Kirbie's Cravings

5 Ingredient Lemon Crazy Cake (No Eggs, Butter or Milk)

This soft and fluffy lemon flavored cake is called lemon crazy cake because it doesn’t require any eggs, butter or milk but you won’t be able to tell. It tastes just like regular lemon cake but is made with only five ingredients. This is an easy one bowl recipe and you don’t even need an electric mixer to make it.
a slice of lemon cake on a small white plate.

This lemon cake is one of my favorite cake recipes to make right now. It takes only about 15 minutes to prepare the batter and the cake comes out so soft and moist. It’s the perfect easy cake for any upcoming gatherings.

Crazy Lemon Cake

This cake is inspired by Crazy Cake, but it’s not quite the same as the typical Crazy Cake recipe. Crazy Cakes were created during WWII when ingredients like milk, eggs and butter were scarce. Crazy Cake is also known as Depression Cake or Wacky Cake. I’ve shared a few classic Crazy Cakes previously, like Crazy Chocolate Cake.

Crazy Cakes are made without eggs, butter or milk but still maintain a texture like traditional cakes made with eggs butter and milk. Similarly, this lemon cake recipe I’m sharing is made without eggs, butter or milk.

However, Crazy Cakes generally use baking soda and vinegar for the rising agent. The recipe I am sharing today is made with baking powder. After a lot of testing, I found that baking powder gives the cake a better texture. The crumb is a little loose in traditional Crazy Cakes that use baking soda and vinegar, but using baking powder produces a tighter crumb that is still very soft and fluffy.

My recipe also uses self-rising flour, which is all purpose flour that is already mixed with baking powder and salt. This saves some time because you don’t need to measure out those two extra ingredients. If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can still make this cake. You just need to make your own self-rising flour with all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
overhead shot of the frosted cake.


  • Self-Rising Flour
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Lemon juice and zest

Self-Rising Flour: Make sure your self-rising flour is a blend of all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Some countries offer a self-rising flour that uses cake or pastry flour and that won’t work for this cake. If you don’t have self-rising flour, I share how to make your own in the notes section of the recipe card.

Sugar: This cake is sweetened with granular white sugar.

Water: Some people have asked whether they can use milk instead of water for a richer cake. However, using water is actually better. The cake comes out fluffier if you use water.

Oil: I used vegetable oil because it has a very neutral flavor. If you don’t like vegetable oil, you can use other oils like olive oil but you may taste the oil flavor in your cake.

Lemon juice and zest: It’s best to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest. You should only need one medium to large lemon to produce the amount of juice and zest needed for this cake.
close-up shot of a slice of cake.

More Easy Cake Recipes

5 Ingredient Lemon Crazy Cake

Servings: 12 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
This easy lemon flavored cake is soft, fluffy and moist. It doesn't require any eggs, butter or milk and takes only about 15 minutes to prepare.
4.50 from 8 votes


  • 1 3/4 cups (230 g) self-rising flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice plus 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup (237 ml) water


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • (The instructions written here are if you are mixing the batter by hand with a whisk. If you prefer to use an electrix mixer, see notes section for how to mix.) In a large mixing bowl, add self-rising flour and sugar. Whisk until evenly combined. Then perform a quick sift of your mixture by running your whisk rapidly back and forth through the flour until it looks light and powdery.
  • Add in oil, lemon juice and half of the water. Do not add the entire amount of water, otherwise you won't be able to mix your batter. Whisk until your batter is smooth and no flour lumps remain. Once batter is smooth, add in remaining water and whisk again until batter is smooth. Stir in lemon zest.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for about 35-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and the edges of the cake are lightly browned (the surface of the cake will remain pale). Let the cake cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting. If adding frosting, frost cake after it has cooled.


  • This cake has a light lemon flavor. If you want even more lemon flavor, you can add another 1 tbsp of lemon juice or another 1 tsp of lemon zest. Please note that adding more lemon juice will make the cake more tart. 
  • You will need approximately one large lemon for this recipe (though you shouldn't need to use all of it)
  • Vegetable oil can be substituted with other cooking oils like olive oil. See post for more details.
  • If you are using self-rising flour, make sure it is made with all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. A blend using pastry flour or cake flour will not work. Self-rising flours have a shorter expiration date because they contain baking powder. Make sure your flour is not too old.
  • I used Lily's self-rising flour* to make this recipe.
  • *This product link is an affiliate link. This means I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
  • Homemade self-rising flour: To make your own self-rising flour, add 1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 2 and 5/8 tsp baking powder and 7/16 tsp salt to a bowl. Whisk until evenly combined.
  • Electric Mixer: If you want to mix the batter with an electric mixer, you do not need to sift the flour and sugar with a whisk. Add in the flour and sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Then add in the lemon juice, oil and half of the water. Beat on high speed until no lumps remain. Then add in remaining water and lemon zest and beat on medium speed until evenly mixed. 
  • You can double this cake recipe and bake it in a 9 x 13 inch cake pan. If you are doubling the recipe, I highly recommend using an electric mixer.
  • Whipped Cream Frosting: You can frost this cake with whatever your favorite frosting is, but if you want to make the frosting I used, here is the recipe: Add 1 cup of cold heavy cream and 3 tbsp of granular sugar into a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Frost the cake. You can also garnish with additional lemon zest (like I did) after frosting the cake.
  • Nutrition estimate does not include frosting.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 162kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 205mg, Sugar: 16g, NET CARBS: 29

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!


