Boxed Cake Mix Hack: Tastes like you paid $6 a slice!

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Just a couple of ingredient swaps you can make a regular cake mix taste like you've paid 6$ a slice for bakery cake. This hack is easy, replaces oil with butter and turns a cake mix into a delicious buttery, rich, dense crumb cake, perfect for any special occasion.Just a couple of ingredient swaps you can make a regular cake mix taste like you’ve paid $6 a slice for bakery cake. This hack is easy, replaces oil with butter and turns a cake mix into a delicious buttery, rich, dense crumb cake, perfect for any special occasion.

I totally dragged my feet through the creation of this for my oldest child. We were in the grocery store because we ran out of bananas (our household goes through a half dozen every day) and what did we happen to walk past? An end cap of boxed cake mix. Cue the negotiation from my toddler:

Mommy, I want that!
Me: No, I’m not getting that but if you want cake I would be happy to make one for you!
Mommy I want that one! And I want to make it with you!
Me: Hmm (I’m disbelieving of this, most “help” is usually just chocolate chip stealing)
Mommy please, we can bake together! We bake this, you and me forever! (cue the arms in the air and the twirling).
Me: *Groan* Ok.

And I lost. To be honest, I sort of planned on ditching the box on our way back to the checkstand, but then I completely spaced on it until we got to the checkout area and who was watching me like a hawk? Yup. Sold.  So we get home and I stuffed it into the back of the cupboard. Later that same day, my toddler who for some reason was in love with the idea of baking this cake comes up to me and says: “Mommy you a chef, we make cake together” and I completely melted. We pulled out our favorite tiny chef hat and apron and our amazing Learning Tower (yes, a chair would work too and yes, I am a paranoid mom who loves the railing all around) and we got to work.

I am the first to admit, I am not a fan of cake mix. It is this weird overly crumbly, way too soft weird tasting cake and since I know how easy they are to make from scratch I actually think they are kind of overpriced. So I set off to the land of happiness and time wasting (Pinterest) and found a link to a hack for cake mixes.

Why did it make it onto the blog? Because this hack makes an altogether dull cake mix box taste fantastic! And since it happened to be the same weekend as my cake obsessed toddler’s birthday, we did an easy side by side comparison.

A total of 25 people, both adults and children taste tested my from-scratch birthday cake with purple frosting and this cake mix hack with the same frosting. The result? Not a single person said “cake mix” to me. In fact many of them complimented the cake (and some thought this was better than my recipe)! I have to agree, it was so good, if the box came with these directions I think it would really up the game for cake mixes.

The crumb was tender, denser, buttery and rich. The distinct “cake mix flavor” was unrecognizable. Trust me, try it and you won’t regret it!

So lets get down to the hack!


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Boxed Cake Mix Hack: Tastes like you paid $6 a slice

4.75 from 24 votes
  • Yield: 12
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Dinner, then Dessert
Just a couple of ingredient swaps you can make a regular cake mix taste like you've paid $6 a slice for bakery cake.


  • 1 box Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix (this is what was picked out, I couldn't tell you which mix is best)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups Buttercream Frosting


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. The only directions to note are that whatever the back of the box directs you to use, you have to:
  2. Add an additional egg.
  3. Replace the water with milk, same amounts.
  4. Replace the oil with melted butter. DOUBLE the amount.
  5. Cook with the same directions that are printed on the box.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 , Amount per serving: 566 calories, Calories: 566g, Carbohydrates: 75g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 584mg, Potassium: 97mg, Sugar: 55g, Vitamin A: 11.9g, Calcium: 13.4g, Iron: 6.9g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Boxed Cake Mix Hack
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Just a couple of ingredient swaps you can make a regular cake mix taste like you've paid 6$ a slice for bakery cake. This hack is easy, replaces oil with butter and turns a cake mix into a delicious buttery, rich, dense crumb cake, perfect for any special occasion.

Just a couple of ingredient swaps you can make a regular cake mix taste like you've paid 6$ a slice for bakery cake. This hack is easy, replaces oil with butter and turns a cake mix into a delicious buttery, rich, dense crumb cake, perfect for any special occasion.
Just a couple of ingredient swaps you can make a regular cake mix taste like you've paid 6$ a slice for bakery cake. This hack is easy, replaces oil with butter and turns a cake mix into a delicious buttery, rich, dense crumb cake, perfect for any special occasion.

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

See more posts by Sabrina

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. So, do you double the amount of butter before melting, or after? In other words, do I melt 2 sticks of butter and that’s all I need?

