In an ideal world, we’d all be able to whip up beautiful cakes from scratch whenever a birthday, office party, or bake sale is called. Most of us don’t have that kind of spare time. When time is short and a fresh-from-the-oven cake is required immediately, there’s no shame in using a boxed cake mix.
However, using a pre-portioned cake mix should not imply sacrificing flavor or texture. You can instantly transform that $3 cake mix into a deceptively fancy, bakery-worthy creation by substituting a few key ingredients and slightly customizing your recipe. With these simple tips, you can have your (boxed) cake and eat it too.
Use our tricks To Make A Box Cake Mix Taste Homemade to take your box cake mix to the next level. If you’ve ever wondered how to improve the flavor of a box cake mix, this post is for you!
Here are Some Tricks to Make Boxed Cake Taste Homemade
Get Rid of the Water
Although most boxed mix instructions call for water as the main wet ingredient, this will not affect the flavor of your baked good. Next time, skip the water and replace it with whole milk, which will immediately improve your cake’s flavor at a low cost. You can also use alternative milk such as almond or oat, or go bold with the flavor by using buttermilk instead.
Butter is Better
Cake mix instructions are also deficient in terms of the fat source. Replace the vegetable oil called for on the box with an equal amount of melted butter. Compared to the virtually flavorless oil, this will instantly give your cake a richer taste.
Increase Your Eggs
Eggs improve both flavor and texture in a cake, so increasing the egg count is a simple way to improve both. If the recipe calls for two eggs, substitute three or four. You can also add only additional yolks for a richer flavor or only additional whites for a lighter, fluffier texture.
Replace with Coffee
Substitute strong, freshly brewed coffee for the water specified on the cake box. This trick is best for chocolate cakes because it does not change the cake’s color but helps highlight the rich cocoa flavors. Soda, stout beer, and even orange juice are non-traditional liquids that will add interesting flavors and textures to your cake.
Boost Your Vanilla
The vanilla flavor leaves a lot to be desired in the white mix, yellow mix, and just about any other variety. Add 12-1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract to your boxed cake to boost the flavor. Another quick way to boost flavor is adding a pinch of salt to any cake, which will help balance the sweetness.
Mix in some sour cream
Add 12 cups of sour cream to your cake mix in one easy step to give it a richer flavor and moistness. Don’t worry; the sour flavor will completely disappear into the cake. Add an equal amount of full-fat plain yogurt for a similar effect.
Prepare the Instant Pudding
Add a small box of instant pudding mix to a cake to instantly boost its flavor and moisture. Combine the pudding and dry cake mix before adding the wet ingredients. Try chocolate pudding mix in chocolate cake, vanilla pudding in almost any cake, or lemon pudding to add a hint of citrus to your baked good.
Attempt Some Mayonnaise
While some may object to adding this creamy condiment to a cake, a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise will give your cake a richer flavor and smoother texture. This condiment, made of egg yolk and oil, will not alter the chemistry of your battery but will enhance its flavor.
Personalize Your Cake
Just because you’re using a boxed mix doesn’t mean your cake has to be ordinary. Make plain chocolate or yellow cake mix into a customized creation by adding your favorite dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, and spices. Lemon zest, orange or almond extract, and rum are excellent additions.
Make your icing from scratch
The most effective way to make your boxed cake taste completely homemade is to forego the canned frosting to make your own. Even if you don’t make any other changes to the cake mix ingredients, this step will fool your dinner guests. Try these simple recipes for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Mascarpone Frosting, and Cream Cheese Frosting, which will work with almost any boxed mix flavor.
Play Around with the Layers
Although this step will require additional time and effort, the result will be well worth it. After your boxed cake has cooled, cut it into two or three layers and experiment with different fillings and layers. Brushing your layers with simple syrup to add moisture and sweetness is always a good idea, but other coatings like sweet liqueur and jam can have a similar effect. Pile on the sliced fruit, ganache, lemon curd, icing, and so on, and finish with your homemade frosting.
Substitute water for milk
If the recipe calls for a cup of water, substitute a cup of milk. I used whole milk, but any milk, including nondairy, should work. This increases the fat and flavor of the mixture, resulting in a more delicious cake.
Pro tip: Try mixing in some milk and an extra egg. I did this for my son’s actual birthday cake, which was the moistest cake I’ve ever eaten.
All the past boxed cakes I’ve made have been very light and fluffy (which isn’t necessarily bad), but this one was completely different. It was a sturdy cake in every sense of the word. Because of the added moisture, it tasted just as good days later.
Make a creamy addition with Greek yogurt
Flavored Greek yogurt can be a tasty addition to a boxed cake or pancake mixes.
One Good Thing, a cooking and lifestyle blog, makes a case for mixing lemon yogurt into a lemon, butter, yellow, spice, and white cake mixes, but you can experiment with any yogurt flavor.