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Recipe Rating

42 comments on “5 Ingredient Lemon Crazy Cake (No Eggs, Butter or Milk)”

  1. Had my grandson make this very easy for him age 11

  2. This is a great tasty and easy cake. It’s fabulous as cupcakes, great texture, yummy flavor (12 each, baked at 350F, 21 minutes)

  3. can I use 1:1 GF flour but if I do how does one manage the
    self rising part of it?

  4. If I double recipe and use 9×13, what is the cooking time? Thanks 

    • We haven’t tested it, so we don’t have an exact time for you but it will need a longer baking time. We recommend starting with the time in the recipe and then check on the cake until a toothpick comes out clean.

  5. This cake was such a hit! I added some blueberries as well. I’m going to make it again with some rose water for a rose lemon cake! I doubled the recipe as well and many time any adjustments to a recipe can ruin the cake, this was still amazing!

  6. I triple checked the measurements, used exact ingredients and it came out nothing like the pictures. Not sure what I did wrong, but it came out heavy and gummy. The flavor was fine. I wanna try it again, but I hate to waste ingredients.

    • It sounds like your flour might be the issue. Even if your flour is not expired, the baking powder in it might no longer be active and working. Have you made other recipes successfully with that flour recently? You could have also added too much flour. Even though I know you said you checked your measurements, many people often make the mistake of not measuring the flour properly. When measuring flour for baking, you must spoon flour into the measuring cup and then level off the top. You can’t directly scoop your measuring cup into the flour because these results in too much flour being added to the recipe.

      • I saw where Angela asked, “and what about the zest, what can I replace that with”? To which the answer was, “there isn’t a great sub for the zest”. My question is… Does the zest need to be used at all? While extra juice would make it more tart, wouldn’t the lack of zest make it a little less lemony? Or would the flavor be too subtle to pick up without the extra bump?

      • Zest does add an extra punch of lemon flavor – you could use lemon extract instead, but we haven’t tested it and can’t say the best amount to use. The cake will still taste good without the zest, but as you mentioned, just a little less lemony. We don’t recommend adding lemon juice instead because that extra liquid will alter the texture of the cake. Hope this helps!

  7. oh my gosh, i followed this recipe exactly (made my self-rising flour with the instructions in notes) and it was AMAZING!! i even got asked what my secret was but my secret is this blog LOL, THANK YOU KIRBIEEEE ?

  8. This cake is wonderful. Question – could you use a sugar substitute instead of sugar? Thank you

  9. I’m going to make this cake soon. Can I use a tube pan, or Bundt pan for this cake or any type pan. Your cake looks so soft n moist, praying mines turns out like this one.

    • We use an 8×8″ pan and haven’t tested it in other pans. If you try a bundt or tube pan, the baking time will need to be adjusted and the cake won’t be very big.

      • Followed the exact recipe with measurements using a scale but the cake turned out clumpy and gummy!
        Not sure if would like to try again. Such a waste of ingredients. 🙁

      • If the cake was clumpy it sounds like it wasn’t mixed enough.

  10. I do a community food hub so I am going to try these. Do you have gluten free versions?

  11. What if I don’t have a lemon, can I use lemon juice and what about the zest, what can I replace that with

  12. 5 Ingredient Lemon Crazy Cake

    – I made this tonight and it looked great coming out, it rose nicely and looked very nice. Looks are deceiving, it was the worst cake i have ever had, I’m sorry, but it was not very good. My b/f said it had no taste (I used the fresh lemon). I can smell the lemon and taste the rind but it has a dough taste even though it is cooked. I think some vanilla or lemon extract may help. Sorry for the bad review.

    • If it tasted like dough you either added too much flour or it didn’t bake long enough. Even if it did rise it does need to bake until lightly browned before the flour is fully baked. Also if you are measuring the flour with measuring cups you need to make sure the flour is spooned into the cup and then leveled off. Some people make the mistake of just using the cup to scoop up flour and then leveing off and that results in overpacking and too much flour being added to the recipe.

  13. Could I replace the oil with unsweetened applesauce?

  14. Can you make this cake with Splenda instead of sugar?

  15. I made it was fantastic my kids loved thanks for this lovely recipe

  16. Can you use a gluten-free flour?

  17. Can you substitute Splenda for sugar, in whole, or part?