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!
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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
- 1 box Yellow Cake Mix
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup butter , melted
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 3 cups Buttercream Frosting
- 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.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.
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.
I will bake one this week thank you
Did this. Wonderful results. Thanks very much
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.
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?
So light and airy! Tasted delicious. Will definitely make this recipe again!
Why add flour to the box cake mix
Did you use salted or unsalted butter?
Always use unsalted butter when baking..
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.
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.
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…
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!!
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.
Mine did the same thing ?
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.
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.
Making a yellow cake taste like bakery??
This was delicious! I took a Betty Crocker Moist Yellow cake mix and added 1 cup of butter and 4 eggs. I forgot to melt the butter, but it was very soft when I added it in. I did have to add 18 minutes on the baking time (not sure if that was related to the butter not being melted). After the first additional 10 minutes, I covered it with foil for another 5 minutes. The toothpick came out clean but I felt like the cake needed more color, so I took the foil off and baked it for 3 minutes. Perfection! The cake had a wonderful taste and texture. I highly recommend this box cake mix hack!
Won’t be doing this again! Made both chocolate & white cupcakes using these modifications and all of them sunk in the middle and the tops were dry. 🙁
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?
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
Yes ma’am, for a white cake use only egg whites and yes add the extra egg white
This was brilliant! Came out fantastic. Would this also work with white cake?
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!!!
Terrible … way too much butter … had to throw away. What a waste.
I have used these hacks before. The best one is to add an extra egg, replace the water with milk, (whole milk, half and half, or buttermilk work best) and do NOT replace the oil with butter. Just use the oil as stated on the pkg.
It will turn out perfect!!
Amazingly good and easy to make.
Cake fell. Very disappointed.
Can this be made dairy free? Almond milk? What could replace the butter if anything
cake sank just like if I used the dic=rections on the box
I tried this and the cake fell, possible to much batter in the pan?
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!
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.
I so injoyed watching this and reading it thank you so much
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 🙂
Hi! You would measure while solid and then melt it down. Hope that helps!
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
One cup of butter is two two sticks from the 1 lb box.
Aren’t you brilliant, bravo!!
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!!
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.
i did this and the baking time has almost tripled……. still a little sticking to the toothpick……..
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!
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!
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.
Thank you Lauren!
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!
Thank you, Maureen!
I don’t think this was a compliment! Too many people having trouble with this. I won’t be making this again!
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 🙂
Thank you, Phinneas for the information!
Tried it twice but used the mix for cupcakes. Both times the cupcakes fell and ended up dense, like hockey pucks.
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.
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.
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?
Terrible. I love almost all your recipes and baking but DRY, a waste of money.
I’m so sorry this recipe was not to your liking. Hopefully, there is another recipe that will be more to your liking.
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! ?
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.
I haven’t tried it that way so I am not sure exactly how that would turn out!Sorry!
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
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.
Oh my bad typo…. Whole milk!
Can I use half n half for the milk? If not do you recommend white mold? Thanks
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.
Hi! I haven’t tried that yet! Sorry!
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!
Thank you so much! so glad you enjoyed this recipe so much!
Look for Lemon Love Cake recipe. I think this is what you’re looking for…
Hope this helps… Alexandra
Softened butter, NOT melted butter should be used . Please don’t blame the people for the cake falling, As You said, Oven must’ve not been preheated . Too many complaints with this recipe. And TOO MANY EXCUSES BY YOU
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?
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?
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!
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.
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.
I would leave as is, add in 1tsp instant espresso powder. Hope it turns out great for you!
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!
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.
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.
i incorporated the butter into the mix fully then added milk and eggs.
cupcakes still fell
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for adding that tip, Megan.
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???
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.
Do you have any adjustments or tips for using your recipe for high altitude? I live at 7100ft. Thanks
Mine collapsed, too.
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.
Good to know about needing to bake longer. Thanks for the tip.
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
Yay! Thanks for coming back to let me know, Autumn.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Unsalted 🙂 Enjoy!
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.
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?
It says use twice the butter and you used three times the butter. 1/3 cup times 2 is 2/3.
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.
Doubling 1/3 cup butter should be 2/3 cup… not 1 cup.
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.
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!!
Then you used too much butter. 1/3 double does not equal 1 cup!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
When you used the evaporated milk, was it ounce for ounce the same amount of the liquid called for on the box?
I used whole milk for this hack.
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?
I’ve not tested this with an angel food cake mix. I’m not sure what adjustments would need to be made. Sorry.
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.
I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work out well for you. Maybe I have another recipe that will suit your needs better!
