I love a snack cake - it's cake that can be snacked on any time of day! My Lemon Snack Cake is bright and lemony and stays moist and delicious thanks to the oil and kefir in the batter. And it's topped with a tangy and sweet lemon cream cheese frosting that is irresistible.
This easy lemon cake is simple and quick to make, so it's perfect to mix up during the week but it's delicious enough to bring as a gift for a friend or to serve at your next brunch! It truly is one of the best snacking cakes I've ever had!
This recipe is sponsored by Lifeway Kefir. Their organic kefir is lactose intolerance friendly and full of healthy probiotics, protein, and calcium. Plus, they have a variety of different flavors! The lemon one is amazing in this cake.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's bursting with lemon flavor in the batter and the frosting.
- This simple lemon cake comes together in under 30 minutes and doesn't require any special equipment!
- It's topped with a decadent lemon cream cheese icing using fresh zest.
- It's perfect as a snack, for breakfast, or dessert!
- If you enjoy my Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling or Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars, you will love this recipe!
- Lemon is the main event in this small lemon cake recipe, and the flavor comes from two ingredients - lemon zest and lemon kefir. Lifeway's Organic Lemon Whole Milk Kefir brings lemon flavor, tang, and helps keep the cake moist.
- You will use baking powder and baking soda to get a good rise in your cake.
- You'll need some staples like all purpose flour, salt, granulated sugar, and an egg.
- Vegetable oil is key to a moist snacking cake. You can use vegetable, canola, or any other neutral oil.
- Room temperature cream cheese and unsalted butter make the creamiest lemon glaze.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Add in a tablespoon of poppyseeds for added crunch and flavor.
- Mix in raspberries or blueberries for an extra fruity version of this lemon cake.
- Not feeling the cream cheese frosting? Feel free to leave it off or use a different kind, like buttercream or a simple icing!
- If you can't find lemon flavored kefir, you can use plain instead. Or, if you absolutely cannot find kefir at all, buttermilk can be used in its place.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, gently whisk the egg. Stir in the lemon kefir, melted butter, and lemon zest.
Step 3: Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Step 4: Pour the batter into a parchment-lined 8x8 inch pan and bake at 350°F until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Step 5: To make the frosting, mix together powdered sugar, softened cream cheese, butter, and lemon zest.
Step 6: Spread a layer of frosting over the cooled lemon cake, slice, and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Zest your lemons using a microplane or the smallest holes on a box grater. Try not to grate any of the white pith the lemon as this can make your cake bitter.
- Leave a 2-3 inch overhang of parchment paper on opposite sides of your pan. This parchment paper "sling" makes it really easy to remove your cake from the pan. I like to secure the paper to the pan with plain metal binder clips.
- Make sure all of your frosting ingredients are at room temperature so they are smooth and easy to mix together.
A snack cake is a treat you can eat at any time of day and typically has some kind of icing or frosting on it. I like to think all cakes are snack cakes!
No. Because lemon juice is a liquid, replacing it for the lemon zest will alter the texture of the cake.
Absolutely! Line a cupcake tin and evenly distribute the batter. The cupcakes will likely bake for a shorter time than the full cake, so keep an eye on it to avoid over-baking.
This can be found at lifewaykefir.com or in the dairy section of most grocery stores.
Store fully cooled unfrosted snack cake in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Store frosted lemon cake in the refrigerator for 1 week.
I recommend freezing this lemon snack cake before frosting it. Place cooled cake in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow cake to thaw at room temperature for a few hours, frost, and enjoy!
Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ review below and tag @brokenovenbaking and @lifewaykefir on Instagram!
Lemon Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8x8 inch pan
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
Lemon Snack Cake
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ⅔ cup Lifeway Organic Lemon Whole Milk Kefir
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest lightly packed
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour weighed in grams or spooned and leveled
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, gently whisk the egg. Stir in the lemon kefir, melted butter, and lemon zest really well.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until all of the flour streaks disappear.
- Pour the lemon cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (20-30 minutes).
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully transfer it to a wire rack.
- In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar and lemon zest.
- Spread an even layer of frosting over the completely cooled cake. Slice and enjoy!