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

Boxed Cake Mix Hack swaps a few ingredients to make a dense and buttery, rich, bakery style cake that tastes like you paid $6 a slice!

There’s a time and place for fully homemade Cake Recipes, of course. Popular easy recipes include Best Ever Chocolate Poke Cake, Easy Butter Cake, and Coca Cola Sheet Cake. However, when you’re in a pinch and you want to use a shortcut, this boxed cake mix hack is even easier!

Boxed Cake Mix Hack slice on plate with fork

With 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.

This recipe was created as a way to appease a toddler who just had to have this cake mix while at the store with mom. It’s a fun way to get kids involved in the kitchen and let them have fun baking something from “scratch” together, but without extra steps that aren’t as fun for them. You can make it an even more fun project with this tiny chef hat and apron!

Any buttercream frosting would complete this boxed cake mix hack. However, to disguise your cake mix secret even better, try a homemade frosting like Classic Buttercream, Rich Chocolate Frosting, or Cream Cheese Frosting.

Boxed Cake Mix Hack collage of mixing

More Delicious Cake Recipes

If you are not a fan of cake mix, you are not alone. It can have a weird, overly crumbly, way too soft texture. However, after trying this cake mix hack, you will be amazed at the improvement. This hack makes an altogether dull cake mix box taste fantastic!

In fact, this cake mix hack has been taste tested side by side with a from-scratch birthday cake with the same purple frosting, and the result was not a single person guessed it was from a mix. Many people complimented the cake, and some thought it was better than the homemade recipe!

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

Boxed Cake Mix Hack collage of frosting

Tips for Making Boxed Cake Mix Hack

  • This recipe uses a classic yellow cake mix, but you could try this method with any boxed cake mix flavor.
  • Substitute the water in box directions for milk.
  • Replace the oil in the box directions with butter and DOUBLE the amount.
  • Add one additional egg than what the box instructions call for.
  • Mix ingredients together and follow baking directions from the box. It’s that easy!

More Beautiful Tasty Cake Recipes

How to Store Boxed Cake Mix Hack

  • Serve: Boxed Cake Mix Hack can be kept at room temperature, unfrosted, for up to 4 days. If frosted with a dairy frosting such as buttercream or cream cheese frosting, refrigerate in plastic wrap.
  • Store: Store frosted cake in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for up to one week. Let warm to room temperature before serving.
  • Freeze: If freezing a frosted cake, place in the freezer for about one hour, so the frosting becomes solid, then cover tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
Boxed Cake Mix Hack slice on plate with fork

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

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

Boxed Cake Mix Hack swaps a few ingredients to make a dense and buttery, rich, bakery style cake that tastes like you paid $6 a slice!
Yield 12
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder



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



Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 584mg | Potassium: 97mg | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 1.2mg
Keyword: Boxed Cake Mix Hack
Boxed Cake Mix Hack Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

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.
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.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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.


Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Anyone know about a white cake mix? It calls for 4 egg whites (not whole eggs). Do I add one extra egg white or one whole egg?

    1. im wondering the same thing i want to make a white cake for mothers day to spread fresh strawberries on but im wondering if i need to add an egg white

  2. After reading the comments made with: Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix, 5 eggs, 2 sticks of melted butter (1 salted and 1 unsalted), 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1 cup of buttermilk. Cooked in 2 8” pans. One pan cooked for 35 minutes and the other for 40 minutes. Made icing with 6 oz. of cream cheese, 6 oz. of salted butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Cake and icing were fabulous! Enjoy!!!

  3. Question: Does the one box of yellow cake make two layers of cake as shown in picture or one? And does the milk need to be whole or can 2% be used? Thank you!

  4. Cake won’t rise, there was no difference in the texture, tasted just like a cake mix. I was so disappointed because I made it for some ones birthday.

