Cake Mix Doctor: Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Brownies may be Americans’ favorite bar cookie, but in the South lemon bars are pretty high on the list. With a cookie layer on the bottom and a lemon custard filling on top, they are sheer perfection to eat and suitable most any time of the year. Be sure to read the directions carefully as you need to set aside a little of the cake mix to whisk into the lemon filling. Let the bars cool completely and they will be easier to slice. And to make the bars look their best, dust confectioners’ sugar over the top before serving.

For the crust:

  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg

For the lemon filling:

  • 2 large lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar (optional), for dusting the top

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Set aside an ungreased 13 by 9–inch metal baking pan.

Make the crust:

  • Measure 2 tablespoons of cake mix and set it aside for the lemon filling.
  • Place the remaining cake mix, pudding mix, melted butter, and 1 egg in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  • Process until the mixture comes together into a ball, 15 to 20 pulses.
  • Place the crust mixture in the baking pan and press it over the bottom and ¼ inch up the sides.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust until it turns golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the lemon filling:

  • Rinse and pat 1 lemon dry with a paper towel, then grate the yellow zest from the lemon onto a plate; you should have about 2 teaspoons.
  • Cut both lemons in half and squeeze the juice through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds and pulp.
  • Measure ½ cup of lemon juice.
  • Place the 4 eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the reserved cake mix in the same food processor bowl that was used to make the crust (no need to wash the bowl or the steel blade) and process the filling until creamy, 10 to 12 pulses.

When the crust is baked:

  • pour the filling over it and return the pan to the oven.
  • Bake the bars until the filling sets, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the bars cool for 30 minutes.
  • Dust the top with the confectioners’ sugar, if desired, then cut the bars and serve.

Keep It Fresh! Store the bars in the pan, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to three days. Freeze the bars in the pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to one month. Let the bars thaw on the kitchen counter overnight before serving.

The Cake Mix Doctor Says
Make lime bars by using grated fresh lime zest and freshly squeezed lime juice in place of the lemon. For a twist, add ¼ cup of sweetened flaked coconut to the crust.
makes: 30 bars prep: 20 minutes bake: 45 to 55 minutes cool: 30 minutes


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