Ideas to Improve Your Boxed Cake Mix

Think outside the box with these tips for turning your boxed cake mix into memorable desserts.

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Chocolate cake batter from boxed mix

As an avid baker, I’m tired of being embarrassed to admit that I’m a big fan of cake mix. There’s no doubt that homemade cake has superior flavor, but there’s no denying the ease of quick, ready-to-use mixing. Cake mix has you covered whether there are store shortages or you just need something quick. But is it even better when you can have the convenience of boxed cake mix with the personal touch of homemade cakes? Any cake mix can be improved using just a few tricks – here are a few to try.

Be creative with your liquids

Most cake mixes call for water in the ingredient list, but you can substitute the water with something deeper and richer, like milk (dairy or non-dairy). The added fat in the milk will result in a moister cake, improving both the flavor and the density of your cake. If you don’t like milk, try swapping other liquids like juice (preferably with vanilla/yellow cake mixes), coffee or strong beer (for chocolate cake mixes ) to add a little more flavor to your cake.

My favorite hack (or as I like to think, witchcraft) is to mix a 12 ounce can of soda with standard cake mix. I omit the eggs and oil in this case. The carbonation of soda causes it to effervescent, making it an excellent leavening agent, which imparts a light, moist texture to baked goods.

Change your oil

It goes without saying that butter has a lot more flavor than vegetable oil, and simply replacing the oil with softened or melted butter will give you a much richer tasting cake. Butter also gives a much better texture. But if you want to stick with oil, try turning your vanilla or yellow box cake mix into an olive oil cake by replacing the vegetable oil with olive oil. olive and a tablespoon of grated lemon zest.

put an egg in it

Most canned mixes call for the addition of three eggs; the eggs act as an emulsifier and help bind the other ingredients together. For a special occasion, opt for four eggs instead of three to enhance the richness of the cake. The extra fat from the egg yolk will create a cake with more substance and a slightly more luxurious taste.

Add flavored extracts

A little extra vanilla is never a bad thing, so consider boosting the flavor of any canned mix with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Or go the extra mile and try making your own vanilla Mezcal extract. While vanilla is always a tried and true great option, any extract can enhance the flavor of your cake. Play around with other extracts, like almond, peppermint, lemon, coconut, banana, or orange, depending on your preference.

To mix together

Cakes with mix-ins always taste extra special, so consider incorporating a cup of an additional dry, chopped ingredient like chocolate chips, sprinkles (for that party vibe), shredded coconut, blueberries, dried pineapple or walnuts. You can (and should) also add mixes to your icing, or use them for decorations on the frosted cake.

Turn it upside down

Line the bottom of your prepared cake pan with slices of your favorite fruits – apples, peaches, pineapple and strawberries work well here. Pour the cake mix over it and you’ll have an upside-down cake.

Put some pudding on it

Combine pudding mix with cake mix for added flavor, moisture and texture. This tip gives any cake mix a more homemade feel and taste due to the added fat of the dry pudding mix.

Use homemade icing

Finally, once you’ve let your cake cool, add a homemade touch by making homemade icing to enhance any cake. Try some of our best homemade frostings to take your cake to the next level.


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