Lemon Jell-O Cake – The Second Place Best Winner in the Glistening And Jiggly Contest

Posted on Aug 1 2012 - 6:06am by RetroRuth

I have to tell you something. I am completely pea- green with envy over Martha K.’s recipe collection. Not only did she send us this really easy and really good submission for the Glistening and Jiggly Contest, but she also sent us this recipe for a really good lamb cake. And all of these wonderful recipes came out of her mother’s recipe box!

I have another confession. I have made her lamb cake recipe several times already for non-lamb cake things, such as my niece’s first birthday and some cookies and cream cupcakes. They were amazing, and I am pretty sure this recipe is also one that is going to get made at our house quite often.


Martha writes:

Dear Ruth, Here is my recipe for the Jello Contest. This recipe came from my mother’s box, as well. There is also a similar cake she used to make that used Jello Pudding mix instead of Jello Gelatin.

Best Wishes, Martha K.

Lemon Jello Cake

How can you not love this recipe??



Covered with glaze???


The best use of lemon gelatin in the ENTIRE contest?

That would be a big check!


The only thing not quite perfect about this recipe was that I baked it in the wrong pan.  I thought it would be cute as a bundt, but my regular bundt pan was dirty so I used my smaller one. It was far, far too small and when the cake was baked it ended up looking a bit like it was tottering on a little pedestal. AND it got a little browned. But those were both my errors. So, learn from my mistakes, people! This cake will double in size, so make sure to use the right-sized pan!


Also, I forgot to prick the cake with a toothpick, so my  glaze sort of ran off my cake. Once again, my bad. It would have probably been better if I would have just made this cake in a 13×9 pan. In my defense, I was tired. Also, I made about 25 other gelatin dishes before this. Also, I wanted to eat it right away.


A close-up, so you can see the cake texture.





Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a smile!

From the tasting notes:

Super lemon-y. Dense, but also light. Moist. Not too shabby.

The Verdict:  Very good!

This cake was even more surprising because other people who tasted this cake couldn’t even tell it was from a box!  It’s true. They were shocked when I told them. The glaze especially got high praise, which was wonderful because the stuff was SO EASY to make!

And, one of the neighbors who I shared the cake with sent me this photo from New York recently, where she was visiting her daughters:


 A cake the girls bought at the local bakery! A real layer of lemon jell-o over cake and lemon custard. Topped with cake!

Check it out, Martha, your recipe is trendy!  Congratulations on the win and thanks for sending this recipe in! Keep the submissions from your mom’s recipe collection coming. They are wonderful!

4.9 from 7 reviews
Lemon Jell-O Cake
  • 1 pkg Lemon Cake Mix
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup salad oil
  • 1 - 3 oz (small) pkg lemon Jell-O, dissolved in ¾ cup boiling water
  • For glaze:
  • 2 c. confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  1. Mix all of the above ingredients, except glaze ingredients, for four minutes.
  2. Bake in a well-greased pan for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
  3. When done, pierce top with toothpick. Pour glaze over the top.
Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake Mix is good.
Bake in Bundt pan.
Use fresh squeezed lemon juice!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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36 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. veg-o-matic August 1, 2012 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Such a strange and wonderful experience to see a smile like that.

    Especially on *this* blog 😉

    • RetroRuth August 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      It was just that good! 🙂

  2. Janet Richardson August 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I haven’t made this yet but I know it will be delicious. I’ve made something similar in the past but not lemom. Lemon happens to be my favorite flavor next to chocolate. Thank you for posting the printable recipe. It will fit perfectlly into my recipe box. Now I can’t wait to make this cake!!

  3. Nerissa August 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    So nice to see a smile. I’m a fan of anything lemony. I know I’d be smiling, too. May just have to try this out some time soon.

    • RetroRuth August 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Nerissa! If you do make it, make sure to send me a pic! 🙂

  4. Michelle August 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    A lady at work brings something similar to this to all potlucks, it is SO YUMMY!

    • RetroRuth August 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Awesome! Now you know her secret, Michelle. 🙂

  5. Sara In AZ August 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Awwwww, so nice to see Tom with a smile! 🙂

    You know, Mike’s Dad is just crazy-nuts for lemon anything, I might just make this for him one of these days!

    • RetroRuth August 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Yes! Make it! It is really good!!!

  6. Martha K. August 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    I know my mama is smiling today ….. and probably getting ready to bake a lemon cake…

    • RetroRuth August 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      I am so happy that you sent us your recipe, Martha! Your mom was a wonderful cook! 🙂

  7. Andrea August 2, 2012 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Wow, you can even tell in the picture that it is a nice and moist cake. Looks so good!

