Boxed Cake Mix Hack

12
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Easy Boxed Cake Mix Hack for how to make a box of cake mix taste like a bakery cake with a couple extra ingredients and homemade frosting.

Even an easy Cake Recipe made from scratch takes quite a bit of prep time and ingredients. Cut your time and shopping list in half with this hack to turn boxed mix into a semi-homemade version of classic Yellow Cake. Works with Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Cake, or any other favorite box cake mix too!

Boxed Cake Mix Hack slice on plate with fork

No matter how fancy the brand, boxed mix cake baked to the package instructions simply isn’t going to be as rich or moist as a decadent cake made from scratch. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a delicious homemade taste with a box of store-bought cake mix though! All you need is an extra egg and the ingredient swaps in this box cake mix hack to upgrade your favorite box cake mix with the richer taste of a from-scratch cake.

There’s a time and place for fully homemade cake recipes, however, when you’re in a pinch and you want to use a shortcut, this easy cake baking hack is a game changer. You won’t believe how simple it is to make a box cake better and it still comes together in no time. You start with a favorite cake mix, add an extra egg, swap the water with milk, use two times the butter for oil. The result is the ultimate moist cake full of richness with zero boxed mix taste.

Prepare to have your mind blown with this super easy cake hack! The best part is that you don’t have to over-complicate things with instant pudding or fancy extracts. You bake it according to the package instructions, so the baking time stays the same too. The last step in how to make a box cake taste like a bakery cake is to decorate it with some frosting from scratch. 

While how to make a box cake taste homemade is a breeze, upgrading a can of frosting is not so simple. Not only is homemade frosting more delicious, it’s also fluffy and easier to decorate with too. A basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so quick and easy, you won’t mind making the frosting from scratch. 

How to Make Box Cake Better

  • Cake Mix: This recipe uses a classic yellow cake mix, but you could try this method with any boxed cake mix flavor.
  • Ingredients: Add 1 more egg to the amount called for on the package instructions. Instead of water, use milk in the same amount. Instead of vegetable oil, you are going to use melted butter. Use double the quantity of butter for oil.
  • Bake: Before you begin mixing the cake batter, preheat the oven according to the box instructions. Prepare the batter, mixing until just combined and no dry streaks. Pour into a baking pan sprayed with baking spray. Bake for the amount of time listed on the box per type of pan you are using.
  • Frost: Prepare the frosting while the cake is cooling. If you are baking a layer cake, you want to use a cup of frosting for the filling, 1 cup for the crumb coating, and then the remaining cup will be divided into a final coat and decorations.

Homemade Frosting Recipes

FAQs for Cake Mix Hacks

Can I use these same tricks with homemade cakes?

You could definitely make your favorite cake recipes even more delicious with the cake hacks in this recipe. Swapping butter for oil gives it a richer flavor, and adding an egg or even just an extra egg yolk will make a homemade cake melt-in-your-mouth decadent. 

What flavor cake mix can I use?

You can use any cake flavor of mix that you prefer with this easy cake mix hack. Since you aren’t altering the flavor itself, besides adding some buttery richness, it works with any cake mix from white cake to vanilla to carrot cake!

Is butter or oil better for cakes?

Butter and oil both add moisture to cakes but there are different benefits to using each one. Oil always stays at room temperature so your cake will stay moist longer, especially stored at room temperature as well. Butter on the other hand adds a lot of rich, decadent flavor. 

Is it better to use water or milk for a box of cake mix?

It’s definitely always better to use milk in a boxed cake mix, despite what the package lists. Milk just has so much more flavor and the fat is going to bond better with the other ingredients, trapping the moisture. Your cake is going to be much more flavorful and melt in your mouth tender if you use milk.

Boxed Cake Mix Hack collage of mixing

Key Ingredients

  • Cake Mix: For this post, we used a simple yellow cake mix because it already has a buttery flavor that gets even better with the swaps. However, you can use any flavor you prefer and just adjust with the ingredients listed on the box.
  • Butter: Melted butter gives your cakes a richer taste and makes them super moist. Using melted butter instead of softened butter is better because it cooks quickly and incorporates evenly for a moist, buttery cake throughout.
  • Egg: One of the easiest ways to make a boxed cake taste better is to simply add an extra egg. The egg yolk adds a richer flavor and the whites are what add moisture and air for a fluffier cake.
  • Milk: Obviously milk is going to have way more flavor and richness than water. Using whole milk is best because the extra fat will keep the cake moist longer.
  • Frosting: A classic vanilla buttercream is great for boxed cakes because it is super easy and goes with every cake flavor. Plus you can add some food coloring to easily turn it into a fun festive cake for celebrations.

Can you do this Boxed Cake Hack ahead of time?

While you can certainly bake the cake and freeze it before frosting, this really isn’t a cake recipe to make ahead of time. Obviously the dry mix is already prepared and once the batter is combined, you need to bake the cake. You could make the frosting in advance though and keep it chilled, then use your hand blender to whip it back up until it’s fluffy again.

