National Lemon Juice Day

Ah, yes! When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! I love citrus fruit, including lemons, so lemonade is a fave beverage. And yet, it must be true lemon juice, and not the sugary substitutes. Same goes when making anything from chicken piccata to lemon meringue pie.

Throughout my childhood in Goffstown, New Hampshire, I was bountifully blessed with family and friends who were mahhhhvelously commendable cooks! Among the vast catalog of fabulous food-related memories reigned a Lemon Sponge Dessert, which was often made by one of Mom’s dear friends, Mary Ella Jones. (She and her husband, Clark, were active in our church and ran a delightful antique business in their barn near the traffic circle in town.) This is the recipe, written on a 3×5 card by Mary Ella Jones back in the 1960’s.

Lemon Sponge Dessert

Make recipe in Betty Crocker cookbook for sponge cake.

Bake in long rectangular angel cake pan.

When cool, cut lengthwise into 3 layers.

Put the lemon filling (below) between the layers and also on all sides.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lemon Filling:

1 box French’s lemon pie filling mix

2 ½ c water

½ c sugar

Cook slowly until thickened. Fold into 1 pint heavy cream that has been whipped.

The only note I had written on the recipe card was the word “Awesome!”


That said, while it’s melt-in-your-mouth yumminess is undeniable, I prefer more flavor and less sugar. So, in my usual manner of never making a recipe as originally written, I made a few adjustments. I use only 2 T sugar, and I use coconut sugar or monk fruit now, rather than cane sugar.

Further, and making this a perfect dessert for National Lemon Juice Day, I substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice for ½ c of the water. So, overall, make or buy any sponge or angel cake in any shape, and cut in 3 horizontal layers. Use the lemon meringue mix of your choosing. And yes, while you can use a pre-made item such as Cool Whip, real whipped cream is the absolute best! I also like to grate a little bit of fresh lemon peel on top for decoration.

If you are a fan of family favorite recipes or my Super Simple renditions on all sorts of incredible edibles, you can check out the Archives on my website. Unfortunately, while I have published a list of recipes in my 9 (and counting) cookbooks, I do not (yet) have an organized list of where to find the freebies that I have posted over the past 10+ years. The easiest way is to check the articles’ Categories list… look in the groups including: Super Simple Is Key, Tastebud Travels, Incredible Edibles, Party Themes & Schemes, and Bubbly Makes the World Go ‘Round. Lots of “yumminess” lives there!

(The photo is one I took of one of Mary Ella Jones’ Lemon Sponge Desserts.)

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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