  5. Do you measure 1 cup of the butter while it’s solid and then melt it? Or do you melt it so it ends up being 1 cup melted? Thanks 🙂

    1. okay i know this was a while ago, but 16 tbsp is equal to one cup in solid or liquid form. if you’re from america’s the your stick butter shoul have marks. one is half a cup, two sticks is one cup. :)4

  6. I bake cupcakes for a charity that throws birthday parties for kids for free. I use this recipe all the time. Its standard for me. I also made a small double layer round came with this recipe for my dad’s birthday two weeks ago and it was a HIT. Idk what people are doing who say they had bad experiences. I reccomend this to literally anybody who asks and am do super grateful for learning it. Thank you so much for this!!

  7. This kind of made the cake taste bland; maybe additional sugar next time but the cake mix lost it’s sweetness after adding all the ingredients.

  8. I used this recipe for my granddaughters 1st birthday and they were a hit so I have been asked to make them every year since nice. People are always asking for my recipe! The one thing I change is I use coconut milk because I can’t have dairy and there’s no way I will watch everyone else eat them except for me!

  9. hello,
    I have made cake from scratch and stoped using cake box for years until I tried this recipe. I have now made it a number of times and the cake never comes out dry or flavorless. You must add some kind of frosting for added flavor that’s a given. I have gotten compliments when I make this cake and made me revisit store bought cake boxes again. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

    1. I made this last night and they were amazing. Moist, soft, nice edges. I even left two cupcakes, uncovered, on the counter overnight and it was still super soft this morning. I don’t see how anyone can say this recipe didn’t work for them. I will be making this again.

  10. 4 stars for potential………first effort produced self-deflating cake-patties. I’m hopeful that once cooled may be iced with something spectacular luscious buttercream, perhaps a chocolate ganache drizzle atop. I will, however work this cake-mix hack again, pull back on amt of butter, medium size eggs and different brands/flavor of mix. 4 stars for offering plenty of reason to make another cake!

      1. I don’t think this was a compliment! Too many people having trouble with this. I won’t be making this again!

  11. I’m making this right now in three 6” steel circular cake pans and on regular bake (not convection) at 350* for a Duncan Hines box mix checking at 17 min, 22 minutes, and 26 minutes (with a cake tester) the cake took longer to set up than the times listed on the box. Since I opened the oven so many times and fumbled with removing the cakes from the pans while still relatively hot, it’s hard to say why the edges collapsed, but I didn’t want to overbake the cakes and going exclusively by the box times I’d say if you don’t want your cake to fall, make sure you keep an eye on the cake because the alterations may change required baking times. Good luck! The batter tasted delicious 🙂

  12. Tried it twice but used the mix for cupcakes. Both times the cupcakes fell and ended up dense, like hockey pucks.

    1. Hello Katie, I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work out well for you. Hopefully, I have another recipe that will work better for you.

    2. I just tried it last night. Mine didn’t fall but they came out dry and crumbly and sort of flavorless. I’m so confused because you’d think the ingredients would make it better. I’m wondering if the extra egg is the problem.

    3. Mine too. First box collapsed and was as thick as brownies. I read that it could have been from overmixing, which I think I did, so I went to the store and got a second box and that one did the same thing, and I was very careful about not overmixing. Very disappointing. I will say though that it tastes just wonderful, and it’s very moist but dense and thin. Anyone have any ideas what I did wrong?

    1. I’m so sorry this recipe was not to your liking. Hopefully, there is another recipe that will be more to your liking.

  13. I used 3/4 cups up butter instead of one cup, I also used vanilla oat milk in place of dairy milk, the cake came out heavenly! ?

  14. I shall be making your recipe, but I would greatly appreciate your advice on the idea of adding one box of instant pudding mix (same flavor as the cake) ;i.e., chocolate pudding with chocolate or German Chocolate cake mix. Again, your response will be appreciated.
    Thank you.

  15. I have used this multiple times and never had any issues with the cake falling. So I compared how I had followed it before and it is a little different. I substitute milk for water (box calls for 1 cup so I use 1 cup milk). I substitute melted butter for oil. BUT-boxes typically say 1/3 cup oil, so I use 2/3 cup melted butter. Use 4 eggs instead of 3. My favorite is Duncan Hines Pineapple supreme. Very good!

