Glazed Lemon Cake & Family Ties

CATEGORIES: Cakes and Cupcakes, Sara

Do you guys remember when people wrote recipes by hand?  On recipe cards?  With the explosion of the internet, and most notably, food blogs, those hand-written cards are almost a thing of the past.  I have such vivid memories of my Mom writing down her recipes on cute little cards to exchange with friends, and of the scrapbook style recipe books that sat worn and tattered from use on our kitchen shelves.  Earlier this year, just a few months after my Mom passed away, I headed up to Seattle with some of my siblings to help clean out his house and go through boxes in his garage in preparation for a move.  We went through books and old clothes, and dishes, and toys and tons and tons of boxes that were still taped up and stored from their last move.  At some point rummaging through old stacks of papers, two notes fluttered by. 

Recipe Cards

My heart stopped just a little bit, and my throat filled up with that tingling feeling you get when you think you are going to burst into tears but you’re trying hard to hold it all in.  Such a simple little thing, recipes.  Funny how two little pieces of paper, seemingly useless to anyone else, would have that affect on me.

Dill Dip Recipe

One was our family’s beloved “Dill Dip,” in my Mom’s familiar script, from the Precious Moments recipe book she put together as a newlywed and we used my entire childhood.  The plastic covering was smudged and fingerprinted from the many, many, times that card was pulled out over the years.  The other is my grandmother’s hand-written recipe for her famous Lemon Cake (one I shared in our Savoring the Seasons book, with a little tweak) which is to this day a regular in my kitchen and those of my siblings.  I love the food stains and added notes in my Mom’s writing, like “makes lots!” 

Lemon Cake Recipe This is a little piece of my personal family history.  Long after my Grandmother is gone, and I’m gone, and maybe even my kids are gone, I want the generations of my posterity to have pieces of our history.  And I want them to eat Lemon Cake and Dill Dip.  It’s why I’m so passionate about preserving memories in ways that work for my family.  I love that genealogy and family history are actually becoming quite trendy these days!  There are some awesome shows on TV now that help people explore their genealogical lines and learn more about where they  come from.   

I personally, use  It’s the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons can access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries. 


Now, why am I talking about this today?  Because this is an awesome event that I feel is of value!  Family Search introduced “Indexing” in 2008 and it’s been a neat thing for my family to participate in.  What’s indexing?  Watch this!

You see, in order to make records searchable on computers, they need to be entered INto computers.  Volunteers have made over one billion historic records searchable online since FamilySearch introduced online indexing in 2008. The demand for indexed records continues to grow as millions of historical records worldwide are added every year.

Indexing Event

SO!  From July 15-17,  FamilySearch International will sponsor the third annual β€œWorldwide Indexing Event,” bringing 72,000 people from around the globe together online during a 72-hour event to save the world’s records by making them searchable to the public. 

During the 72-hour indexing period, volunteers participate by downloading the FamilySearch software and completing as many names as they would like.  Anyone with a computer and internet connection can join; it’s SO easy.  I’m going to participate and you can too!  This is a GREAT activity to do with your family and older children.  It doesn’t take long to index an entire batch of names and you’ll be adding to the world’s searchable records, which is pretty awesome!  It’s kind of like me preserving that Lemon Cake and Dill Dip in our cook books so they can be enjoyed for generations!  I’m going to be indexing this weekend- keep an eye on my Instagram for a peek into the action at my house!  Who’s going to join me?


To join 72,000 teammates in saving the World’s records, Click Here!

And now this post seems unfinished without a recipe for Lemon Cake, so here ya go πŸ™‚


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Glazed Lemon Cake

  • Author: Our Best Bites


Lemon lovers will go crazy for this doctored cake mix, hit with a buttery lemon glaze while it’s hot. Easy, impressive, and delicious!


  • 1 18.25-ounce box yellow cake mix (we like Duncan Hines)
  • 1 3.4-ounce box lemon instant pudding *see note
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter (not margarine) melted
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Whipped cream or cool whip for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Ignore ingredients on cake mix and pudding boxes. Combine dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, milk, oil, and eggs. Beat 30 seconds on low speed, scrape edges of bowl, and eat 2 minutes on medium-high speed. pour into a 9×13 inch baking pan and bake according to cake mix box instructions, increasing time if necessary, until a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
  3. When cake is almost finished baking, combine melted butter, lemon juice, and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. When cake is baked, use a skewer or large fork to poke holes all over hot cake. Pour glaze over cake and let soak into holes. Let cool to room temperature or chill, if desired. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream.


  • *Grandma’s original recipe (and the one some of my family members prefer) uses a small box of Jell-o instead of pudding. They both taste fantastic! The cake texture is different with each, so try it both ways and see what you prefer!

This post is brought to you in partnership with FamilySearch, an organization we have personally used and supported for years.  All opinions are our own, obviously!


  1. After my grandma passed away a few years ago (her name was Norma too), my sister scanned in all of her recipe cards and made them into a family cook book. Each of us sisters got a copy, and I love, love, love being able to pull it out and make the recipes that I most associate with her. It is such a wonderful way to keep that personal connection to my grandma. Someday we hope to do this with my other grandma’s recipe cards (she’s been gone more than 20 years).

  2. Awesome! I love that you shared this here. We’ve participated in the event the last two years, but somehow missed that it was even going on this weekend. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. When you are one holes in the hot cake, is there a trick to not making a mess out of the cake? I’ve tried this process in the past & haven’t had much luck…

  4. I have a very similar recipe of this passed down from my family. Mine calls for lemon jell-o, no milk and a lot less powdered sugar in my recipe. Make it all the time, I like to keep it in the fridge and serve it cold.