Boxed Cake Mix Hack collage of frosting

Variations

  • Frosting: There are so many easy, amazing frosting recipes to choose from like Peanut Butter Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, if you want a boost of flavor without a bunch of extra work.
  • Mix-Ins: Some tasty, simple mix-ins for cake mix are chocolate chips, toffee bits, berries, dried fruit, candied cherries, or butterscotch chips.
  • Flavorings: You could also use extracts like vanilla or almond to bring out flavors. Chopped maraschino cherries and almond would be delicious especially in summer! A pinch of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg make a big impact too.
  • Pumpkin: Make the easiest fall cake by swapping half the butter with Pumpkin Puree and add a couple teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice. Frost with cream cheese frosting!
  • Pudding: While you don’t have to use a pudding mix to make a boxed cake taste better, it is another easy hack. You want to use instant pudding. Prepare it for the box instructions with the milk for the cake batter. 

Classic Cake Recipes from Scratch

How to Store

  • Serve: Boxed Cake Mix Hack can be kept at room temperature, unfrosted, for up to 4 days. If frosted with a dairy-based frosting such as buttercream or cream cheese frosting, refrigerate covered 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

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

Easy Boxed Cake Mix Hack for how to make a box of cake mix taste like a bakery cake with a couple extra ingredients and homemade frosting.
Yield 12
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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.

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Comments

  1. Hi.I have a box of super moist chocolate devils foodcake mix.I have to use it before it expires.What kind of frosting will go with this?

  2. Does this only work with yellow cake mix or can the same measurements and ingredients be used for strawberry cake mix and vanilla cake mix?

  3. The resulting cake tastes nothing like the boxed cakes my family made throughout my childhood! It’s light, flavorful, and moist with no hint of the usual box cake taste. My son devoured it for his bday and his grandma said it tasted homemade. Thanks for the easy hack!

    1. I love to hear comments like yours! So glad your son enjoyed it and thanks Amber, for the 5 star rating!

  4. I’ve used this recipe over and over for a yellow cake mix, soooo delicious! What would you recommend for a German chocolate cake mix or other chocolate cake?

  5. I use this hack now every time I make a cake with a boxed mix. It turns out great everytime. I always get lots of compliments. Thanks!!

  6. I made this into a Bundt cake, it had a great rise while baking and I was afraid it would overflow the pan. Other than taking an extra 20 minutes baking time it looks good, waiting now to see if it will come out of the pan in one piece, it seems really light and fluffy, definitely not heavy like a bakery cake which is what I was going for. Fingers crossed it doesn’t fall apart I don’t want to have to make truffles for dessert tomorrow lol.

  7. I found this recipe to be very good. My large yellow cupcakes turned out perfect. I used a Duncan Hines cake mix. Only added 1 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of flour, 4 eggs and 1 stick of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Batter was thick! I give the recipe 5 stars.

  8. Does anyone else have a problem with their cupcakes going flat, not rising up in a dome? I’ve tried this recipe several times and my cupcakes always go flat, regardless of the type of cup I use.

    1. One note on the cupcakes going flat, it could be to temperature variations (you could get an oven thermometer), or it could be over-mixing the batter. Also, it could be due to adding too much batter to the cups. With this batter being thicker, try only filling halfway.

      As far as this “hack,” it’s lovely! Dense, delicious cake. I have a different recipe I’m used for years to make “gourmet” cake, using a box cake but didn’t have all the ingredients. I found this recipe, and it’s fantastic, thank you!

  9. I’m revamping my last question: Why do some people add flour to the box cake hack? I noticed you don’t. Is it a preference? What would the reason be?

    Thank you

    Peter

    1. I found this recipe to be very good. My large yellow cupcakes turned out perfect. I used a Duncan Hines cake mix. Only added 1 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of flour, 4 eggs and 1 stick of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Batter was thick! I give the recipe 5 stars.

  10. Unfortunately it does not work with lemon cake mix. But you never know until you try. At least I had not made the frosting so those ingredients were not wasted.

  11. I tried this yesterday with a red velvet box cake from 2020. I sifted the mix, then followed the instructions as in the article, and honey, it came out moist, light and delicious, without that “cake mix taste”. I ended up putting Simple Syrup to add more moisture. The guys love it! (Sweetie and grandson). 5 stars for this adjustment. Plan on using it for 2 cakes I’m making later this week…

    1. This is the only way that I make cakes anymore. I add a snack cup of applesauce or a small package of pudding into the mix… moisture problem solved!!

  12. I tried this “trick” for both a cake and cupcakes. It did not work. When I took everything out of the oven, initially it looked super fluffy, but once it cooled, it caved in on itself and went all wrinkly. Would not try again.

    1. Same! Came out of the oven beautiful, and began to collapse a few minutes later. I’m so grateful that I made a “test” batch of cupcakes before making a multi layer birthday cake! Even though collapsed to flat tops, the cupcakes are delicious and very moist. Unfortunately that moisture is oil and has completely soaked through the pretty paper liners.

  13. This didn’t come out. Followed the instructions to the letter and the cake did not rise – super thin. You also have to reduce baking time.