Lemony Melt-Away Bars

Lemon Bars

Call me a snob but I never thought I’d post a recipe for a dessert that used a boxed cake mix. At least never until I tasted my sister-in-law’s “Melt Away Bars”.

There are many “Melt Away Bar” recipes I’ve made  through the years, but Susanne’s version is different and takes the cake. I’ve been invited to an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday and these bars would be the perfect treat to bring.

“You could use lemon cake mix and it’s lemony. You could use German chocolate mix and it’s chocolaty. You don’t need to tell people it came out of a box,” said Susanne, as I nibbled on my second bar.

I had to have this easy recipe but I was alarmed at the list of ingredients on the box of the yellow cake mix she used. I don’t put too many restrictions on my diet except for one cardinal rule: Avoid highly processed food.

I realize most every food product purchased in a traditional retail food environment is processed on some level, so “highly” is  the operative word.

I wondered if I’d have the same results using an organic cake mix that uses half of those unpronounceable ingredients? I decided  on Arrowhead Mills Organic Vanilla mix. I’ve also seen other organic cake mixes  at many other groceries in town.

These turned out to be so easy and simply delicious – I personally preferred the more toothsome texture and flavor of these organic mix bars. Better yet, they freeze well and will still be as yummy, refrigerated, for Saturday’s  Easter Egg hunt.

I (smugly) told Susanne about my switch. Her response? “Come on, Peggy. What do you plan to do about the sugar and butter?” Spoiler.

Recipe: Lemon Bars


  • 1 box (18-20 ounces) yellow or vanilla cake mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice (zest reserved)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Oil or butter for greasing baking dish

Ingredients for top layer

  • 1 pound, less 2 tablespoons, confectioners sugar (reserve tablespoons for sprinkling)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine cake mix, butter, lemon juice and eggs. Wet fingers and press mixture into the bottom of a greased 13X9X2-inch glass baking dish. (Don’t be alarmed if mixture is slightly lumpy and firm. Keep wetting fingers and pressing into baking dish.)
  3. In another mixing bowl, with an electric beater, combine confectioners sugar, cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs and lemon zest; beat until creamy. Pour mixture evenly over cake.
  4. Bake on middle rack of oven 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Refrigerate until ready to cut into 2 1/2-inch by 1-inch bars.

Active Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 30-40 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 24-30 bars

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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