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How to Make Box Cake Mix Better

Box cake mix is a kitchen staple. They provide a quick solution for making a cake with minimal effort. We love these mixes because they come with already measured amounts of flour, sugar and leavening agents, so you don’t have to worry about lots of ingredients.

They’re great for busy folks and those just learning to bake, giving a quick fix for making a homemade cake. Boxed cakes are a convenient way to enjoy a delicious cake without the hassle of starting from scratch.

Convenience is the main reason for using boxed cake mixes, but they are not without scrutiny. Many bakers argue that the taste and texture of a cake made from a mix don’t have the depth of flavor and quality you get with traditional baking methods.

That’s where cake mix baking hacks come into play as a way of making them better. With these tips, you can enhance the flavor and texture of a boxed cake mix and create a homemade dessert that combines the best of both worlds — the ease of a boxed mix and the deliciousness of a from-scratch creation.

Two containers of Duncan Hines creamy frosting (vanilla and chocolate) and two boxes of Duncan Hines perfectly moist box cake mix (Devil's Food and Butter Golden) on a countertop.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Easy ways to make boxed cake mix better

One simple and effective method to transform your beloved boxed cake into a homemade delicacy is to replace certain ingredients and add a handful of additional elements. By following these steps, you can elevate the flavor and texture of your cake, ensuring that it surpasses all expectations.

A typical boxed cake mix uses these three ingredients. These ingredients ensure a perfect balance of flavor and texture, resulting in a deliciously light, moist and fluffy cake.

  • 1 cup of water.
  • ⅓ cup of vegetable oil.
  • 3 large eggs.

Simple swaps

These simple swaps will amp up the flavor and texture of your cake. You are still using just three ingredients. These minimal alterations might seem small, but they make a big difference in changing a boxed cake into a more homestyle cake.

  • Use milk instead of water.
  • Use melted butter instead of oil and double the amount.
  • Add an extra egg.

You simply mix and bake the cake according to the instructions. It’s so simple, and these swaps will result in a moist cake with a soft yet dense crumb.

Here is why these ingredients make a significant difference in your recipe. By incorporating one or all of these ingredient swaps, you can enhance the flavor and overall quality of your cake.

Substituting milk

Adds flavor and moisture to the cake, and if you use whole milk, that will provide extra fat for richness and a denser texture. Experiment with different milks like buttermilk and plant-based milk or a coconut milk.

I’m not alone in using this hack. “My favorite hack to make box cake mix taste better is to substitute milk for water,” says Siobhan Alvarez-Borland who writes the Fun Family Meals blog. “Milk adds fat, which helps bring out the cake mix flavors in a bigger way.”

Adding extra eggs

Eggs add richness, moisture and structure to a cake. You can opt to add just an extra egg yolk, and for white cakes, use just the egg whites.

Or do what Shruthi Baskaran-Makanju of the Urban Farmie blog does. “If you want an incredibly delicious and moist cake while using a box cake mix, add a tablespoon of sour cream and/or incorporate an extra egg for a denser texture. I also usually replace water with an equal amount of milk for added flavor. No one is able to say it’s a box cake mix after that.”


Butter will make the cake richer, adding moisture and making it more flavorful. Make sure you use melted butter. Here are our tips for softening butter the right way.

The mix-in extravaganza

Take your cake customization to a whole new level by adding some tasty mix-in ingredients. These little extras work magic, turning your cakes from ordinary to seriously amazing in the flavor department.


Enhance your cake’s flavor by adding pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste to enhance the flavor of your cake without adding many extra ingredients. Experimenting with flavored liqueurs like Irish Cream in a chocolate cake or an orange liqueur in an orange-flavored mix can elevate the taste profile to new heights. Just ensure not to go overboard — a little goes a long way.

Spice it up

Add an aromatic touch with a generous sprinkle of spices. Options like warm and comforting cinnamon, fragrant cardamom or earthy nutmeg are simple to add to the cake batter. Try adding ground or fresh ginger to the batter.

More mix-ins to add

Enhance the cake batter with a wide-ranging choice of mix-ins to personalize and create a unique, delicious treat that perfectly suits your taste. This is the perfect time to add specific mix-ins to celebrate specific holidays or parties.

  • Chocolate chips for a rich and sweet flavor.
  • Maple syrup can give it a, well, maple-y flavor
  • Sprinkles will add a colorful and festive touch to a cake.
  • Nuts like pecans, almonds and walnuts add a crunchy element.
  • Toffee bits add indulgent caramel goodness.
  • Fruits like strawberries, apples, blueberries, coconut and citrus add bursts of natural sweetness and delicious flavors.
  • Mixed in shredded vegetables to take your cake to a whole other layer, such as a carrot cake or a chocolate zucchini cake.

Change up the liquid

Change the water called for and use soda like in this citrusy Mountain Dew bundt cake. You can also add brewed coffee, beer or wine.

Swirl in flavor

Add ribbons of caramel or chocolate syrup to the cake batter before baking. This caramel bundt cake starts with a box cake mix and has jarred caramel sauce added for a gourmet treat.

Mastering moisture

Beyond the usual ingredient swaps, attaining the perfect level of moisture is an art. For a velvety texture, consider incorporating a fourth cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt into the batter. These additions enhance moisture and contribute to a denser, more luxurious crumb. It’s the secret weapon for achieving that bakery-quality feel.

Boxed cake mixes serve as a fantastic foundation for a quick and easy dessert, but with creativity and experimentation, they can be elevated to a whole new level. These simple baking hacks for boxed cake mixes allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds — the convenience of a boxed mix and the deliciousness of a homemade creation. These tricks and tips are bound to make any boxed cake mix you buy at the supermarket taste much, much better. Some people might even think you got the cake at the bakery.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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