UT-OH, I put it in a bunt pan! It’s in the oven now. I am afraid to look. lol
My daughter and I made my brother a cake using DH super moist and made a homemade chocolate frosting using GV baking cocoa powder. I was afraid that it wouldn’t come out right using cheaper ingredients but let me tell you that I was so wrong. I have always used hacks and people swear the cake is homemade. I always use half milk and half water, and all of my ingredients are always room temperature. I live where the humidity is ridiculous even in the cooler months so I find that when baking the ingredients must be acclimated to the temperature of the room. We bought him a cake from a bakery that he hated (it was awful), and he said that he would take the bakery some of my chocolate frosting because that’s what chocolate should taste like. Great post!
Hello! Just have a quick question…why did my cake overflow??? Did all the adjustments as you posted and while the cake tastes delicious I just want to know what I did wrong. Also it seemed like the cake would never be done…i think I had it in oven for like an hour!
Thanks in advance for any tips you may have!
Oh no! What size pan did you use?
Funny thing I was at my friends place and looking there his cupboards for ingredients to bake somthing yummy and came across boxed cake so thought fine instead of following the exact measurements I improvised milk and cream for water and added bananas for moisture and extra egg…omg turned out amazing everyone though was home made but never thought to substitute butter for oil next time I will
I have been wanting to try this cake mix hack. I am 99% a from scratch baker, but there really is no problem with a box.
When I read your directions, you state to put 1 1/4 cups milk, but then state to put the same amount of milk as the box states, that would be 1 cup.
Also, you state to double the amount of butter. That would be 2/3 cups, not 1 cup as stated in your recipe.
So, do I follow your directions or the back of the box doubling the butter to 2/3 cups and keeping the liquid (the milk) 1 cup or use your directions for 1 1/4 C milk and 1 cup butter.
My box must have asked for different amounts so just follow the instructions with your box amounts and that should work.
What about using buttermilk instead of reg milk?
I am so sorry, 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 tested that recipe so I couldn’t speak to it.
I saw a lot of complaints of the cake falling after coming out of the oven. Mine has only been out for about 10 minutes and aside from falling slightly in the oven (the center rose high out of the pan and then sunk back down) and the outside baking much quicker than the center I didn’t have much difficulty with the recipe. I am yet to taste it but it smells fantastic
This looks great! Can your subs be picked as needed? For example, add an egg and use whole milk but keep the oil in the same amounts. Or another switch as needed.
Also, would this work with DH Perfectly Moist Strawberry Supreme or is that just marketing LOL?
You need to double the amount of oil with melted butter for this to work. I haven’t tried it with that particular box mix but if you decide to try, I’d love to know what you think. Thanks!
I made this tonight with a white cake. I turned out fabulous! I hate boxed cakes but my husband just has to buy them when they are sale. I ate 2 pieces! I can deal with boxed cake this way. Make sure you follow the instructions right. It says use butter for oil but double the amount. So 1/3 cup oil would be 2/3 cup butter. Oddly I was out of unsalted butter and salted butter turned out fine.
That’s amazing, Misty!
Does this work with gluten free boxes?
Personally, I haven’t tested it using a GF mix. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!
I can’t help but think maybe the people who failed at this are in higher altitudes or something? I made this with my daughter and it was easily the best cake we’ve ever made. Usually, we just follow the instructions as printed because I’m not much of a baker but she loves to make things in the oven, and I can safely say we’ll never make it to spec again!
My recipe calls for but so do I still double it?
I’ve always just added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into the water amount called for on the package directions & then baked the cake or cupcakes. This is simple & does the trick. Makes it taste homemade.
Yes, vanilla is huge flavor boost. This recipe calls for swaps that also affect the texture to make it taste more homemade. Happy thanksgiving!
Wait, you left out what the little chef’s feedback. The story was the best part, though I will try the hack. With a little less butter, but will try it sometime, alot of butter tends to kill my baked but that is prolly due to where I live. Will play safe and de/in-crease on the next.
My GF box mix already says to use 1 stick butter (not oil). Should I still double it to 2 sticks? The other ingredients match up with what you say.
I’ve not tested this using a GF box mix so I’m not sure of the right answer. If you decide to test, then yes. I’d double it.
Can you use salted butter or does it have to be unsalted? Thank you in advance.
I used unsalted butter.
