Lemon Cake Bars

These Lemon Cake Bars have a tart and sweet lemon curd on top of my favorite sponge cake recipe.  I love the sponge cake instead of the traditional shortbread cookie that is the base for most lemon bars.  For more cookie bars, try my Dream Bars or Chocolate Caraml Crunch Bars. 

SIS my Simple is Smart Tip for Lemon Cake Bars:

Use instant clear jel as the thickener for the lemon curd.  The clear jel thickens the lemon curd before you bake the lemon topping.  The clear jel ensures the lemon curd topping will set up and not runny. 

Bonus SIS Tip: Wipe off the knife after each cut across the pan to make nice square bars. 

Lemon Cake Bars


Sponge Cake:

Cake Flour:  Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. Protein is what becomes gluten when liquids are added.  If you don’t have cake flour remove a teaspoon of the flour with cornstarch.

Baking Powder:  A leavening agent.

Salt:  Salt balances out the flavor of sweets. 

Eggs: Holds the cookies together and  gives them a little lift. 

Sugar: The brown and white sugar sweeten the cookie and help keep it moist and soft. 

Lemon Extract:  Adds a little tartness to the bottom layer. 

Butter:  You can use either salted or unsalted butter for extra richness. 

Cream of Tarter: acts as a leavening agent. 

Lemon Topping

Sugar:  counteracts the tartness of the lemon juice.

Clear jel:  Thickener that thickens both hot and cold liquids. 

Eggs: Thickening and a binding agent. 

Lemon Juice:  Give the topping that delicious lemony tartness. 



Make the Lemon Sponge Cake: 

  • Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Sift the baking powder, salt, and cake flour together.  Set aside. 
  • Beat the egg yolks for three minutes with a mixer.  Add 1 tbsp of the sugar and beat for five more minutes
  • Beat in the lemon and vanilla and set asides. 
  • Stir in the flour by hand the mixture is very thick, like cookie dough. 
  • Add the melted butter. 
  • In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with the cream of tarter until stiff peaks form. 
  • Fold the egg whites into the thick batter 1/3 at a time until incorporated. 
  • Make a parchment sling for the bottom of a 9 X 9-inch pan. Add the Cake batter. 
  • Bake for ten minutes.  The cake should be set and golden brown on top. 

Made the Lemon Curd:

  • Mix the clear jel with the sugar.  If you don’t have clear jel, use 3 Tbsp. of flour instead. 
  • Add the lemon juice and whisk in. 
  • Poke holes in the sponge cake with a chopstick and pour the lemon curd topping over the spongecake. 
  • Bake 325 degrees for 24 minutes or until the center, is set.
  • Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.  
  • Dust with powdered sugar, cut into bars and serve. 
Lemon Cake Bars

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Lemon Cake Bars

These Lemon Cake Bars feature a sponge cake crust instead of the traditional shortbread crust. The sponge cake layer is topped with sweet and tangy lemon curd the is baked to perfection and dusted with powdered sugar.
Servings 12 bars
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 9 X 9-inch cake pan
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  • To see the ingredient amounts in metric units, click the blue "METRIC:" button between the ingredients and the instructions for this recipe.


Sponge Cake Bottom

  • ¼ cup cake flour (30g)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large egg separated
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • tbsp melted batter
  • ¼ tsp cream of tarter
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Lemon Topping

  • cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp instant clear jel
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup lemon juice


Sponge Cake Crust

  • Preheat Oven to 350°C (170°F)
  • Sift the cake flour with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat the 2 egg yolk for 3 minutes with a hand mixer.
  • Add 1 tbsp of the sugar and beat for 5 more minutes.
  • Beat in the vanilla and lemon extract.
  • Sift the flour mixture into the batter and stir in by hand. The mixture will be thick. Stir just until there are no more white flecks.
  • Add in the melted butter.
  • In a separate clean bowl. Beat the 2 egg white with the cream of tarter until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
  • Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
  • Make a parchment sling for the bottom of the 9 X 9-inch (For how watch the video). Spray the pan with non-stick spray.
  • Add the Sponge cake batter to the pan.
  • Bake 350°F (170°C) for about 10 minutes. The cake should be golden and set. Place on a rack to cool. Turn the oven temperature down to 325°C.

Make the Lemon Curd Topping

  • Mix the clear jel with the sugar.(see notes)
  • Add the eggs and whisk in.
  • Add the lemon juice and whisk in until completely combined.
  • Pour over the sponge cake bottom layer.
  • Bake at 325°F for 22-26 minutes until the center is set.
  • Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.
  • Dust the cooled lemon cake bars with powdered sugar.
  • Use the sling to remove the cake from the pan and cut it into 12 pieces. To keep the bars square. Clean the knife between cuts.



If you don't have the Instant Clear Jel use 3 tbsp of flour instead. 
Bars are best if chilled overnight before serving. 
Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Cut the cooled bars (without confectioners' sugar topping) into squares, then place them onto a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap and put it in a large bag or freezer container to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator, then dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Calories: 111kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon bars, lemon dessert


Serving: 1cake bar | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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