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Recipe: Grandma's lemon cake

Posted February 7, 2013

My grandma died a year ago this month.

For the past several years, I've traveled to Indiana to see her and my grandpa with my girls each summer. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, helping her prepare meals. On the visit during the summer before she died, she shared this recipe for lemon cake with me.

She mostly fixed long-time favorites when we were there - meatloaf, pineapple cake, broccoli and cheese soup, a vegetable salad with Jello. But another relative had just given her this cake recipe. She was excited to serve something new and tell me about it. My older daughter helped with the finishing touches, which involve poking small holes over the top so the glaze sinks down into the cake.

Right now, as I type this, I'm sitting in the hospital room of her husband, my grandfather. He's recovering from a variety of medical issues, which cropped up during his visit here in North Carolina last week. I am thankful that he was here when it all happened, closer to medical care than his rural home in Indiana.

It's been a long, tough week. But still, I marvel at his willingness to travel, at age 96, a great distance to see my mom and my family. It reminds me of that summer morning spent making this lemon cake with my grandma, who, even at age 89, wasn't afraid to try something different too.

They both inspire me. I share this recipe in honor of them today.

Lemon Cake

1 package of lemon cake mix
1 package of instant lemon pudding
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup lemon or orange juice (I used lemon)
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Making lemon cake

Mix together lemon cake mix, pudding mix, water and oil. Beat for five minutes. Add eggs and beat for another five minutes. Bake for 40 minutes.

When done, prick the top of the cake with a toothpick or fork all over so the glaze really soaks in. I let my younger daughter do this, carefully wrapping the hot pan in a towel and supervising her.

Mix the fruit juice and powdered sugar. Pour over cake while it's still warm. You can eat this cake warm or at room temperature. Either way, it's delicious!

Go Ask Mom shares recipes each Friday. Check's recipe database for more.


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  • cczahnow Feb 14, 2013

    Sarah - I know it's hard after you lose someone so important in your life. The wonderful recipes can remind us of their love. I remember my grandmother's cooking like it was yesterday - the best country cooking in my world! And we had to travel all the way to Leesville to see her. (it felt like a long way when you live in Five Points in Raleigh!) Hope your grandfather is doing better today.

  • luckygb39 Feb 9, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so amazing how things that are so near and dear to your heart, you always want to share. I can appreciate this. This will always be a part of your loving thoughts as I am sure we all have some. Thank you very much as this brings great memories back for me.

  • 321oohaw Feb 9, 2013

    I saw this same recipe on the back of a box in Food Lion, nothing new here.

  • carelesswhisper Feb 8, 2013

    Great story and that cake sounds delicious. I may have to try it this weekend.

  • mys1983 Feb 8, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your story and your recipe!

  • wildfrenchrose Feb 8, 2013

    Cool. Thanks!

  • shall6 Feb 8, 2013

    Thank you Texan ...

    wildfrenchrose ... I can share those recipes. Just need to dig them up. And actually all of Go Ask Mom's recipes and Faye's recipes are in the same WRAL database that's linked above.


  • wildfrenchrose Feb 8, 2013

    Would you mind sharing the pineapple cake recipe and the vegetable salad with jello? Pineapple is my fav cake, and never heard of a salad like that. The Smart Shopper blog on WRAL has a recipe database you could maybe put them in, too.

  • Texan Feb 7, 2013

    Lovely story - thank you for sharing it and the recipe.