Learn how to make box cake better than a bakery cake with my 8 easy box cake hacks that will enhance all your cake mix recipes and desserts.
How To Make Box Cake Better (Easy Tips/Tricks)
Wanna learn how to make box cake better? Curious on how to make a cake mix taste like a bakery cake?
Today I’m sharing my best tips and tricks to instantly make a box cake taste better with simple ingredient swaps and additions.
I’m also sharing easy box cake hacks that will teach you how to make a box cake moist, fluffy, and delicious.
If you want to learn how to doctor up boxed cake mix and take your box mixes and cake mix recipes to the next level, then keep reading below!
Box Cake Mix FAQ’s
Why use a cake mix instead of homemade?
Homemade cake made from scratch is delicious and is always a great choice when you have time.
But when life gets busy and you’re in a rush, a boxed cake mix is the perfect solution!
The pre-measured dry ingredients and versatile flavor options of box mixes make it easy to whip up a treat for your family, whether you are celebrating a birthday or just want a weeknight indulgence.
In fact, I’m such a fan of using box cake mixes, that I have an entire category of delicious and easy cake mix recipes over here.
What’s my favorite box cake mix?
My personal favorite box cake mixes is Betty Crocker Super Moist or Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist.
These cake mixes are delicious already, but taste even better with the cake hacks mentioned in today’s post.
How to Make Box Cake Better
How do you make box cake taste better?
If you are wondering how to make box cake better than it already is, you are in the right place.
There are many ways to enhance the flavor, texture, and structure of premade cake mixes, and the good news is that most of these box cake hacks are super easy to incorporate.
With just a few simple ingredient swaps or additions, you can really take your cake mix to the next level of deliciousness.
And trust me when I say NO ONE will ever know it’s not a homemade cake. It’ll be our little secret. 😉
8 Easy Box Cake Hacks
How To Make Box Cake Better Tip #1 – Add An Extra Egg or Two
Eggs are an extremely important ingredient in cakes, and bring texture, structure, and moisture to a cake mix.
When you want to improve your box cake mix, add one more whole egg to the cake batter beyond what it normally calls for.
What does adding an extra egg do to a cake mix?
This will make your cake extra moist and rich.
You can also make your cake better by adding an additional egg yolk for added flavor and richness.
How To Make Box Cake Better Tip #2 – Swap Out The Water
Most box cake mix recipes usually calls for water.
But you can easily create a more moist, tender, and flavorful cake by swapping water out for an equal amount of another liquid.
Option 1 – Milk
Instead of water, I recommend using milk or light cream for a richer flavor. Swapping water for dairy is especially delicious in yellow or white cake mixes.
Option 2 – Buttermilk
Another great option? Buttermilk.
It gives you the same richness as milk while also adding moisture and a bit of tang to the mix.
This option works great for coffee cake or red velvet cake.
Option 3 – Coffee
For chocolate cakes or brownies one of my go-to’s is hot coffee.
Simply replace the water in a chocolate cake recipe with the equal amount of brewed hot coffee to naturally enhance the flavor of the chocolate.
The hot temperature blooms the cocoa to bring more flavor out, and the result is a rich, indulgent, chocolate cake without any hint of coffee.
And if you worry about the added caffeine, consider using decaf for the same result minus the caffeine.
Option 4 – Fruit Juice
When you make a yellow cake or a fruit-flavored cake, consider using juice instead of water or milk.
You can even add a contrasting juice for more flavor.
For example, if you make a strawberry cake, you can add kiwi or lime juice to enhance the fruit flavor, or use apple cider in a spice cake mix for a fall flavor.
A few of my favorite swaps is using orange juice in my Strawberry Pineapple Cake, or pineapple juice in my Crushed Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
Option 5 – Soda
Another easy and affordable option?
Replace the water with your favorite can of soda.
Lemon lime, strawberry, orange, fruit punch, or ginger ale are all great options for adding to a white or yellow cake mix.
Just like in my 7 Up Biscuits, soda is great for creating a more light, fluffy, and airy texture and will help the cake rise better.
How to Make Box Cake Better Tip #3 – Add Sour Cream or Mayonnaise
If you really want to take your box cake mix to the next level, I recommend adding in 1/2 cup of full-fat sour cream.
This little trick will make your cake super moist and everyone will think it’s a bakery cake.