Will this work with chocolate cake mix
Honestly, I I’m ready to make this cake, I have melted butter cooling, eggs sitting to get to room temperature, and now I’m seeing all of the comments that the correct amount of ingredients is totally confusing! I have a Betty Crocker cake mix. States 3 eggs, so I’m using 4 eggs. Asks for 1-1/4 C of water so I am replacing with 1- /4 cups of milk, not one cup? I’m also seeing one C of butter, which is TWO sticks of butter – even though the recipe on the box calls for 1/2 C of oil. I really don’t want to end up with something that ends up in the garbage can so clarification woukd be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Yes two sticks of butter , can’t go wrong with extra butter. I just made a Betty Crocker mix and it came out perfect!!
This hack is the best ever for last minute events. Most of my friends cannot believe it is not “from scratch”. Thanks to your toddler for prompting it.
Could you substitute the milk with almond milk?
I am using a 10″ springform pan. I hope it is all the hype and more! I will update, but I have to say that the batter looked really thin, is that normal?
This hack can be found all over the internet, and it does work. But you made one mistake, and notice many mention that their cakes/cupcakes collapsed. Your INSTRUCTIONS say “Replace the oil with melted butter. DOUBLE the amount”, but your INGREDIENTS say ” 1 cup melted butter”. Most box mixes call for 1/3 cup oil, so by your “instructions”, that would be 2/3 cup oil, yet your “ingredients” call for a full cup. That’s probably why many cakes/cupcakes fell flat after baking.
That’s an interesting thought. Thanks for the feedback.
Actually Niki the box I’m using calls for 1/2 cup oil so therefore I would use a cup of butter. Her ingredients were for the mix she was using but her directions go for any mix someone is using – so no mistake made!!
Well, It depends on what cake mix you are using and what brand.
I used the full cup of butter and the box indicated 1/3 cup oil and my cake fall flat after baking & was greasy.
I had been wanting to “fancy up” a box of cake mix I had in the pantry for awhile now…I heard it was possible a long time ago so I searched and this recipe came up. It was perfect!! I melted 2 stick of unsalted butter and let them cool to room temperature, then mixed as directed. I do want to say I had to let it cook about 10 minutes longer than what the package says with this recipe — when I went to check it after 35 minutes it had risen a LOT but still looked slightly gooey in the middle so I put it back in for 10 minutes, tested it with a toothpick in the middle to be sure and it was perfect. Perhaps that is why the other commenters are having issues…mine did fall after being out of the oven but it fell to normal expected cake height, nothing like a pancake. I wasn’t patient enough to put it in the fridge…I had to have a piece right away and it was worth every calorie! My only regret was not making homemade frosting but there’s always next time. Thank you for sharing this great boxed cake mix hack!
Mine fell as well. Here’s what I used: Betty Crocker Super Moist Vanilla Cake. The package required 3 eggs, I used 1 additional egg, totaling 4 eggs; required 1 cup water which I replaced it with 1 cup of whole milk; and required 1/2 cup of oil which I replaced with 1 cup of unsalted softened butter (4 sticks). The batter was very thick. I then baked in (2) 9 inch cake pans at 325 degrees farhrenheit for a total of 35 minutes versus 24-29 minutes as indicated on box. I tested each cake with toothpicks, and they both came out clean. I then removed the cakes from the oven and in short time, they fell. I think that next time I would not purchase the “super moist” cake mix. This may have been the problem. We shall see. Thank you for sharing your experiences 🙂
One of the issues might have been the butter. If you used 4 sticks of butter, that would be 2 cups. Each stick is a half of a cup. I’m getting ready to try it. Hoping for good results.
Another thought comes to the fact that butter is made of a mix of fat and water and oil is completely made of fat. When using butter, the water in it evaporates in the heat. Causing it to expand in the oven, then fall at room temperature after the steam is gone. Just a thought. Hope this helps.
I’m confused with substitutions you made with the butter.
1.) Replace water amount with whole milk. 1 cup of water = 1 cup of whole milk.Complete
2.) Add an extra egg to the mix. 3 whole eggs = 4 whole eggs. Complete
3.) Double the oil called for in the mix and replace with melted, unsalted butter.
Mix calls for 1/2 cup of oil = change to 1 cup of oil
1 cup of oil = 1 cup of melted, unsalted butter (2 sticks of butter) (1 stick of butter is 1/2
cup) BUT IT SAYS YOU USED 4 STICKS? That would be 2 cups NOT 1 cup.
4.) Could that be the issue?
I did cupcakes and they all fell in the middle! They taste good, a little eggy but good.
Salted or unsalted butter? I only buy salted usually, but it seems like this would need unsalted since oil is not salty. Thanks!
Smelled and tasted good but my cupcakes sunk ?? Not sure what happened
Mine too! Think I may have over-mixed. I’m going to try again now, i’ll update with how it goes!
