Not Chocolate Cake Lemon Bars

Not Chocolate Cake Lemon Bars?

What the what?

Why would you…chocolate…lemon…what is happening?

Keep reading, my babies…

When I was newly married and discovered my MIL loved pies/cakes/cookies almost as much as I did, I baked for her every chance I got. 

For years, she ooohed and awwwwed over the different chocolate cakes I made her for her birthday, until one day, maybe 20 years in, she revealed, ‘I don’t like chocolate cake.”


I asked her why she hadn’t told me earlier, like 19 years earlier. 

She didn’t want to hurt my feelings. 

Sweetest MIL ever, right?

I felt absolutely awful that I had made her a cake she wasn’t fond of for so many years (and she’d eat it with seeming glee – you know, like the best actress who ever acted!).

A mother’s love (even a mother-in-law’s love) is powerful, y’all!

It’s still a running joke when her birthday rolls around. 

“I’ll bring the cake.  Chocolate, right?”

Oh, how we laugh and then she prays I’m joshing with her.

Since that revelation, I have made all kinds of things for her in place of chocolate cake.

One year, for Mother’s Day, I made a Lemon Bars – Paula Deen – recipe (no, I’m not trying to kill her with butter).

It was the hit of the year.

Not one was left over and can you blame her?

Look at ’em:

not chocolate cake lemon bars

They are lemony sweet with a butter cookie reminiscent crust. In one word: amazing.

Since that fateful Mother’s Day, she has requested the lemon bars more than anything else I have ever baked for her.

That filling! Oy – you’ll wanna eat it with a spoon.

Note: I changed one small detail in the recipe:

The recipe calls for room temperature butter, but that seemed a little to soft to me, so the only modification I made to the recipe was using the butter before it reached room temperature, while it was still cool, yet not cold. 

I couldn’t imagine making a crumbly mixture with room-temp butter. 

The crust turned out just fine.

My MIL loved/s these bars; they are, hands down, her absolute favorites.

I know because I asked her, as she was licking her fingers and wiping powdered sugar off her shirt. No acting necessary.

She gave me an OMGOODNESS eye-roll with a YES! smile. 

Ahhh, that’s what I was looking for!

Doesn’t hurt that this is an easy lemon bar recipe.

If you’re a new baker – I think you can handle it!

If you know someone who isn’t a fan of chocolate cake (it still shocks me to even write those words), try offering them a Paula Deen Lemon Bar.


If you can’t win them over with a bite of these, I got nothing else to offer you.

not chocolate cake lemon bars

Happy Baking, Y’all!

Not Chocolate Cake Lemon Bars

Not Chocolate Cake Lemon Bars

Yield: 16 bars


  • CRUST:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan.
  3. Make the crust by combining the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioners' sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.


  1. Mix the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon juice.
  2. Pour this over the baked crust and bake for 25 minutes longer.
  3. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired, when the bars are done.


The recipe calls for room temperature butter, but that seemed a little to soft to me, so the only modification I made to the recipe was using the butter before it reached room temperature, while it was still cool, yet not cold.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 311 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 77mg Sodium: 118mg Carbohydrates: 47g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 32g Protein: 4g
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  1. Yum! I love anything that involve lemons. Its the tartiness and the lemon fragrance that I love. This recipe looks scrumptious! I must try it. Thank you for sharing. 😀

  2. What a sweet mother-in-law. It’s terrible that mils get such a bad name. I think there are just as many sweet stories like this as there are bad ones. And what a sweet dil you were to try so hard to please your mil. I love the story as much as the recipe, which also looks great. Thanks.

  3. Yum! While I love all things chocolate those do look delicious!

  4. Wasn’t quite sure that I would like this when I first read “Not Chocolate” LOL But lemon is my second favorite and these look delicious! I too have a GREAT relationship with my mil! Part of who I am today is because of her. Thanks so much for a great post! Deb –

  5. Love, love, love lemon bars. Of course, I love all things chocolate too and what a nice relationship you must have with your MIL. 🙂 Stopping by from Say it Saturday.

