Mix yeast and warm water until dissolved.
Combine cake mix, salt and flour in a large bowl.
Add yeast mixture and vanilla to cake mixture. Mix well. This may require kneading with your hands a bit to completely combine ingredients.
Cover tightly with plastic. Let rise for one hour. Punch down and let rise again for another 30-60 minutes.
Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll one half of dough into a rectangle shape, approximately 1/4” thick.
Once dough is rolled out, brush with half of softened butter.
Combine white sugar, lemon zest and pudding mix in a bowl stirring until well combined.
Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over buttered dough.
Starting at end opposite from you, roll the dough towards you until all dough is rolled into one long piece.
Slice dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Place 12 rolls into a 13x9 inch pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Repeat process with remaining dough to make the second pan of lemon rolls.
Cover with plastic and let both pans rise until almost doubled in size, approximately 30 minutes. Don't worry if rolls don't completely double in size, they will continue to rise while baking.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake at 350°F for 15-25 minutes or until lightly brown.
While rolls are baking, prepare your frosting.
Remove from oven and either frost immediately if you would like frosting to melt into rolls, or wait until rolls have cooled, then frost.
Beat cream cheese, softened butter and lemon extract in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix until well combined. Add in your confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add in three tablespoons milk, and mix until very well combined.
Store rolls in refrigerator.