Did you use salted or unsalted butter?
Living in the south, we are born learning how to do things a little differently just because that’s how it’s done! I used this hack and gave it 5 stars… of course that was in doing it the southern ways. It was not mentioned but my eggs were at room temperature, I sifted the cake mix beforehand… you’d be surprised what is left in the sifter… looks like grits! And I used evaporated milk. Did everything else as prescribed and it came out perfectly and beautifully. I am pleased. Thank you. Will use this hack again. I am gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free but still make things for others. They proclaimed it delicious! Oh yeah… also used convection oven setting. But other than that… ha!
The first thing I ever baked by myself was a box cake mix. I was 6.
Told Momma I wanted cake.
She was busy, so told me to make one myself. She said “you can read can’t you? Just read the directions on the box”.
I was pretty proud of myself!
Hahaha, love it.
Good for you! And be proud now still. I don’t remember at what age I started baking, but I do remember that the first thing was a boxed cake mix. I think I was older than 6, probably age 10, give or take a year. I loved baking and became the baker in my house until moving out several years later.
Nope, Nope, Nope. Cake fell as it was cooling. A LOT. I read the comments before I started so I used two cake pans and made a few cupcakes. Looked good coming out of the oven then collapsed. I think there’s too much butter – replace 1/3 cup of oil with a whole cup of melted butter? Too much. People who followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly – how did you do it?
The notes say to only double the amount of oil that is required on the back of the box. Sounds like you tripled it. I would say try it again but only use 2/3 cup of melted butter for the same box mix you just tried.
Per the given instructions, it says 1 cup of melted butter in the list. It should only be 2/3 cup of butter in the list. Maybe some are following given list before reading whole recipe??????
Did anyones look like a whipped cake? In oven now, ill see what happens!!
I only use duke Mayo or Hellman’s in my cakes always
What’s your recipe using mayo?
I would luv to try it that way as well.
I am lactose intolerant. Is lactose free milk a bad thing??
I used lactose free milk. Tasted good. Just dry. Is it the milk?
What do you think about subbing egg whites for eggs, to get a fluffier cake? I don’t want it to be too rich/dense!
I haven’t tested it. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!
Not the success on try #1 I would have like to have seen. The cakes rose alarmingly while baking and while they tested done and pulled from the sides, they collapsed horribly making for a dense cake. (RATS!)
This however, IMO was not the fault of the recipe — but rather — the size of the pans I used. I will try this again and divide into 3 pans OR will use larger cake tins so that the more delicate cake won’t have to hold up so much height.
(recipe readers — give this a try — but learn from my mistake!)
I wish I had read these comments first! My two 8” pans are over flowing in the oven.
OMG. I just realized what I did wrong as I type this.
I only used 2 cake pans but 2 boxes of mix. 1 with each daughter. Omg.
Trying this today with German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting.
Did it work well? Making one tomorrow for my mom so would love to know!
Can we used any flavor mix? Or
Can we add food coloring to make it fun the kids?
Sure 🙂 Have fun!
OMG tried this and worked SO WELL!!! Will definitely be doing again. Came out moist and fluffy and doesn’t taste like usually how box mix comes out. Thanks so much!
I love wedding cakes, so I thought I would try this recipe! I mean….it’s from an expert? I followed these directions exactly! The cake looked absolutely delicious when I took it out of the oven, It rose to the top of the pan!! I was excited to try it? I continued with making my dinner and when I came back to put icing on the cake! It had fell flatter than a pancake?and tasted AWFUL?What a waste of perfectly good ingredients!! Very disappointing!
Oh no! It sounds like the cake might not have been fully baked before taking it out. Sometimes the outside appears to be done but the inside still isn’t set. Did you check it with a toothpick before removing it?
Mine fell too. They puffed up nicely, I made sure the center poke was clean and even left it in the oven a couple of extra minutes to be sure. They were golden brown and fell to prebaking height within 10 mins of being out of the oven. It tastes good but is so flat I cut each in half so I could add height with fillings.
Same thing happened to me. I tested with fork and that spot sunked flat. Ugh
I do not bake well at all. I wanted to make a special cake for my daughter’s 16th birthday. Just the thought of doing this made me very nervous. The cake turned out beautiful and tasted amazing. My 19 year old son said it was better than store bought. I might be baking more often. Thank you for the tips.
So glad you decided to give it a try. I hope your daughter had a Happy Birthday!
