Two-Ingredient Lemon Bars…Sort Of!

This post is not how I plan for my baking posts to go.  This is a good recipe that needed tweaking so when you get to the end you can read my ideas of what I would/will do differently.

This recipe jumped out at me for two reasons when I first found it on Pinterest: it was lemon flavoured and it only took two ingredients.  (Two ingredients I didn’t have mind you!).  I used two sites for this recipe.  The Pinterest link took me to an altered version of the recipe (here) but I wanted to start with true original (here).

It took me all of about five minutes to decide to make this recipe.  I needed two ingredients: angel food cake mix and canned lemon pie filling.  I have NEVER seen canned lemon pie filling but I know how to make it from a mix (that we likely had in the house) so all I needed was an angel food cake mix.  Well we definitely didn’t have any, but would a white cake mix suffice?…Sure it would!  Off I went!

My Cast of Characters

Obviously because I was making the lemon pie filling my recipe was a tad longer than two ingredients.  My recipe was more like 5 ingredients (white cake mix, lemon pie filling powder, egg yolks, water and butter).   I simply followed the instructions on the pie filling box.

Once the pie filling was finished cooking I placed it on the deck (the natural refrigerator) to cool.  While it was cooling I greased and floured my 9″ x 13″ pan.  The recipe didn’t call for this but I know how well cakes release from un-greased cake pans and I wasn’t willing to let this experiment go down in a crumbly mess.

This is the point where the recipe matches up with the original.  I opened the cake mix and poured it into a large bowl, followed by the lemon pie filling.  The original recipe asked for one can of pie filling while the second recipe added two cans.  I figured I was adding what amounted to about two cans of pie filling (I was okay with more lemon flavour).

Pie Filling/Cake Mix

My oven was preheating to 350 degrees as I stirred the cake mix and pie filling together.  I was a little sceptical about how it was going to come together but there seemed to be a perfect amount of liquid to dry ingredients.

I poured the batter into the pan and spread it out to all corners (the mixture was quiet thick and sticky) and slid it into the oven for the recommended 20 minute bake time.

Cake in the Oven

After about 20 minutes I checked on the cake and it was still quite glossy looking on top and an inserted toothpick came out quite moist.  I added an additional 5 minutes and was pleased with how it looked and removed it to the counter to cool.

Cooling Cake

After a few minutes of cooling I sifted icing sugar (oops…ingredient number 6) over the top (to pretty it up) as recommended in the original recipe.  It sure stepped up the visual appeal and I must say the aroma was to die for!

Icing Sugar Decorations

As soon as I could, I cut a few squares to taste test and to model.  Taste testing went swimmingly – YUM!  Artsy photography not so much (I’m working on it – natural light is difficult to locate).

I chose to place these delicately lemon treats on my good set of dishes.  This is the first time I have broken out my set of good China and I am pleased to see I love it as much now as I did when I picked it out at 16.

Set for Tea

I debated whether or not to post this recipe as it didn’t 100% win me over but I need the practice writing so here we are.  Please bear with me while I nit-pick for a moment.

I deviated from the recipe by choosing white cake mix rather than angel food cake (which could be the main problem).  I imagine the angel food cake would lighten up the consistency of the recipe but not overly change in entirely.  The cake ended up quite moist and dense which I can tolerate but resulted in me not really wanting to make this recipe again.  I believe by adding the entire lemon pie filling it overwhelmed the cake and resulted in a dense cake that was almost too moist.  The title of this post and of the original recipe refer to the resulting lemon concoction as a square.  The fact that I cut this into square pieces is about all that makes it a square to me versus a lemon cake.

What would I do differently next time?  I would cut the amount of pie filling down by about a half.  I would be tempted to use the white cake mix still as the flavour combinations seemed to work.  I would consider making a Graham Cracker crust and using the same amount of batter but spreading it over two 9″ x 13″ pans to create two thinner cake.  I think the thinner profile and crust would make this into a perfect dessert square.   I also considered mixing in poppy seeds which would give it a little more visual appeal.  (I haven’t had any outsider feedback so this could just be me being overly critical.)

This recipe is tasty and I think would venture to try it again with some minor adjustments!

If you have tried this recipe please leave me a message and let me know how it turned out.

Jewels, My Baking Assistant...Being Very Helpful! Zzzz...