  2. Do you recommend still adding a simple syrup after baking or omit simple syrup if I use the buttercream as an added ingredient?

  3. I don’t mean to disrespect your thread ms sabrina by correcting you b cuz you very obviously know sp much more than I do when it comes to cooking albeit I have only tried once to make a cake from scratch and had mixed up which order yo whip the ingredients in-instead of whipping the sugar eggs a d butter together I forgot and thought I’d make up for it AFTER adding the flour (bcuz thats when remembered too, little late) and I remember I was so excited to surprise my bf with his favorite cake homemade with candles first thing when he woke up in bed, and I was just that it was cornbread cake practically. The whipping or over mixing of the flour created the perfect dense course cornbread consistency- everything else about it was on point bcuz I followed every other instruction to a tee so if I may offer my opinion ladies? Cake baking=a science in and of it’s own. You change the slightest detail and you change the outcome. Maybe Sabrina’s cake box mix had more baking powder or maybe she used a more expensive type of butter in turn had a fattier consistency which would mean when she was mixing her ingredients it would have been able to lightly churn as opposed to less fatty dense butters that would not produce desired effects (really I think it’s all the above) but remember when I said it’s a science? Well there are all these crazy wonderful tiny molecular changes happening in your oven when it’s kept at the desired temp (preheat for consistency) and that desired temp is no more for x amount of time every time you open the oven to check so you could’ve opened it during a very key period and when you did so you lowered the temp accidentally and than it was no able to continue the same changes once it heated back up b cuz it was stunted or the appropriate amount of time wasn’t tacked onto the original time to calculate the oven reheating for every time it was opened…just a thought. Right now I have my personal concoction of your recipe mixed with a pudding cake recipe and am very excited to see the end result. 😀

  4. Ugh, just made this cake & it completely fell once I took it out of the oven.
    I used Duncan Hines Butter recipe, which is my go-to box mix. I used 1 additional egg, substituted whole milk for water and doubled the butter from 7 tablespoons to 14. The box instructions say to beat with mixer for 4 min, but I only did 2 min since several comments below say overmixing will cause the cake to fall.
    Not sure what to change; hate to waste any more ingredients on another cake! Having company tomorrow!

    1. You need to use whole milk for this recipe to work with the butter. Just follow the recipe card and you should have better results. Good luck!

  5. Sounds like a great idea. I will give it a try. I wanted to let you know that the nutritional info is incorrect. It says 12 servings, 36 calories per serving and 1 gram of sugar. I wish it were like that. Ha!

  6. It’s in the oven, smells delicious! Just worried that it will flatten out like it did for others who made it! Did u figure out why their cakes were collapsing?

  7. I am happy to have found this recipe tweak … two of my closest friends are getting married, and I am helping with the cake. I was comparing recipes and ran across this. today we are doing the test cakes to compare cream cheese icings. Looking forward to seeing how this will work.

    On a related note, any favorite recipe for a pipe-able Cream cheese icing?

  8. If adding say, fresh grated carrots, drained pineapple tidbits, walnuts and raisins to a box mix of carrot cake, shouldn’t the wet ingredient such as milk, eggs or butter be reduced to compensate for the additional moisture from carrots and pineapple?

    1. I’ve never tested it using all of those additional add ins so I’m not sure of what advice to give. If you decide to try, I’d love to know what worked for you. Thanks!

  9. This is great. I’m actually a pretty big fan of boxed cake mixes even in there default form, happened across this idea one day many years ago and have been doing it that way ever since. There’s truly no reason to bake a cake from scratch when you can do this, unless you’re trying to make a cake that a mix just won’t suffice for.

  10. Yes, it works for chocolate. Result: a big beautiful birthday cake almost as good as my chocolate torte! To a (Pilsbury) devil’s food box recipe: I added an extra egg white, whipped the whites to fluffy peaks in one bowl. In separate bowl I added one stick of butter to the oil (1cup total), added half cup of cocoa powder, exchanged the water for milk, mixed the rest of the ingredients including the extra egg yolk and then folded the mixture slowly into the egg whites. Baked in a spring form pan. Filled between the layers with chocolate buttercream and covered outside with whip cream icing: Stir two cups of heavy cream, a cup of cocoa and a cup of powdered sugar together, let sit 20 minutes in fridge, whip into whipped cream and ice. Thanks for the hack. Where do I post the photos?

