Many believe that a boxed lemon cake always tastes like a box cake, no matter what you do to it. Yet lemon cake mixes contain the same dry ingredients as cakes made from scratch, such as flour, baking soda and sugar. Jazzing up a lemon cake mix requires little additional work, and makes room for lot of creativity, as lemon cake mixes provide a versatile foundation.

Things You'll Need

Read the box directions and preheat the oven to the appropriate temperature.

Open the box mix and place the contents into a large mixing bowl. Add eggs to the dry ingredients. Either use oil as directed or substitute melted butter.

Substitute milk and/or lemon juice for water. Consider using lemon-lime soda for part of the required liquid. Milk makes a denser cake.

Add a 1/4 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of flour and a teaspoon of baking powder. Mix a teaspoon of lemon or vanilla extract into the batter. If you used mostly lemon juice, use two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. Otherwise, add two teaspoons of lemon extract.

Zest a lemon with a fine grater or microplane. Reserve 1/4h of the zest for the icing or topping. Stir the rest into the batter.

Combine all the ingredients with a large spoon or mixer.

Pour the batter into a greased baking pan and bake according to the directions on the box.

Mix the rest of the lemon zest and a teaspoon of vanilla into the icing. You can make your own or spice up store-bought icing. Spread onto the cooled cake.


  • You can add 1/2 cup of sour cream to the batter.

  • To make a moist lemon desert cake, add an additional 1-1/3 cups of water and/or lemon juice as well as two packets of instant lemon pudding. Mix and bake. Top with powdered sugar instead of frosting.