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
- Beat butter at medium speed until soft.
- Add cream cheese (I usually warm it slightly) to butter, and mix until creamy.
- Add icing sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, and salt, and mix thoroughly.
- 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.