This Citrus Cake with Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting is a refreshing treat for spring! With tangy lemons, limes and oranges in both the cake AND the frosting, it’s a cake recipe that you’ll want to make over and over.
I’d been itching to bake but I just couldn’t decide what to bake. I discovered a box of yellow cake mix in my pantry (yes, this is sort of a cheater recipe) and realized it needed to be used. With spring finally here I’ve been craving fresh citrus flavors so I decided to work that into this cake.
Let me tell you, it turned out amazing! It’s got a fresh burst of citrusy flavor, but not enough to be tart or sour. The cake is moist and light thanks to the added sour cream. It starts with a boxed cake mix, but uses fruit juices in place of some of the water, and butter and sour cream instead of oil.
The frosting, which is a combination of whipped cream and whipped cream cheese is rich and creamy but also light and refreshing. It takes a few steps, but they’re pretty simple and so worth it. The whipping cream is whipped until soft peaks form, then is transferred to another bowl in the fridge. The cream cheese is whipped with some sugar, a pinch of salt and the zest from the lemon, lime and oranges. Then the whipped cream is folded in. Easy!
To frost the cake, here’s a tip: When you are ready to frost, line the cake platter with a couple pieces of waxed paper. Frost the cake as usual, then when you’re finished, gently remove the waxed paper and there’s no frosting mess on your platter!
Be sure to keep the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to frost the cake, and refrigerate the cake until you’re ready to enjoy it. The frosting will start to melt if it sits out more than an hour or two, depending on how hot it is.
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans and set aside.
Zest the fruit into a small bowl and set aside to use for the frosting.
Juice the fruit into a glass measuring cup. Add water to the juice to equal 1 cup. (I got about 2/3 cup juice so I added ⅓ cup water).
In a large bowl or stand mixer, stir together cake mix, fruit juice/water mixture, powdered sugar, butter, sour cream, vanilla and eggs. Stir just until combined and mostly smooth.
Pour batter equally into each pan. Tap pans on the counter top to release air bubbles and spread the batter into an even layer.
Bake in the preheated 350 degree oven for 24-28 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before removing from pans and frosting.
*Chill metal bowls and beaters or whisk attachment for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator before using.
In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large metal bowl with a hand mixer, beat heavy whipping cream for 1-2 minutes, until cream is thick and stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk. With a silicone spatula, scrape whipped cream into a second bowl (preferably a chilled metal bowl) and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Clean the first bowl with cold water, dry, and place cold cream cheese into the bowl. Whip the cream cheese on high with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer until creamy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and orange extracts. Beat on high until the mixture is creamy and smooth, and sugar has melted into the cream cheese (taste to test texture); 3-5 minutes.
With a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir in citrus zest.
Gently fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to frost.
To frost the cake, lay two sheets of waxed paper side by side on a cake platter. Gently place one layer of cake centered where the sheets of waxed paper meet. Add about 1/3-½ of the frosting to the top of the first layer. Gently place the second layer on top of the first. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Garnish cake with lemon, lime and orange slices, if desired.
Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.