  5. I am passionate about handwriting letters, cards and recipes. I have a recipe box I am filling in hopes my daughter will someday appreciate it. When I see my grandma’s hand writing or my dad’s , it is like a familiar scent. I feel learning cursive is still something to value. My cookbooks are gross with stains but someday those stains will make someone think of me……

  6. Any chance we will be seeing the dill dip recipe on Our Best Bites in the near future? My grandmother used to make it and no one in my family has the recipe πŸ™ I love your recipes and blog!!! Thanks!!!

    1. I have a simple dill dip recipe. 1 cup sour cream, one cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip), 1 tsp Beau Monde, 2 Tbsp dried dill weed, or more, to taste. Refrigerate at least 8 hours to let flavors blend.

  7. One of our friends daughter got married about five years ago. For my gift, I sent out a retro invite asking for recipes for her a book. I put them all in a smaller scrapbook and decorated each page to match the recipe. I think she ended up with 3 books. It was a labor of love but she and her husband still love it and use it.

  8. The lemon cake looks amazing! My grandmother passed away in April. While I knew her jewelry would be divided among the girls in the family, that wasn’t what I wanted to remember her by. My most favorite memories are cooking with her in her tiny “one butt” kitchen. The only things I asked for when we were going through her house were her cookbook and sewing box. When I got home with her trusty cookbook, the recipe that was in the front, no longer able to stay attached to the rings in the binder, was the Christmas fruitcake. It was torn and tattered and marked up with her notes from years of use. Its fruitcake, not everyone’s favorite, not easy to make and certainly not a last minute gift. But it is one of the best memories I have of my grandma. From now on when I make it, I will make it in honor of her, even though I know It will never have that special “grandma” flavor to it.

  9. EEEK! Perfect timing, I literally just sent a reply that I would bring a “Lemon Dessert” to a family gathering next week. Next was a quick stop to your website before bed & there is your recipe for Lemon Cake, on the first page, no less! LOVE YOU GUYS!!!! Can you elaborate a bit on the difference in texture between Jello & pudding? I’ve yet to ever taste a dessert that is too sweet, so which might you recommend i try? Thanks for sharing the background for this recipe and keeping it real with the personal info you graciously shared about finding your Mom’s handwritten recipe cards.

  10. There a little typo that says “eat 2 minutes” instead of “beat…” Is the box of lemon jello the same size as the the pudding and do you put it in as though it were pudding in the recipe. I know of an old recipe where you make the jello and put it on top when you poke the holes.

  11. I’m in! I love indexing; it is so cool to look at these old records, census, war, death and marriage certificates… And I’m so excited that you are sharing the information so others can have the opportunity too.

  12. Love, love , love family history! I love the stories that my father tells me of his childhood and of mine. Now let’s see if I can get my family history straight because there are all sorts of things that are missing. Can get quite frustrating!

    I recently did one batch of indexing. It’s such a great thing that’s happening right now. Technology has advanced so much and I’m grateful that we can start finding more people to add to family history.

  13. I saw this post late Saturday night as I was trying to figure out what to serve at a youth indexing event at my house on Sunday night. I loved your description of your grandmother’s hand-written recipe with the side-note from your mom and I thought it would be a perfect dessert for our family history event. I checked my pantry and had all the ingredients and was excited to try the cake. But then I realized that if I was going to serve a family history dessert it should be from MY family history so I made “Grandma Shaw Cookies” that my great-grandmother used to make every time we visited her when I was little. They were a big hit and everyone loved that they were a family history recipe. Thanks for the indirect inspiration! (And I will try the lemon cake soon because I still have all the ingredients. Yea!)

  14. I feel connected thru the idea of saving Moms recipes. I lost my beautiful Mother over 20 yrs ago and I told my siblings “all I care about is one of Moms quilts. her cook book and a Quaker tablecloth I gave her for her dining room table, Well I knew where she stored the old cook book so I got it but no quilt o tablecloth’!!! I treasure that book written so long ago as I am now 80 yrs old, My memories are of her devils food cake she mixed in an old brown ceramic bowl. Thanks for memories from your family member. and your cake recipe

  15. Thank you sharing and keeping your Grandma and Moms beautiful Spirits alive. I have recipe cards with sisters writing who past on 1985 also Moms writiten recipe cards who past on 2009. Ask my Dad who is 86 and still here about 10 years ago while was still to, walk me thru 2 of his recipes step by step. So whenever I make their recipes or just see the recipe cards its like they are makibg it with you and that brings a smile and rekindles special memories.
    Ps I make a lemon cake will try it with milk. Thank you for what to do. God Bless You!!!!!

  16. So I have been wanting to try flavoring your whipped buttercream with freeze dried strawberries (like mentioned in the Harvest Right Freeze Drier post). I was thinking of putting it on a lemon cake and found this post…basically I am wondering if you think using a strawberry whipped buttercream on this cake (probably without the glaze) would turn out alright???

    1. Yep, that would be great (even with the glaze πŸ™‚ . I’d probably still glaze it- maybe cut it in half? And then top with the frosting.

  17. By some miracle, do you know where I can get more of the Hallmark recipe card covers showing on your glazed lemon cake page? I cannot find them anywhere on the internet, and Hallmark has been less than helpful. Thank you so very much!

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