For my 33rd birthday, I decided to jazz up a boxed cake mix. I was short on time but I wanted something lemon, something maple. The result was pure decadence. A lemon cake worthy of a birthday, an evening by the fire, or a breakfast treat to indulge in.
I chose my boxed cake mix because I have been dying to try baking with Almond Flour (which can be very expensive) and because it contained only six simple ingredients, free of my food allergens: Almond Flour, Organic Coconut Sugar, Arrowroot Powder, Organic Coconut Flour, Baking Soda, and Sea Salt).
No one missed the allergens. No one had a clue the cake was allergen-free. It was seriously delish.
#AllergicToEverythingⓇ Lemon Cake with Maple Buttercream Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 box of yellow cake mix, like Simple Mills Almond Flour Yellow Cake, see link in notes (plus the ingredients your mix calls for check your box, mine required the following)
- 3 Flax Eggs (mix 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons of warm water), see additional notes on egg replacers at the end of the recipe
- 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
- 1/3 cup water**
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons lemon extract
- 1 lemon rind, grated
- 1 1/2 lemons, juiced**
- Note: **I juiced the lemons and used the liquid to replace the water that the cake mix called for. When I ran out of lemon juice I topped it off with water to get the full 1/3 cup of liquid.
- 1 stick of butter, at room temperature (save the wrapper to grease your pan)
- 5 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon half and half,milk, or a dairy-free alternative
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2-3 cups corn-free powdered sugar, try the Trader Joe’s brand
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- mixing bowl
- a grater or zester
- a 9-inch cake pan
- parchment paper (to line the baking dish or cake pan)
- a toothpick
- a cooling rack
- a pretty plate or tray for serving and decorating on
Preheat the oven to 350º, or the temperature your cake mix specifies.
Make your cake according to the box of instructions. Stir in the lemon extract and lemon rind. If your cake mix requires water, you can replace all or part of it with lemon juice for an extra kick.
Line your baking dish with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan to make removal easier. Pour in the cake batter and smooth it to form an even layer.
Bake according to the instructions on your cake mix, I bake mine for 30 mins at 350º. Prick the center of the cake with a toothpick, if it comes out clean the cake can be removed from the oven. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan, allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cake is baking prepare the frosting by combining the butter and cream cheese in a mixing box. If they are not quite at room temperature, nook them quickly in the microwave. You don’t want to melt them but the mixture will be smoother if the cheese and butter are at room temperature.
Add the maple syrup, vanilla, half and half, and lemon juice (optional) to the cream cheese – butter mixture. Stir well. Add two cups of powdered sugar and a pinch of salt, mix thoroughly. If the mixture is too wet continue adding powdered sugar until it is thick enough to frost with. If it is too thick, add more half and half, one teaspoon at a time. Give the frosting a taste. If it is too sweet you can add more cream cheese, just make sure it is room temperature when you do. Set the frosting aside until the cake has cooled completely.
Place the completely cooled cake on a platter or pretty plate; I sliced my cake into two pieces first and filled the center with a layer of the frosting to create a layered cake. Frost it with a spatula and sprinkle the cake with the unsweetened shredded coconut and pecan pieces.
Clean up the sides of the plate with a paper towel for a finishing touch.
- Use any allergen-free boxed cake mix or whip up the base of the cake from scratch. The almond flour in the cake mix I chose created a texture that brown rice flours don’t give you, it was lovely. This is the cake mix I used: Simple Mills Vanilla Cupcake & Cake Mix.
- I am in love with Bourbon Vanilla. When I am lucky I am able to find it at Trader Joe's.
- If you need lemon extract, this one is very yummy.
- I use ground flaxseed as my egg replacer. To replace one egg, all you do is combine one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with two tablespoons of warm water. My mix required three eggs so I used 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and 6 tablespoons of warm water. This is the flax I use: Spectrum Essentials Organic Ground Flaxseed. I prefer the nutritional properties and texture of the flax but you can also use egg replacers like Ener G Egg Replacer.
- Next time I will add a capful of apple cider vinegar (about a teaspoon), I think it would have helped the cake rise better. When replacing more than two eggs it is a good idea to throw in the vinegar, it will react with the baking soda to fluff things up a bit more. My go-to is the raw version, with the mother: Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Out of maple syrup? Try a splash of espresso or a teaspoon of instant coffee instead to create a rich, luxurious frosting. I buy my maple syrup on Amazon to save money. I like the dark, robust flavored ones. Coombs Family Farms and Hidden Springs Organic Vermont Maple Syrup are both excellent.
- Allergic to corn? Make sure to buy powdered sugar made with tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. You can often buy it at Trader Joes or at Wholefoods. Here is a good tapioca confectioners sugar by Wholesome Sweeteners Inc.
- Try topping the cake with matcha for to add a splash of nature-like color. Or mix in a little beet juice to get a natural pink color. This is the matcha I like, I buy it on Amazon, Jade Leaf Matcha Green Tea Powder.
- Sprinkle with any chopped nuts you have stashed in your pantry.
- Be creative, use what you have, enjoy the process.
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