I had a box of red velvet cake ans made it using this recipe on a whim… and WOW. I had a few neighbors who came by to chat so I shared it with them, and they were all very impressed! Some even ate up to 3 slices of the finished cake because they were that good! The cake turned out moist, fluffy and rose to a nice square shape (based on the pan). I had no issues with the cake falling as other commenters had and baked the cake for exactly 30min and then let it rest 5min in the hot oven + 30min cooldown. I followed the recipe loosely (milk mixed with water because I ran out of milk) but it still turned out great. I will only be using this recipe to bake my boxed cake mixes from now on! Thank you!!!
Will your recipe changes work for a Red Velvet cake?
So disappointed. I tried it twice and both times the cupcakes sank dramatically in the center. I used the Duncan Hines brand with yellow cake and strawberry. Both boxes turned out terrible. Such a waste of butter and eggs. The cake also didn’t look moist and yummy like the picture. I’d post pictures if I could.
Do we melt the butter first and then measure a cup? Or just melt the two sticks? Thank you for your help.
Just melt 2 sticks. Enjoy!
Can you substitute almond milk for regular milk?
I’ve not tested it that way but if you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!
My cake tastes great but it is only 1 inch thick. When I took it out from the oven it was high and when I let it cool it sank! What did I do wrong? First time this has ever happen to me.
Oh no! Sinking could have been from a few different reasons. It could have needed to bake longer, make sure to open/close oven door carefully, but the biggest one is to make sure you’re not over-mixing the batter. Hope this helps next time.
I really struggle with making cakes as something or the other goes wrong …. loved this hack as I can at least a make delicious cake from a box mix and it tastes nothing like a box mix … thank you for making a baking disaster moms life better …
Haha, you’re welcome!
Hi sabrina quick question you said we have to double the butter so if it says 1/2 oil and were subsisting it for butter do we put 1/4 butter since its double?
No, you’ll want to use 1 cup of butter.
I don’t have milk, can I just use the butter and extra eggs?
I’ve not tested it that way but if you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turned out. Good luck!
Is it ok to use margarine instead of butter? Thanks!
I’ve not tested it with that substitution, sorry.
Yummy cake – I typically don’t care for a boxed cake mix but with the additions made using this recipe and the buttercream icing recipe, it was delicious. My family enjoyed it as well. Will save and make again! Thanks for sharing!
I know this is supposed to be a hack for cake mix, which should ultimately be almost as easy as simply following the directions. However, on my second attempt I used the time while my butter was melting and cooling to separate the eggs and whip the whites. It complicated the recipe slightly, but it didn’t add any time to the project. Results were quite nice.
Hello! I’m trying to make a white box cake within the week and it calls for egg whites instead of whole eggs. Should I add an extra egg white or just leave that part alone and do the milk & butter? Thank you! Can’t wait to try this ?
I haven’t tested it with just egg whites but my gut is telling me it would still work. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turned out. Good luck!
When you say double the melted butter do you mean double the amount the box says for oil?
Hi, I just made this tonight with your butter cream frosting recipe too.
We’ll find out how it tastes tomorrow but I’m optimistic! If you say it’s great I take your word for it! ?
My Betty Crocker box said 1 cup water ( not 1 1/4 cups) like your modified/improved recipe stayed ( you said same amounts) so I just wanted to mention that as a friendly FYI ?
Thanks for the recipe!!
Thanks for letting me know – sometimes the cake mixes vary or they change their formula. Standard when I wrote the recipe was 1 1/4 but that may have changed 🙂
Let me know how the cake turned out!
Don’t use this recipe for cupcakes. They turned out horrible. Flat greasy and they spread all over. Works absolutely great for layer cakes though.
Good to know!
I read your comments while my cupcakes were in the oven baking! I was so worried they would be a flop. They weren’t. They turned out huge and perfect! Don’t be afraid to try them again, Joyce!
INCREDIBLE recipe and so easy. Follow the directions and you can’t go wrong!
I love this recipe! We have tried it with store brand and Pillsbury cake mixes. Both turn out great! Rave reviews from kids and adults plus it is so easy. Thank you! ?
You’re welcome! So glad they are working for you!
Worked like a charm! I added 2 tablespoons of King Arthur Cake Enhancer and have a luscious chocolate fudge cake.
What is King Arthur cake enhancer?
Thank you for this great recipe. It works perfectly except that I added 5 minutes for dark or coated pans and then added 10 minutes to the cooking time. Thank you.
Can I use water rather than milk but still make the other changes? I’m serving someone with a dairy allergy.
I’ve not tested it using water so I’m not sure how it’ll turn out.
Dairy allergy also means no butter, so make note of that. Also; most box cake mixes have the “may contain milk” warning on them. I’d bake from scratch for someone with a dairy allergy.