    Easy to remember..add 1 extra egg, substitute milk for water, and substitute melted butter for oil but double it. 1/3 cup oil = 2/3 cup butter

    1. I did the recipe twice. Sunk both times and was flat. I added what you said. Tasted great tho. Do you think it could have something to do with my oven temp? Maybe it’s off? The first time I did over mix it so I went to the store and grabbed a second box careful not to overmix it and it still turned out the same.

  16. Just found you and about to try using BC Lemon mix. Wondering if there is a way to incorporate Ricotta????? Can anyone advise if you have done this? Big thanks.

      1. First, I tried it exactly as stated with Betty crocker’s yellow cake mix. I couldn’t even tell it was cake mix!! It was moist, buttery and even slightly thicker/heavier than usual (which I like). It was/is perfect! This is my go to recipe.

        I decided to be bold recently and try it with Betty’s chocolate fudge cake. It was good but not amazing like the yellow cake. Got rid of most of the cake mix taste though. Def still a great recipe!

        Thank you for experimenting and sharing!

    1. Look for Lemon Love Cake recipe. I think this is what you’re looking for…
      Hope this helps… Alexandra

  17. This is wonderful. Thank you! I’ve used your method/recipe on regular cakes mixes. Id now like to try with a different cake mix that I love but find the end product dry. Cake mix is namaste brand. Gluten free spice cake mix. Calls for 2/3 cup oil, 4 eggs, 3/4 water. This is a large mix at 26 Oz! Would u do 5 eggs, milk for water and
    1-1/3 cup butter melted?

  18. I’ve tried this twice, exactly they way it says. could be that it’s salted butter? too warm of the melted butter? the altitude? It comes out all perfect and then as it it cools they all sink! What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi! The sinking after cooling is usually caused by the oven not being hot enough or the cake being under baked, so I’m not sure! I am sorry that keeps happening!

  19. These hacks were so good and just make my cake THAT much better. I don’t normally like boxed cake mixes because I find that they come out a little dense and have a weird slight chemical taste, but this completely eliminated that taste. For reference, I bought a super moist Betty Crocker dark chocolate cake mix. I added an extra egg, around 1/2 tablespoon of espresso because it brought out the chocolate flavour a bit more, I only had a bit of butter so I added mostly oil but the rest was butter so for example the recipe called for 80 mL of oil, I put 75 mL of oil and 10g of butter. Lastly, I swapped the water for milk. Honestly, it’s a 10/10 hack that didn’t harm the cake in any way and made it so much better.

  20. I got a dark chocolate cake mix, do you recommend melting some chocolate and mixing it with the butter to enhance the flavour or should I just leave it as is. I’m also planning on putting some espresso powder to enhance the flavour.

    1. I would leave as is, add in 1tsp instant espresso powder. Hope it turns out great for you!

  21. It really does eliminate that cake-mix taste, plus anything with butter is better! Also, just increasing the volume by adding the extra egg and more fat gets rid of some of the over-sweetness of the mix. That’s my main complaint about cake mixes – too sweet!

  22. Had high hope for this hack but it failed twice! They cakes both fell instantly after taking them out of the oven. It also tastes eggy. Such a bummer to end up having to run out and buy a cake last minute. I did the tooth pick test and everything so they weren’t under cooked.

    1. you should first incorporate the melted butter in the mix well. then after a while when the butter is cooled you can add the milk and the eggs. You probably cooked the eggs cuz the butter was too hot.

