Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing


It was my friend Clara’s birthday a little while ago, and upon my insistence that I make her a cake, she requested anything with cream cheese icing. I decided to go with a lemon cake because – let’s be honest – lemon is kind of amazing. I wasn’t feeling that well when I made it, so I decided to cheat a little bit and use a box cake. I wanted to try out a suggestion to use carbonated pop (instead of the oil, eggs, and milk) because there is really no good egg replacer for box cake. I’ve tried. It’s not pretty. There were a few little issues with it, but overall it worked ok, and it tasted great.


Swirly lemon cake!

For the cupcakes, I used a full box of cake mix – it had been sitting at my house for a while now, so it was nice to finally use it – with about 280mL of sprite. I also added a tsp. of lemon extract, which didn’t really go through all that well, so I’d increase that next time.


  • 1 8-oz package of cream cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 – 2.5 cups icing sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • pinch of salt


  1. Beat butter at medium speed until soft.
  2. Add cream cheese (I usually warm it slightly) to butter, and mix until creamy.
  3. Add icing sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, and salt, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add icing sugar or milk as needed to soften/thicken the icing.


I also had a birthday to attend, so I made cupcakes!

Because there is no fat, the final product was SUPER light and fluffy. The cupcakes worked beautifully, but the cake didn’t hold together as well as I wanted. Part of my decoration choice was that I wouldn’t have been able to hold a spatula to the cake without it tearing off chunks. I got a bit lazy with the decorating and didn’t let the icing cool enough, but it worked out reasonably well. I find that cream cheese icing is always kind of runny, so I usually have to refrigerate it for a little while. I feel like the pop trick definitely works for cupcakes, but it’s a little bit sketchier for cake. I may have just gotten the proportions wrong, but I’ll probably stick to scratch cake. 

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