I tried this: Added an egg, used milk instead of water, and butter instead of oil (one stick, which is about .50 more than the oil in the instructions). I also added a tiny bit of vanilla extract.
It was really good. Held together well, tasted moist. I think next time I’m going to use lemon or orange juice.
This was great information! I used a yellow cake mix adding instant white choc pudding an extra egg yolk, whole milk and used oil, followed directions on box for baking. It was light, fluffy and delicious! Topped with homemade fudge frosting… yummy!! Thanks
So glad you enjoyed it, Christine.
I followed the exact directions but my cake came out flat, dense and undercooked. I had added 10 minutes to the cooking time. Dunkin’ Hines classic yellow mix. Don’t know what happened
Oh no! Cakes will tend to come out that way if the batter is over beaten. Try just folding the batter next time and popping it right in the oven next time. Good luck!
Quick question, can I place the cake layers in the fridge once cooked and cooled then frost in the morning.
Awesome moist cake recipe.
Yes, but I would recommend wrapping them in plastic wrap so that they don’t soak in anything from the refrigerator while in there. You can actually keep them in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
Came across this recipe and thought I would give it a go. I am a Baker, but always looking for new ways of doing things. So heres what happened, I mis-measured my butter, (I know, bad Baker, lol). Anyways, so I did swap the water for milk, which even amounts across is only 1 cup milk, not 1 1/4 cups. But since I was doubling, 2 cups, however, the butter I only did 1 cup, not 2 cups like I should have, and to be honest, came out just fine. Also, this was for a 12 inch cake in a 3in high pan. So tip: start the baking at the 350° F for about half the time, then lower to 330° F for the rest. This works with all cake sizes. Gives you the initial rise, then the lower temp continues to bake without crusting the outside.
Sorry, correction, the oil to butter transition was right, I was thinking of something else I did, myy apologies. On a side note though, this a great recipe, I would definately do again.
Thanks for the tipbyo lower the temp halfway…!! Worked great
Would margarine work instead of butter? or should I stick with just oil?…as those are the only 2 options I have in household.
I haven’t tested it with either so I couldn’t tell you for sure, but I’d probably say margarine since it’s meant to be a closer butter substitute. That much oil would weigh down the cake.
This is a fail proof formula. Everyone always loves my cakes, I just recently started using box hacks for convenience. I only have a problem with the calories…..it pushes them up. So, if your gonna splurge, go all the way.
Agreed! Thanks so much for the 5 stars.
May I ask the weight on your cake mix for the above recipe? Some cakes maybe collapsing because cake mixes are smaller now. I read some where to buy an extra box and add 1/3 cup of the 2nd box to the first box
I used a 15.25 ounce cake mix. Hope this helps!
I agree with the other commenter who thinks Duncan Hines box mixes are the best. I used a coconut one, and only had salted butter, so I used it. I had new, dark, non-stick pans, so I lightly oiled them, used parchment paper in the bottom, and lightly oiled it. I also baked at 325 as the box directed for 27 minutes.
They came out lovely, but did fall some upon standing. However, I sliced them into two layers when cool, and they have a lovely crumb, and are moist. The flavor was very good. I think for my cake- lemon curd between the layers, 7 minute frosting in the middle, top and sides, with coconut over all, it will be fine, and fool even the most picky cake-a-holic at dinner.
Ok so I didnt double the butter. I put them into a 9in round. I baked it according to direction and at the end of the 30 min it was not at all cooked. Now I do live in Las Vegas however were not that high in altitude. What did I do wrong? Side not they are rising pretty high.
The directions state to substitute with butter for the oil and double the amount.
I’m making a Pillsbury Funfetti cake for my granddaughter in a Wilton Wonder Mold Doll cake. I’ve read that the cake needs to be dense to hold the large mold. Any suggestions on how to alter the box recipe which calls for 1 c water, 1/2 c oil, 3 whole eggs.
I’ve never tested it that way so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. Sorry
Cake did not come out as described. Was way too moist and falling apart. Had to freeze what I could salvage to frost it. The taste was good but would not say the substitutions enhanced any flavors. Would recommend just sticking with the box recipe.
I’m so sorry it didn’t up end working for you.
Hello I was wondering if I could use salted butter?
You might be taking a chance because you never know how much salt is actually in salted butter.
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?
Yes, just melt down your two sticks of butter. 🙂
Do you recommend still adding a simple syrup after baking or omit simple syrup if I use the buttercream as an added ingredient?
I think I might be confused. I didn’t use a simple syrup for this recipe.