Don’t have any sour cream? Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise to the batter instead.
Tip: You can even swap out the oil in a cake for mayonnaise for an extra rich and sponge-like texture.
How to Make Box Cake Better Tip #4 – Add Pudding Mix
Many boxed cake mixes already have pudding in them, but if not, you can make your cake taste richer and moister by adding pudding mix.
Simply mix in a small 3.4 oz packet of instant pudding with the batter.
You can choose any flavor you want, but I recommend selecting a flavor that compliments the other elements of the cake.
For example, add a lemon or banana pudding to a yellow cake mix to bring an extra layer of flavor.
You could also add a chocolate pudding to make a chocolate cake even more decadent and fudgy.
Tip: Another option is to add pudding into the warm cake after baking like in my Banana Pudding Poke Cake or Pineapple Coconut Poke Cake.
How to Make Box Cake Better Tip #5 – Add Flavor with Extracts, Zests, and Spices
One way to instantly improve the flavor of a box cake mix is by using flavor extracts, zests, and spices.
For extract, the possibilities are endless with vanilla extract, almond extract, coconut, lemon, orange, and rum being the most popular flavor choices.
I almost always add an extra teaspoon or so of vanilla extract to my cake mix recipes like my Sock it To Me Cake, and it adds such a delicious, rich flavor.
A small amount of almond extract in a white cake along with the vanilla creates a flavor similar to the traditional white almond wedding cake flavor.
Another easy way to enhance the flavor of a cake mix is with citrus zest or fresh fruit juice.
You can add orange zest to an orange cake mix or lemon zest to a lemon cake to bring out the flavor and freshness.
I love how fresh lemon juice and zest make these easy lemon cake mix cookies taste incredible!
Lastly try adding a ground spice to bump up the flavor in a subtle, yet delicious way.
Seasonal spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice are especially delicious in fall flavored cake mix desserts like my Pumpkin Spice Cookies.
Similar to the hot coffee tip above, you can also use espresso powder in chocolate cakes for a more enhanced chocolate flavor.
How to Make Box Cake Better Tip #6 – Swap Half the Oil with Butter
Box cake mix recipes typically calls for oil, not butter.
Oil is an important ingredient because it contributes extra moisture and keeps your baked cake from being dry and crumbly, but it unfortunately doesn’t do much in the flavor department.
To get the best of both worlds with a cake that is rich in flavor and moist, I recommend replacing half of the oil with unsalted melted butter.
The substitution ratio is 1:1, and this is always a great option for yellow and white cake mixes where the butter flavor can really shine through.
How to Make Box Cake Better Tip #7 – Add Mix-In’s
Adding mix-in’s to a cake mix recipe is a simple way to really personalize your cake and level up the flavor.
I do this in my double chocolate cranberry bundt cake with both chocolate chips and cranberries, and it makes the cake so yummy!
Here’s just a few delicious ideas:
- Chocolate Chips
- Fresh or Dried Fruit
- Crushed Cookies
How to Make Box Cake Better Tip #8 – Use Homemade Frosting/Glaze
Just because you’re using a box cake mix doesn’t mean you have to settle for store-bought frosting.
If you really want to wow your family and friends, top your cake with a homemade frosting like easy buttercream or powdered sugar glaze like this.
One of my personal favorites is my Pina Colada Cake’s cream cheese frosting– SO YUM!
Or another delicious option that’s easy to create and looks beautiful is a simple chocolate ganache.
And if you’re really short on time, keep it simple with a whipped topping and fresh fruit like I do on my Strawberry Jello Poke Cake.
Bonus Tip – Add Extra Flour
One challenge of cake mix is the delicate crumb of the cake.
This can make it difficult to manage stacking and frosting without damaging the cake.
To strengthen the cake’s structure a bit for birthday cakes and decorating, simply add 1-2 extra tablespoons of flour to the recipe.
You can also combine this with the half butter half oil tip above to help your cake hold up better and stay structurally sound.
More Baking Tips:
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P.S. Check out all my best cake mix recipes over here
I hope you enjoyed today’s post on how to make box cake better with 8 easy box cake hacks!
You can use one or a combination of these ideas to enhance the flavor of your cake mix recipes and to achieve a delicious, moist, and fluffy cake that’s even better than bakery.
Which of these box cake hacks will you be trying out first? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for stopping by! – Cara
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