      1. I will second that on cooking the eggs with too hot butter. I did that once and it was enogh to learn that lesson. Now i melt or brown the butter and than let it sit for 3-4 minutes maybe evn stirring just a little to help it cool just enough to not cook the eggs. i mix it in just a little and than add the eggs and milk. The cake falls in because the oven was not hot enough in most cases. Or do to over mixing. See when you mix a cake you are also mixing in AIR and when you cook it the air bubbles expand and then when you pull it out of the oven they deflate resulting in a collapsing cake. I watch a lot of The English baking show on bbc 🙂

  23. I’ve used this recipe to the point I feel comfortable tweeking it. I used softened butter, but I use the measurement before melting if I do melt the butter. There is a difference between 1 cup melted butter and one cup butter, melted. I also add some almond or vanilla flavoring. Also, it does take a bit longer to cook. I always check using a tooth pick in the middle. This cake gets rave reviews no matter where I take it. You can use any variety of cake (or as my grandson says, any flavor) and any Name Brand. It works! I’ve also added a few chocolate chips to the chocolate cakes I make.

  24. Mixed up the batter based on the Ingredient list. Cakes looked beautiful but fell upon cooling. The cakes still taste good.
    Went back and read the Instructions only to find the measurements don’t match with my cake mix directions, too much liquid.
    Will have to try again with simpler directions of add 1 egg, use milk instead of water, and double melted butter instead of oil.

    1. They may be falling due to the high fat content. You make try adding equal parts. So if it calls for 1 cup oil, use 1 cup of melted butter. The cake is becoming far too dense. You could cook it longer or just reduce the fat content.

  25. I hate the cheap tissue papery texture of normal box mix and will never make it that way again after learning this hack! That being said, if you don’t want dense, maybe not for you. Just do it the normal way 😉
    I use salted butter and half n half (same measurements and eggs as the author). The end result is superb, moist and has a more complex flavor (there’s plenty of sweet to offset the salted butter, trust me). It’s worked well as both cupcakes and sheet cake, with a variety of white/yellow box mixes. I used a box of funfetti recently. ***Important! To avoid sinking, resist the urge to open the oven door partway through and bake it a little bit longer.*** Yum yum!! Thank you.

  26. Sabrina,
    I followed everything in the recipe. I made mini cakes which baked up beautifully, then fell even more magnificently while cooling on the baking rack.

    What could have happened???

    1. Oh no! Sounds like they needed to be baked longer possibly? Even if the crust looks golden, the inside might not have been fully set.

      1. Do you have any adjustments or tips for using your recipe for high altitude? I live at 7100ft. Thanks

    1. I made this with a chocolate fudge cake mix. I made cupcakes. The only thing I changed is they definitely needed to bake for almost 10 more minutes than the box said. The cakes were moist and delicious. I rarely make box cakes but following this rule, I will make more. Thanks for this recipe.

  27. This is a HUGE game-changer! Although, a whole cup of butter seemed like a lot so I added about a 3/4 cup and it turned out great nonetheless. You can barely recognize the artificial cake mix flavor and it has such a better, more natural texture! I recommend using good quality eggs, helps the taste a lot. Will do again

  28. hey, i tried this hack with the betty crocker yellow cake mix and the result was really good. But can you please tell me about the chocolate cake mix of the same company? should I swap coffee for water or milk will work?

    1. I haven’t tried it with a coffee swap but that sound intriguing. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

    2. Try doing half the liquid as buttermilk and the other half as coffee. Be careful if it’s hot, you dont want to cook eggs. You should probably add milk to the coffee to cool it.

  29. There are a lot blogs etc that talk about ingredient additions / subtractions to box mixes but I rarely see anyone specifically speak to the balance or chemistry of the recipe. I am not a chef or a chemist so I don’t want to experiment or waste ingredients- but I do want to improve my ‘ convenient’ baked good. For example, can I add an extra egg, switch the oil to melted butter, add sour cream etc….. how much? Am I replacing water with milk 1:1? Could the water be replaced with sour cream or yogurt or do I still need both in the recipe. How do additions or subtractions/ substitutions possibly effect things like leavening, browning, cooking time? That’s the kind of information I would appreciate to deviate from the box. I’d love if you would address this topic seeing as you have the background.. Thanks.

    1. I am so sorry the comment is so old and I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.

      I’m sorry, I haven’t experimented with those variations, so I couldn’t speak to how they affect the recipe. I do appreciate your compliments as to my expertise, but baking is a precise science and I don’t feel comfortable speculating as to how those changes would affect the recipe. Sorry!

