Katy’s Lemon Juice Cake – & Time Travel Via Swing


If you’re on Pinterest or Facebook and could use one of the buttons above, I’d surely appreciate it!


That’s the best way to describe this recipe. I worked it up and Katy and I played with it until we got it just right, then started making samples to send to folks for second opinions. These puppies have been flying out the door (I’ve sent them to six different people so far) and the reports back have me plum tickled and really wanting to make more. Last night, a person who shall remain nameless under the Baker’s Protection Act called and said “I wouldn’t tell anyone else this, but I ate that entire cake all by myself, it was so good!”.

Katy Rose and I could happily make these and feed the world all day long -but alas I can’t stop everything I’m doing in life to open up a factory for Katy’s Lemon Juice Cakes. BUT I can share the recipes with you so you can make your own :)

Before we get into the recipe, though, I’m feeling a little chattiness rising up within me so get comfy – or scroll down.

I know a lot of y’all are still experiencing a good bit of cold where you are, but in my neck of the woods, spring has finally sprung! Goodness gracious, did it ever seem to take a long time getting here this year!

I’ve been taking walks with my daughter lately. Sometimes we walk around the neighborhood and sometimes we head to a nearby park, which is by far her favorite place for us to go. As we near it, her eyes are searching for kids, and if she sees any she tugs on my hand to speed me up as she shouts “There are kids Mama! Hurry!”

My child could make friends with a hole in the wall. I don’t know where she gets that from. 

The other day we headed over there and there weren’t any other kids so I pushed Katy in the swing a few times and that swing next to her started getting the best of me.

I couldn’t help myself, so I sat down in it.

Now let me fill you in here, Mama don’t swing no mo’. I used to. I spent half of my childhood swinging. But as I’ve gotten older motion has become a bit of a problem for me. I learned this the hard way when we went to Disney world when Katy Rose was just two. My husband and my son wanted to ride roller coasters and things which Katy was too small for (and I wasn’t about to ride) so it ended up being me and Katy a good bit during the day. We’d walk by Dumbo’s flight and every day she’d beg and beg to ride it and I’d tell her that her daddy woudl take her. This went on for three days, they never happened to be near us when we were going near it, so one day I finally gave in and said “Baby, I know you want to ride this so let’s just go.”

We got on that thing and it went up, up, up (have I mentioned I don’t care for heights?). While it was going up, it was spinning, spinning, spinning. Katy was lit up like the morning sun, happy as she could be and having the time of her life. I was so happy for her and it was wonderful to get to see.

But when we got off, I could barely walk. I was gripping that rail and trying to convince my brain that the world was not still spinning. That night it felt like I was on a ship, I had to lay on my stomach with both arms out flat on the bed just to be able to tell myself that it wasn’t rocking. For weeks afer that, whenever I closed my eyes the room would spin, so I spent as much time as possible keeping my eyes open –  a LOT!

This is why I avoid swings. But I couldn’t help myself. I decided at that moment that to swing by my little girl would be worth a few weeks of spinning rooms and I hopped on.

Mama! You’re swinging!” Her eyes were big as dollars. “I didn’t know you knew how!”

I laughed “Katy baby, I used to do this every single day when I was a little girl, all day long!” She just kept looking at me in delight each time we’d swing past each other.

“Mama, you’re so good at this!” Bless her heart, that was a moment to remember for both of us. As I swang (swing, swang, swung, grammar critics eat your heart out) I didn’t feel that sickness so I went higher and higher still, shedding off years of adulthood and once again trying to touch the clouds with my toes.

I grew younger that day. Those precious moments where I shed the yoke of deadlines, emails, and demands took years off my life. In fact, at the time it felt as if a full three decades worth had been removed. Once I got off that swing and took my daughter’s hand to walk back home, they didn’t pile back on, either. My heart smiles now just thinking about it.

Childhood, no matter how far away it seems at times, is still within us, and sometimes all we need to travel back in time is the nearness of a child and a trusty old park swing.

And maybe one of Katy’s Lemon Juice Cakes…

Lets get to cooking!

You’ll need: Self rising flour, butter (or margarine, ain’t nobody gonna judge here!), sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.

