pineapples/a little juice with 7up….for sure melts in your mouth!

  • Kat says:

    This is the second recipe I’ve tried that the recipe ingredients don’t match the video. This video has lemon zest and the recipe doesn’t call for that. This is frustrating. Another cookie recipe had an ingredient in the video that wasn’t listed in the recipe or instructions.

    • Amanda says:

      Always follow the written recipe. Sometimes I hire video’s to be made by others and there can be errors.

  • Rikky says:

    I tried this lemon cake it was so amazing. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  • Jessica says:

    Hi, I made the lemon surprise cake and the cake itself came out nice in the consistency, but I believe my lemon extract was outdated…it gave a hint of pinesol taste to it :/
    and that was my fault. I will definitely try it again with a new lemon extract. I would like to use lemon juice if possible and was wondering if its been done with lemon juice instead of lemon extract.

  • Maxwell says:

    Do you have a book?if yes how much and where can I get it

  • R.K says:

    Thanks for your recipe but 2 tablespoons of lemon extract would be inedible. It is way too strong.

  • Wendy D says:

    The icing was so thick I added three and a half tablespoons of milk and it ended up a buttercream frosting. How do you make it a runnier icing without adding lots of milk? And if so, how much milk?

    • Wendy D says:

      So the video does it different melting the butter, but the recipe clearly says room temperature butter and mix until fluffy to start the “icing”. I know you say go by the recipe, not video, but this could be why it came out as a buttercream frosting instead of an icing?

  • Merie Surkan says:

    This is yummy. Took about an hour and a half to cook. I added 1 1/2 cups frozen wild blueberries and cut the icing in half as we prefer things less sweet.

  • Kim says:

    Just finished frosting the cake. Recipe was easy to follow but should include at least some milk in the frosting recipe. Added a little less than a qtr cup and ended up with a nice consistency. Smells fantastic, can’t wait to try it on Sunday. Happy Easter!

  • Kary says:

    I made this cake for the first time for my sister who LOVES anything Lemon 🙂 I haven’t tasted it yet BUT I had to take my cake out 15 min early because it was starting to look really over cooked on the sides. No biggie , I am sure it is still delicious but one question I have is for the icing, I added quite a lot of milk but it just didn’t come out half as pretty as yours ,,, any suggestions?

  • Terri Crump says:

    Marlene, 7Up is lemon-lime soda.

  • Wendy D says:

    Made this for the second time today with some adjustments. First, I didn’t bake it anywhere near an hour and fifteen minutes. I did it about 55 minutes, so it wouldn’t be too dry, I think it could have been shorter even. Second, and more importantly, is the icing adjustments. The first time I made it according to the directions and it came out as a buttercream, even with almost 4 tbsp. of milk. Then I noticed on the video, they use melted butter. I tried this and it worked! I added a little too much milk, so it got a little too runny, but much closer this time. Hope to perfect it with the right balance next time.

  • SallyRan says:

    love your site & your recipes Going to try this one for sure SallyRan

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.