Add Some Citrus To Boxed Cake Mix For A Delicious Zing

We've all experienced the desire to have a homemade dessert at the snap of our fingertips. With consistently busy work weeks and day-to-day obligations, most of us have little time and energy to get our hands dirty in the kitchen. Thanks to prepackaged baking mixes, however, we've all been able to enjoy partially homemade confections over the years. Yet, next to following package directions and looking up specific boxed cake mix recipes, how else can home chefs amp up the flavor profile of their next boxed cake?

Apart from adding in your favorite flavor extract or making a homemade filling layer of whipped cream or fruit, a simple and convenient way to elevate boxed cake is with a little citrus zest. Add a bit of orange, lemon, or lime zest to any basic yellow or vanilla cake mix. Before we uncover the ways to transform your next boxed cake with citrus, let's talk about a few essential tips to remember when adding hints of this bright fruit variety to any cake mix and which flavor pairings are most recommended.

How to choose the right flavor and amount of citrus for your next boxed cake

The good news about adding lemon, lime, or orange to boxed cakes is that these flavors meld together with many other ingredients in the food world. Nowadays, you may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of packaged cake varieties available in grocery stores. Yet, as long as you choose versatile flavors like chocolate, vanilla, coconut, or butter cake, the extra effort you put forth in adding citrus zest or juice will stand out against the backdrop of these delicate flavors. Even though, for example, lime pairs well with strawberry and orange pairs well with chocolate, try to avoid choosing boxed mixes that already tout a very specific flavor profile, such as German chocolate or carrot cake. The taste of tangy citrus fruit may get lost in the complex flavor of specified mixes.

Since part of the overarching goal here is to learnĀ how to make boxed cake taste homemade, now that you're aware of the right flavor pairings, you also want to make sure you don't overdo the amount of citrus you add. Adding zest is a great place to start, but if you want more tang, substitute some of the recommended water in your cake with citrus juice. If you're worried about adding too much of a good thing, stick to zest and save that precious juice to make a delicious cake frosting or glaze.

Elevate your boxed cake even more with a zesty topping

Now that you've imparted a tangy bite to your boxed cake, you may as well use any leftover juice to make a citrus-tinged frosting to top off this one-of-a-kind dessert. If you're open to making a thinner sauce for drizzling, make a topping similar to that in a citrus and sea salt Greek yogurt cake. All you need to do is whisk together any leftover citrus juice and powdered sugar. For a thicker glaze, use more powdered sugar and less liquid.

If you are up for making traditional American buttercream frosting, you can substitute citrus juice for the recommended milk, along with any leftover zest. Even though you can also add a bit of juice to storebought frosting, more often than not, you'll have to add in some extra powdered sugar to avoid your frosting from thinning out too much. To give canned frosting a low-effort, citrus-friendly boost, mix in some lemon curd or orange marmalade instead. All in all, there are plenty of ways you can use citrus zest and juice to give your next boxed cake a bright and flavorful upgrade.