For the Lemon Syrup you’ll need: More lemon juice and sugar

For the Glaze you’ll need: Confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla or butter flavoring

You are more than welcome to use fresh lemon juice for this but seeing as how they sell entire bottles of that stuff much cheaper than the lemons themselves, I’m going with the bottled stuff. You’re going to need over 1/2 a cup of it so feel free to take the easy way out here and go with bottled, too. If you prefer fresh squeezed, I’ll be the first to admit that you’re a better woman than I am – and I’m totally okay with that.

Place your butter in a bowl along with your sugar.

Imagine that butter and sugar is a problem in your life and then beat the living mess out of it.

(this is how I remain a non violent person)

It’ll look like this when you are done.

 Add in your other ingredients.

Notice that there is no “gradual” here, just dump it all in there. I’m sure there are many virtues to “gradual” but I’d rather spend my spare time swinging with my kids than babying an egg that wants to be added slowly after every 2 ounces of flour…

Your final dough will look like this and be more like a cookie dough than a cake dough.

Spray an 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

You’ll have to kind of pat the dough into your pan a bit, either with your hands or a spoon.

Put that in the oven.

While that is cooking, mix up your lemon juice and sugar.

Stir it real good until all of the sugar is dissolved.

If you want to speed things up, pop this in the microwave for about 30 seconds to get it warm and then stir again.

I have precious little patience in my life so I choose not to waste it on trying to dissolve sugar in lemon juice. 

Here is our finished cake. You’ll notice that it doesn’t rise very much. This cake is about an inch or so tall.

While it is warm, poke holes all over it with a wooden skewer or some such.

Pour lemon juice mixture evenly over warm cake.

Let it cool a bit.

As you can see, I have no patience to wait for this, either :) Oh how I miss the days of ladies cooling cakes on their porches!

While that is cooling, we want to mix up a good thick glaze to go on top of it.

You’ll need: Confectioner’s sugar, milk, and some type of flavoring. I am using clear butter flavoring but you can use vanilla – clear or brown. If you don’t use clear, the icing will have a slight tint to it but that will be just fine.

Mix this up and stir stir stir until there are no more lumps. If it is too runny, just add more sugar. If it is too dry, add 1/2 tablespoon more milk.

This is pretty straightforward.

Spoon or pour this over the top of your cake.

Spread to cover cake entirely. Allow to sit until glaze hardens.

Then, the hard part. Cover and let cake sit at room temp several hours so all of the lemon juice has a chance to absorb and distribute evenly throughout the cake.


Oh mercy! Looking at this and remembering how it tastes sets my mouth to watering and almost brings tears to my eyes.

Ain’t it purty? 

Hint: They taste even better if you give them away :)

(Katy was over the moon thrilled when I named this recipe after her!)


Katy’s Lemon Juice Cake
  • ¾ cup butter or margarine, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1+3/4 cups self rising flour*
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Lemon Syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1+1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring (butter or vanilla)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease an 9x9 baking dish. Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer until well blended and fluffy. Add all other cake ingredients and mix until well combined, will resemble cookie dough.
  2. Pat into greased dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden around edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you mix up the syrup.
  3. To make syrup, combine lemon juice and sugar and stir to dissolve (can heat in microwave for 30 seconds to help speed up process). Poke holes all over top of cake and evenly pour lemon juice over. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Place all glaze ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Pour over top of cake, spread to cover. Allow to harden.
  5. Once glaze is hardened, cover cake with foil and allow to sit at room temperature several hours for the juice to be absorbed and distributed throughout cake.

*Click here to visit my FAQ page and find instructions on how to make self rising flour from all purpose.

God gives every bird it’s food,

but he does not throw it in the nest.

~Unknown, submitted by Nana. Click here to submit your quote and read more.

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Christy's email list and receive all her new posts directly in your inbox


  1. Sandy says

    I made this today…I was craving that lemon “whang”…don’t think I cooked the cake long enough…it fell in the middle…Next time, I believe I would put about half as much glaze…SOOOOOO SWEEEEET! Sure cured my craving, though!!

    Thanks for your work, Christy. You touch many lives in positive ways…love your meanderings!LOL

  2. Amber says

    Mine fell in the middle too (shouldn’t have opened the oven door at 25 minutes), but I mashed it down on the edges the best I could and kept going. I don’t have the willpower to leave it alone, so MOST of the cake is in the “let it sit for several hours” phase. So yummy! I didn’t have lemon juice, but I had some key lime juice leftover from another recipe, and it worked out just great. Can’t wait to share some with my mama on Saturday.