Did not care for it tasted way to much butter
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 did..it 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. 😀
Thanks for your feedback.
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!
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!
This hack has never worked for me when I tried it with Duncan Hines Butter cake mix.
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!
Oh my goodness, thanks for catching that! Don’t we all wish that was the correct number, haha!
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?
How did yours turn out?
If you live at higher altitude, add some extra flour-about 1/4-1/3 cup. And use a bundt pan. At 8,500ft, a falling cake is nature’s reminder of where you live. I’ve never been successful with layer pans and rarely a 9X13 pan. Buttercream it to the nines–yummmmy.
Did mine as three layers as I always do with a box mix, same as others have said, flat as a pancake ?
Not sure of taste yet
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?
I love everything from https://iambaker.net
She’s a genius and I’m sure would have the perfect recipe you’re looking for.
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?
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!
No. The added ingredients are fine without adding or subtracting any liquids. I add ingredients like that all the time for my family’s cakes.
my cake fell what did do wrong
Oh no! sounds like it was either over-mixed or needed to bake longer.
Would this work with vanilla Betty Crocker cake? I’m making one for my dads birthday today!
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.
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?
How awesome!! You can post your photos on instagram using the hashtag #dinnerthendessert . I can’t wait to see them!!
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.
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!
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 ?
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!
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.
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?
The rise should be the same so I would assume it would work for a tiered cake.
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!
So glad everyone enjoyed it!
What kind if milk should I use, 1, 2 percent or whole?
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?
It just gives it a deeper flavor. Hope you enjoy it!
Could heavy cream be used?
I’ve not tested it so I’m not sure. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!
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
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!
Yes, you’ll still want to double the butter and melt it. So glad you’re loving this hack!
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)?
Yes, that would work!
Hi! What would happen if I added vanilla pudding mix to this recipe/would you recommend?
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!
Why use unsalted butter ? How is it different from regular butter in cakes?
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.
When you say butter im assuming you mean real butter and not country crock?
would this work for a gluten free Betty Crocker mx? particular teh devils food cake one?
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.
Do you use salted or unsalted butter?
The recipe did not specify salted or unsalted butter. I bought salted assuming that was the default. Please amend your recipe. (I wondered about this at the store but it’s too late since I already bought the butter and I’m just now reading comments). I think I will make my cakes without trying your hack simply because I can’t afford to have them not turn out well. But thank you for posting this information.
can this hack be used with cake with pudding in the mix?
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.
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.
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!
Yes, you’ll still want to double the butter. 🙂
Cool! Thanks! I will try this today! Thank you so much for the feed back!
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.
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! !!
I’m so happy to see this!! Thank you so much!
Made this recipe yesterday, and OMG, it was SO DIVINE!! Even though I only had a limited amount of butter left (I used half butter and half margarine) it still tasted so buttery, and decadent! The only change I made was that I added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I also didnt mix it with an electric mixer, like some other user said not to, for fear of overmixing. My cake layers didn’t rise much, but I think that’s because I didn’t fill them a lot. I’d imagine a simple fix would be to use a little baking powder. They also turned out slightly dry, but for the taste, it was worth the sacrifice! And nothing a little sour cream can’t fix ? Other than that, this cake was so rich and perfect, and the best I’ve ever made! (I will email you pictures of it if you want)
I’d love that! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you! I will also join Rick in being one of the few boys in your blog comments, that appreciates the tip! And if works out well, You’ll be my next go to person for recipes and ideas! Sincerely, Robert
I’m a guy that loves to bake. As a teen (many moons ago) I worked in a bakery and they had the best tasting cakes, and frosting I’ve ever had. That was 43 yrs ago. I have searched and tried everything to make, or buy anything similar to the flavors of those cakes since with no avail. I was wondering if you had a white cake hack, not using yolks? White frosting? Thank You, Rick
That’s so awesome! You could swap out the eggs in this hack for 8 egg whites. You’ll still have a bit of color from the butter but you really need that for flavor. As for the frosting, I would suggest this one https://iambaker.net/whipped-vanilla-buttercream/ All of her stuff is pretty amazing! Good luck and keep on baking!!
LOVED this hack.
What is your buttercream frosting recipe?
I’m so glad you loved the hack! I don’t have a buttercream recipe but this one is amazing! https://iambaker.net/whipped-vanilla-buttercream/
I would strongly suggest cutting the mixing time to 60-70% on funfetti cakes if you’re going to do this. Will save you a redo and trip to the grocery store!
I tried this cake hack a few times now and most of the time my cakes turn out wonderful. Made two different kinds–cake and cupcakes–for my sons birthday and they were a huge hit. However, sometimes my cake turns out very dense. What am I doing wrong?