  6. You had me at lemons, these looks so refreshing and tasty. I’d love it if you would share this at my Saturday Spotlight link party.

    Hope to see you there!

    Angels Homestead

  7. This story cracked me up. Makes me think of the time my Grandmother-in-law forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie and I didn’t mention it. Her other grandkids did and she said, ‘you ate it?” (I didn’t but she thought I did).
    Lemons Bars is something I’ve been wanting to try. Pinned to try soon.

  8. Danielle says:

    Hey! these look super good! 🙂 Followed you over from a link party tonight! I see you often here & there and love your blog, by the way! Have a great week!

  9. I would always choose the lemon over chocolate.

  10. These look delicious. Your MOI sounds very sweet, you’re lucky, mine would have never been that thoughtful. She must really care about you. I’m happy these aren’t in front of me, I would have to break my diet.

  11. These look so good!! I love lemon anything. Can’t wait to try them.

  12. Mouth watering! Thanks for the great recipe! stopping by from Adorned from aboves blog hop.

  13. ingrid@nowathomemom says:

    looks delicious! so good for this summer, thank you for sharing the recipe with us! beautiful picture too! 🙂 Ingrid

  14. What a funny story about the chocolate cake. 20 years is a long time to fake liking it! I’m glad MIL likes the lemon bars. Personally, I love chocolate cake. And, I love lemon bars. 😉
    Kim @ Curtain Queen

  15. Marcia @Gathering at the Table says:

    Of course I went for the lemon first. 🙂 My favorite.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Stopping by via Linda’s.

  16. LOL! I am glad you both joke about it now. I do remember how good lemon bars taste and these look so good! Thanks for linking up with us SIS’ers 🙂

  17. These look delicious! I’m featuring them on Terrific Tuesdays.

  18. You made me so hungry… I featured you on The mommy Club Link Up tonight! CONGRATS!

  19. Lisa@ Cooking with Curls says:

    lol…that is too funny! I love both, it just depends on my mood. 🙂 These lemon bars look absolutely delicious!!

  20. These lemon bars look terrific! No wonder your MIL loved them. Pinned!

  21. I love everything lemon but I have been craving lemon bars lately. As soon as I saw your pin I knew I needed to add the ingredients to my grocery list asap! Can’t wait to try it!

  22. That story is hysterical! Thank you for sharing it. 🙂 And those lemon bars look amazing. My husband does not love chocolate. At all. He does love lemon bars though… I’ll have to try these soon. I pinned them for later! 🙂

    We’re neighbors at TFT this week! Glad I stopped in!


  23. These look amazing. I love lemon cake so I know I’ll love these as well. TFS with OMHGWW

  24. I’m personally a fan of lemony goodness! This recipe looks terrific!
    Now, my MIL, while loving and well meaning, was the polar opposite of yours. I was so proud of myself one year (after I, myself, was a mother too) when I invited her and my own mom to breakfast at my house. Then, I presented them both with a box of premium chocolates. My mother was delighted, but dear MIL? She screeched out, “OH NO! I JUST STARTED A DIET!” Yikes. I still feel the sting – 30 years later!

  25. Lemon bars one of my favorite treats. Found you on Grandma’s Brief Link Party.

  26. YUM! Give me all the lemon things!! These look incredible!

  27. What a sweet MIL- not like chocolate cake? But these lemon bars look scrumptious, I love lemon bars and have never made them homemade, Pinning to try. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday, see you next week.

  28. when her son was in college and grad school, my mother in law (who hated to cook) sent him homemade brownies on a regular basis. He hated them–gave them away to dorm mates. He doesn’t like chocolate. MIL has passed on but unfortunately, I can’t use your “lesson learned” on her son. He also dislikes lemon. But I love it. I may have to treat myself to those lemon bars–just wish they had a tad less butter..

  29. What a lovely story about your MIL! And what lovely lemon bars. They look irresistible! Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope to see you again this week. Have a lovely week ahead!


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