  8. Maureen August 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    I absolutely love lemon! I will be making this cake for the weekend, I just have to find my bundt pan 🙂

  9. Kelly Beduhn August 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Yes! I am making this tonight! Looks delicious.

  10. SusieQT August 3, 2012 at 6:48 am - Reply

    That looks so good! I have a recipe for a lemon pound cake with a glaze like that. But it is so complicated I rarely make it- maybe this one can substitute from now on.

  11. P'Gell August 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    I really wish I had some lemon jello in the house. This looks lovely! I want to make it now.

  12. Maureen August 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    I have this in the oven right now! My bundt pan was AWOL, I FINALLY found it today. I knew it had to be around here somewhere 🙂 Cannot wait to try this!

  13. Lori August 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    That is my grandma’s lemon cake recipe! I grew up on this cake. It made me love anything sweet and lemon. Ours was written on a index card and the card was very dirty and stained, i.e. much-used and loved!

  14. Angela August 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I totally, completely LOVED this cake. I also totally screwed up while making it but it still came out delicious! I was not paying complete attention when I read the instructions and ended up just tossing the dry jello straight into my cake batter before realizing I was supposed to dissolve it in water. I decided to go ahead and just pour the water in after and see what happened. I also realized I didn’t have any vegetable oil to speak of, so I ended up using 3/4 cup of melted butter instead. The cake was still so fluffy and delicious even though I wrecked the instructions! I’m ashamed to admit I ate all but 3 slices of it over a week’s time.

  15. Brian March 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Looks good and I’d like to make it but one question:

    “When done, pierce top with toothpick. Pour glaze over the top.”

    Immediately when I remove it from the oven? Or after it cools?

    • RetroRuth March 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Brian –

      You add the glaze while it is still warm! Hope you like the cake!

      • Brian March 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

        Loved it. Very moist. I took it on a visit to my sister’s the next afternoon and between the between the 5 adults and 3 children it was gone before the night was over.

        The recipe seems very adaptable to other flavor combos, too. So right now in the oven is my experiment substituting chocolate cake mix and orange jello plus orange zest (for extra orange kick and since I have to juice oranges for the glaze, anyway). Wish me luck!

        • RetroRuth March 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

          Brian –

          Did the experiment turn out?? I would love to know!

          • Brian April 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm -

            Yes, it was good but the chocolate was more “powerful” than the orange flavor. And the orange juice glaze turned out thinner than the lemon. When I do it again I will use more orange zest in the cake and less orange juice in the glaze..

            But my next version is going to be raspberry jello with chocolate cake mix. I just need to figure out the glaze…

  16. Rachel May 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    My mother made this a few hours ago and she could NOT get it out of the pan she has used for ~35 years, even though she greased it with PAM until it was GLISTENING. I think that, since we don’t silicone pans like what you happened to have on hand, or springform pans like you use for sponge or cheese cake, we’re going to try the black magic tomato chocolate cake. We saw metal pans in those pictures.

    However, Dad and I will have to make it because Mom can’t deal with anything that smells disgusting.

    • Rachel May 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      The Black Magic Chocolate Cake was delicious. Because we used a different brand of tomato soup, the batter didn’t stink. It was so shiny and the slices were impossibly smooth.

  17. Sue-on-the-farm July 7, 2013 at 12:12 am - Reply

    For Brian – an idea for a raspberry glaze. Use some frozen raspberries. Doesn’t matter, healthy flash-frozen just-the-berries kind or steeped in syrup glommy but oh-so-good comes in a metal rimmed box kind.

    Simmer raspberries [add a little water to the just the berries]. Smush it through a sieve to get out the seeds. Use the liquid goodness for your glaze. Freeze the rest. In an ice cube tray to add to a smoothie or as is to thaw and use as another dessert topping. My sister makes this every year for me as a topping to her lemon cheesecake. I’ve been known to eat the frozen left-overs with cool whip, or angel food cake, and yes, I admit it. As is. Raspberries Rock.

  18. Cristina July 20, 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Sounds delicious I think I’m making this for tomorrow nights dessert! Wish me luck

  19. bhash February 20, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Hi this sounds great but I’m puzzled. Is it a 4 serving size lemon jello or a six serving size lemon jello?


    • RetroRuth February 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      The four! Recipe has been updated! 🙂

  20. tammyCA April 15, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    This is my husband’s favorite cake – a recipe since the ’60s that his mom made for him…it’s his birthday cake every year. It really is good.

  21. Montana Beard May 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    this cake i just made today and everyone tried it from Mac to his mom and sisters and 3 year old nephew well…cake is gone.

  22. The Mid-Century Menu May 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Nice! Glad everyone liked it!

  23. Carol February 11, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Do you think you could put a few frozen blueberries in the batter?

    • RetroRuth February 12, 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply


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