  30. Hey I want to try your cake hack recipe to make my cake taste like the bakery, I just have one question is it salted butter or unsalted.

  31. This recipe is awful! I followed the directions exactly but my instincts were telling me that there was way too much butter & I was right! As other reviewers stated, my cakes looked really nice when I took them out of the oven & then within a few minutes they totally collapsed! I was going to make a Boston Cream Pie using one layer. I ended up using both & putting the filling between the 2 layers. The cake was not good. It was just dense & gross. I used Betty Crocker super moist yellow cake mix, 15.25 ozs. The directions called for 1 cup water so I used 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup softened butter so I used 1 cup melted butter, & 3 eggs so I used 4 eggs.

    1. Hi! I’m thinking of trying this recipe today, but I only have stick margarine on hand. Any thoughts on using this? I’ve never made a cake using anything but boxed directions so I’m clueless?

      1. I agree BUT under the word Ingredients, it says to use 1 cup melted butter. In my review I said that I should have known that was too much. So, my thought is that the directions should match the ingredients list. It is very confusing.

      1. This Betty Crocker yellow cake mix she uses here calls for 1/2 cup oil, not 1/3 cup. I happened to have the exact same mix in my pantry and am making this as we speak. It is possible that it will end up being too much butter, but 1 cup IS double the amount called for on the box.

    2. Hi! I’ve done this recipe and loved it, but she says to double the butter. If they ask for 1/3 cup melted, butter, do 2/3 cups melted butter OR just do 1/3 cup. I didn’t have as much butter, so when my cake mix called for 1/2 cup oil, I just did 1/2 cup melted butter. I also recommend using SOFTENED butter, not melted, creaming it, and then using it in the mix. Anyway, your Boston creme cake idea sounds awesome!!

    3. I did only use 2/3 cups of butter and mine fell too Katherine.
      And I understand why you put 1 cup of butter… that’s what it says in the ingredients!! The directions give different directives for how much of each item to add. It’s kind of confusing.

    4. You added too much butter! Doubling the butter means you should have added 2/3 cup of softened butter. But also softened butter takes more space than melted butter, so you should have used a little more than 1/2 cup of melted butter.

    5. Sounds like you tripled the butter instead of doubling! That would make a big difference. Maybe next time try 1/2 cup butter instead of a third if you don’t want a super dense and moist cake.

    6. I have used this recipe several times. It’s actually amazing but you need to use the spring back test in addition to the clean toothpick test. I start by adding 5 minutes of baking time, then I check. I also took the first one out of the oven too early. Learn from your mistakes. Try it again! It’s incredible.

  32. Fab.U.lous!
    Thank you! I trust you, and you’re my go-to lady for good recipes and great advice. I love your honesty in admitting just how good it was…and the adorable toddler story 😀
    It really is as good as she says!

  33. When you used the evaporated milk, was it ounce for ounce the same amount of the liquid called for on the box?

  34. So I’m recreating the Max and Ruby cake from the kids show, I got 2 boxes of angel food confetti cake mix, but it only says to add water??should I just substitute for milk only?

      1. My experience was an epic fail. We have dairy issues, so butter and milk are not options. I used almond milk, which works super-well in everything else I make. I didn’t have any margarine except the 40 percent spread, which is mostly water, so I just added a little more oil than the package called for, plus the extra egg. Oh, and I added 1/4 cup cocoa powder because we wanted a chocolate cake and I only had a yellow cake mix. Since my 2-year-old oven tends to run hot, I put the timer on for 3 minutes less than the minimum that the box said to bake it. Even so, the cake was already done and I worried it might even be overdone. Turns out I should have taken it out 4 or 5 minutes sooner than I did. It was very dense with no crumb texture. It wasn’t springy like cake. Also, it had a very weird flavor. The box cake on its own would have been way better. Even peanut butter frosting could not redeem it.

        1. I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work out well for you. Maybe I have another recipe that will suit your needs better!

Show More Comments