To add flavor, use your favorite ice cream
The Cake Mix Doctor’s melted ice cream cake recipe from 1999 is still popular today. She whisks together one package of plain white cake mix, eggs, and two cups of melted ice cream (your choice of flavor).
The melted ice cream contains all your liquid, fat, and flavorings.
This could be your recipe if you’ve always wanted a simple cake with a unique flavor, such as mint chocolate chip or cappuccino.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
To make your boxed cakes more flavorful, keep a spice chart handy.
Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to chocolate cake mixes, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to yellow cake mixes, or 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika to chocolate cake mixes.
Pour in a can of soda for an interesting new flavor
The addition of soda can enhance the flavors of your cake. Dark sodas, such as root beer can enhance the flavor of chocolate cakes, while lemon-lime sodas can bring out a different flavor in white mixes.
We have a few suggestions on this list of two-ingredient recipes that only require cake mix and soda.
Use gel food coloring to make it look nice
Do you enjoy the flavor of boxed mixes but desire more wow factor?
Using gel food coloring, a plain white cake is transformed into an Instagrammable rainbow birthday cake.
Check your pantry for any additional fun ingredients
Add about half a cup of chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, sprinkles, or whatever else you have on hand to the batter or sprinkle.
If you’re adding wet ingredients like fruit, toss them in with the dry ingredients first, so they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter.
To add flavor, add extracts
Add flavored extracts like pure vanilla extract, coconut, or maple extract to a chocolate or vanilla cake mix to make it more interesting. “Adding peppermint extract to a chocolate cake would be perfect for a chocolatey, minty cake,” says Waterson. “Alternatively, try almond extract with a white cake mix.” Begin with one teaspoon of any extract and gradually increase the amount to taste.
We can add citrus to vanilla, chocolate, or yellow cake mix. Freshly grated one tablespoon orange, lime, grapefruit, or lemon zest. “Try using lemon juice or orange juice for a citrus cake,” Waterson suggests. To boost the flavor, replace 1/8 cup of the water specified on the box with lemon or orange juice.
Include fresh fruit
Add fruits like blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, or chopped pineapple to make a cake more interesting. Prepare the batter according to the package directions. To prevent the fruit from sinking, toss it in flour before folding it into the batter. Bake the cake according to the package directions.
Add some crunch
Adding texture to a cake mix can transform it into a gourmet treat. Consider adding one of these tasty ingredients:
Shredded coconut: Add a hint of coconut flavor to a white cake mix to change the texture. Before baking, stir in 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut.
We can add chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks to a white, yellow, or chocolate cake mix to add flavor. To prevent sinking, toss 1 cup of chips or chunks in a scant teaspoon of flour before mixing them into the batter.
Chopped nuts: Chopped pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or peanuts add crunch. Before baking the cake, add 34 cups of chopped nuts to the batter.
Make use of an egg substitute
To make a vegan cake:
- Leave out the eggs.
- For each egg in the recipe, substitute 14 cups applesauce or 14 cups mashed banana.
- Remember that the applesauce and banana will add extra sweetness.
Make your frosting
One of the simplest ways to spruce up a boxed cake mix is to pair it with delicious frosting. Instead of using store-bought frosting, make your own. For an easy vanilla frosting, cream together 12 cups softened butter, two tablespoons milk, 5 cups powdered sugar, and one teaspoon pure vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
How do you Make a Box Cake More Decadent?
Swap half of the vegetable oil for melted butter for a richer flavor. Before replacing all of the vegetable oil with melted butter for improved flavor, keep in mind that oil helps keep a cake moist. If you want a deeper flavor, use half oil and half-melted butter.
Are Boxed Cake Mixes Used in Bakeries?
If we talk about several bakeries, most of them make their cakes from a cake mix. The basic cake mix is similar to what you’d find in a traditional store box mix, but there are additional ingredients that transform the cake into the traditional bakery cake you’re used to.
What Effect does Adding Pudding to Cake Mix Have?
The added fat from the dry pudding mix makes your cake mix moist, and the added flavor makes it delicious. Because of the different dry mixes, we add the oil and egg and require additional moisture to balance everything out.
Can I Substitute Orange Juice for Water in a Cake Mix?
This has to be one of the simplest citrus desserts we’ve ever made. It’s just a yellow cake mix cooked according to the package directions for a bundt cake, except you use orange juice instead of water. It’s simple, and this cake is ideal for serving with breakfast or taking to a brunch party.
Why is Box Cake Better than Homemade Cake?
While cake mixes have a nostalgic comfort, they typically taste flat, sugary, and vaguely chemically, with a lackluster texture. Cakes made from scratch taste better: rich, buttery, and moist, with a plethora of sweet flavor nuances that leave you wanting more.
Using a boxed cake mix can make cake baking much easier and faster. We can use simple swaps or additions to make a moister, richer, or vegan cake. Extracts, spices, and various mix-ins can elevate a box cake mix to gourmet status.