vegetable oil spray for misting the pan 1 package (18.25 oz size) lemon cake mix with pudding 1 stick butter, slightly softened 3/4 cup milk 2 large eggs 1 package (8 ounce size) cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 13X9 baking pan and set aside.
Place the cake mix in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into teaspoon size pieces and add to the mix. With two sharp knives, cut the butter into the cake mix until the mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture for the topping.
Add the milk and eggs to the remaining mix, and blend on low speed of the electric mixer 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and blend 1 minute longer. Turn batter into the prepared pan.
In a clean bowl, place the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Blend on low speed with mixer 30 seconds. Drop this mixture by teaspoons over cake batter, and with a rubber spatula, smooth the teaspoons together to create a top layer.
Add the pecans, if desired to the reserved topping, and sprinkle this evenly over the top of the batter. Bake 35-40 minutes until done. Cool before cutting.
Note: If desired, top with a glaze made by combining 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a little milk to moisten after the cake has cooled.