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.
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.
- Self-Rising Flour
- 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.
More Easy Cake Recipes
5 Ingredient Lemon Crazy Cake
- 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. I use Lily's self-rising flour. Self-rising flours have a shorter expiration date because they contain baking powder. Make sure your flour is not too old.
- 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.
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.