  11. Sabrina, Thank you and I just love your site because I’ve had so many of the same questions the other have had. I stopped buying Duncan Hines or any others because they cut the ounces in their package and every since my lovely applesauce walnut cake recipe they use to have doesn’t work anymore. It collapses. Thought it was me but ????
    Today, I’m making one of those GIANT CUPCAKE cakes! I have the DH Classic Devil’s Food mix and am wondering if all your suggestions would work with this particular silicone bakeware? I guess my urgent question for today mostly concerns this silicone bake mold.

    1. I haven’t tested it but I wouldn’t see why it wouldn’t work. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turned out. Good luck!

  12. Hi! I tried your suggestions and it has a great flavor and texture. The only thing is that for some reason the middle of the cake stuck to pan. Any sugggestions ?

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it but sorry about it sticking. Just make sure to prepare your pan either with shortening/flour or a baking spray before putting in the cake mix. If you use the shortening/flour method, you can usually catch it better if a spot is missed. Hope this helps!

  13. Made this today. Wanted to try out a new bundt pan and this is what I used. Delicious and my son told me after that he’d been craving icing, so it was a win win.

  14. I would think adding double the amount of fat without increasing dry ingredients would lead to an “underbaked” cake. This sounds wonderful to me taste wise, do you know if this would work for a wedding cake tier? Does the cake rise as much as usual?
    Thank you!

  15. I tried this “Cake Mix Hack” and it was wonderful! No one could tell that it wasn’t really home-made. I will use this every time I use a cake mix. Thank you so much for the hint!

  16. I am going to make this recipe but have a question. The box mix calls for 1 cu water but you substituted 1 1/4 cups of milk, why?

  17. I wouldn’t use too much butter, 1/2 a cup is fine. I made it and instantly felt the need to chug a glass full of milk and maybe check my cholesterol level. Other than that it was really moist and soft

  18. I loved this hack when I tried it on a yellow cake mix, but I am wondering how I should go about the butter for a Butter Golden cake mix that calls for 7 tbsp of softened (not melted) butter. Should I still melt all the butter? Should I still double the butter? Would really love to know, thanks!

  19. I have a box of Duncan Hines classic white cake and it calls for 3 large egg WHITES (which I know is so the yolk doesn’t turn it yellow). Instead of adding an extra egg, and because I don’t care about it turning yellow, would just using three whole eggs work (not adding an extra since there’s the extra yolks)?

    1. I’ve never tested it so I’m not comfortable recommending it. I’d love to know how it turns out if you decide to try!

    1. When you’re baking, you want to be relatively precise about the ingredients you’re adding or it could throw the flavors out of balance, so you want to use unsalted butter and add the precise amount of salt a recipe calls for instead of using salted butter which could have different amounts of salt in it.

    1. I haven’t tested it but I don’t see why not. If you decide to try, I’d love to hear how it turned out.

  20. I really want to try this hack but there are so many different cake mix add ins to get to! I just noticed my duncan hines cake mix only calls for 1/4 cup of oil rather than the 1/2 cup that most box mixes call for. I have another that calls for a stick of softened butter instead of oil. I am curious whether anyone has noticed a difference with different brands of mix. I a pretty sure I remember liking Duncan Hines the best when I have done comparisons, but I don’t remember whether it was comparing mixes made with butter or not (my comparison was using only the box instructions).
    I will come back to give my review for a double butter cake.

  21. Great info! The original blog AND the comments. I actually love boxed cake mix, so this should be interesting.
    I will add, never ever buy Pillsbury Cake Mix. It is the worst (a little bit texture, a lot taste).
    The best cake mix is Duncan Hines.
    I know that only some flavors come in certain brands (like the funfetti only with Pillsbury… I think ??), but if you don’t believe me, buy the same common flavor in Pillsbury and Duncan Hines. Make both, by the box (I don’t know if the hack makes it different, so…). You will see. Most likely I tried it with devil’s food cake because that is my favorite.

  22. Hi Sabrina, I wonder if you can help? I bought the Betty Crocker Super moist cake mix with butter. Which means it calls for 1/3cup softened butter (no oil). Should I still double the amount of butter?
    thanks so much!

  23. I have attempted at least 8 different recipes for my daughter’s upcoming First Birthday Party and none have been the amazing cupcake that I want. So I’m going to try these hacks with a box mix and am super excited to finally get a good result (hopefully!) Thanks for posting these ideas. 

  24. I just made this and it’s THE FLUFFIEST, THE LIGHTEST cake I have ever tasted! I’m DEFINITELY gonna make this my new cake! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THE RECIPE! !!