  3. says

    I love lemon and can’t wait to give this receipt a try! As much as I can’t wait for that I am going to go to the park with my sweetie and the dogs this weekend. Time to let some of the stress and craziness of buying a new house and being 60 miles apart go! (My sweeties been working in one town and I in another for the past 8 months while waiting for this silly house.) I’m going to go swing and slide down the slide and be a monkey on the monkey bars. Thank you for the reminder that you have to ‘let go’ once in awhile! Thankyou Christy and Katy Rose!

  4. Suzanne says

    Christy, I just want to tell you that I recently stumbled upon your website and have so enjoyed what I’ve found here. I was born and raised in AL but my husband took a job in KY in 2010 so we’re here until the Lord has other plans for us. I sure do miss AL but your website is like getting a regular dose of AL to my lonesome heart.

    Anyway, I have already made this cake 2 times this week. Yes, I said two times. You’re going to cause me to gain some weight back that I previously lost. We’ve nicknamed it the “Sunshine Cake” because it tastes like a slice of sunshine. I am not at all a citrus fan. My favorite ingredient of almost any dessert is chocolate. But I honestly must confess that I think this cake has quicky become my favorite over any dessert I have ever tasted before. It’s to die for!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Deborah says

    Christy this looks so good. I have a question for you or one of your readers. Has anyone ever cooked a ham in a slow cooker and if so, how do I go about doing it? Do I need to add a little water? Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes and stories. Have a blessed day!

  6. Mel Tardy says

    first of all, one of my all-time favorite desserts, LEMON BARS! and secondly, I love your swinging situation! Don’t know where I heard this, but have always remembered it:
    “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else!”

  7. Barbara Miller says

    well ya made me cry again. your little Katy is one special little girl and you are a great momma. i gotta go blow my nose, wash my hands and face and bake this Katy sunshine cake!

  8. Cassie Wilkins says

    I know I posted before on this, but here is my update. Have made this twice now and is very good. I sent a big plate of this to work with hubby and not even a crumb left, lol. He says the fellows loved it.
    I baked this in my nice little toaster oven bake pan and it was perfect. I have to moisten my fingers to pat and smooth out the batter. So easy to do.
    I give you and your Katie a big ole hug! Thanks!

  9. Carla says

    Mine fell too. :( and I couldn’t get the glaze to taste just right. I used to be a great baker but I’m not having any luck lately. I agree that there was a LOT of glaze, so I spooned some back off after I poured it on. But luckily I have two little girls with sweet teeth who will love it regardless. I’m thinking it will taste better after having chilled in the fridge overnight.

  10. Mary says

    This cake sounds so simple and yummy. Has anyone used fresh lemon juice in place of bottled as called for in the recipe. I’m looking for recipes other than lemon bars that use fresh lemon juice.

  11. MARSHA G says

    Katy Rose is so beautiful a perfect little mini Christy! i try every month to send the teachers at my daughters school a sweet treat and this will be it this month to hopefully welcome spring to Texas. Not only that but it is a very low cost dessert to make with on hand things. I saw a sign on a business the other day and it is sure how I feel after all the cold. It said, “Mother Nature please make up your mind, Sincerely Texas” So maybe Katy’s cake will bring us the much wanted sunshine. Keep em’ coming Christy. Hope some day you will come to the Barnes and Nobles in Waco, Texas so I can meet you.

  12. Debra M says

    This cake looks delicious. And I will tell you something that I am sure you already know. That sweet Katy Rose’s whole face lights up when she smiles. Love the picture of her holding her cake. So sweet! Thanks for the delightful recipes!!

  13. Nan says

    My mom used to make this and sometimes substituted orange juice instead of lemon…. yummy!
    I’ll have to see if I still have her recipe!
    Every time I read about Katy Rose, it reminds me of my Katy Rebecca, who is now almost 20! She has just discovered cooking and send her some of your recipes (especially the meal in a bag!). Thanks so much for sharing your stories and recipes.

    • says

      Hey Nan!! I am so glad to hear that Katy Rebecca has discovered cooking!! I always love hearing about young girls/women finding the joy of cooking and blessing others with their talents. I can’t wait to hear about some of the things she cooks!

Leave a Comment

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