Hmm, it’s kind of hard to say. If you’re using the same ingredients and mix, I’m not sure why it would work out some times and not others. Could it possibly be that the more dense ones are mixed a bit more?? Sorry, I really wish I had a concrete answer to help.
I am one of those people who hate box cake mixes. But my reason is because of what the box cake people (Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker, etc.) did to the mixes when they decided to cheat us out of a few ounces of mix and changed the ingredients making the cakes not as good as they used to be. This past weekend I was stuck and had to come up with something in a hurry, so I followed advice I’d been given which was to buy 2 boxes (in this case it was Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake), place ingredients from box #1 in mixing bowl then weigh in an extra 3 oz of ingredients from box #2. This makes up for the 18.25 oz mixes we used to get instead of the 15.25 oz we get now. I just couldn’t stop there, so I searched the Internet (good thing). Changed the 1-1/2 cups water to 1-1/2 cups milk, 1/3 cup vegetable oil to 2/3 cup butter and added an extra egg making it 4. I figured that if this fails, I’ll just cover it all up with my homemade Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. Everyone loves that so much, it doesn’t matter what’s underneath. But, to my great surprise, the cake turned out terrific with a very fine crumb, dense and moist and it was almost 2″ high in a 9×13 pan. When I read some of the comments where there were failures, I started to wonder if that extra 3 oz made the difference. So, posted my comment to get your thoughts — or anyone else..
Interesting, thanks for the tip!
This was EXACTLY what I needed to read!!!!ive been making cakes for years using this box hack and never understood why my cakes & cupcakes always fell flat as soon as I took them out of the oven. They tasted ok and everyone swore they were the best tasting cupcakes… but I was always disappointed and just assumed I was a bad cake baker. I just tried this and added 3 extra oz of cake mix… I FINALLY have perfect cupcakes!!!! I’m thrilled!!! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!! I can’t believe I never came across this tip before!!
I’m so glad you found this then!! Yay!!
Thank you so much for this information! Going to try this today.
Hi- Would you mind sharing your recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting?
I made this today, best cake I have ever made, (I am not known for my baking abilities but this was fantastic).. It was a duncan hines yellow cake and it tasted like I bought it at a bakery… it was dense, but moist, no issues with it rising or sinking in the middle, it was perfect…. (be careful not to beat the batter with an electric mixer or over mix it, that has created many failures)
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the tip!
Renee, you’re absolutely right about not over-beating the batter. I find that beating the eggs in a separate bowl with a fork before adding to the mix allows you to do less mixing.
Did you follow the box instructions or beat for less time?
Box instructions, this is just an ingredient hack 🙂
For butter is it unsalted???
Yes, always unsalted as far as recipes go unless you see it ask for salted butter. 🙂
I know that this is an older post, but I tried this today, and followed everything… My cakes exploded and while the box said to cook for 40 minutes, at an hour they were still undone all the way through. I was so sad, as I was hoping this would turn out. 🙁
Oh no, that’s definitely not good. I’m so sorry. I’d be happy to troubleshoot with you to try and figure out what happened. This is a tried and true hack that I’ve used many times. Feel free to email me at [email protected]
Thanks For The Tips. I love Your Website. Keep up the Good Work.
I tried this recipe with a betty crocker chocolate fudge cake mix and made 24 regular size cupcakes. The batter was thick and creamy, but it didn’t rise well. Baked them according to package directions. All my cupcakes sank in the middle. They tasted good, but we’re very moist and messy.
Bummer, I wonder if the fudge factor made the difference. If you’d like, you can email me at contact @ dinnerthendessert.com and we can troubleshoot more to try and figure out what exactly happened. Happy to hear they still tasted good though.
I did the substitutions and it’s really runny/thin. Is that normal?
Sorry for the delay in responding to this, it got caught in the spam filter somehow. How did your cake turn out? I can’t say the batter has ever been runny or thin for me, can I ask which box mix you used?
I tried this recipe tonight and am disappointed and will go back to using the sour cream method. My cupcakes sunk in the middle and they are not as moist. I followed everything exactly. The batter was also to much like mousse which made it very difficult to make even cupcakes.
Oh no! I’m so sorry. The recipe has been tested extensively to work but if you would like to troubleshoot I would be happy to discuss it further. Email me at contact @ dinnerthendessert.com
I tried your recipe using a French vanilla mix. Mine came out really dense and heavy. Do you measure the butter after it is melted or cut off the measure from the stick and then melt it?
How much oil was the box mix asking for? The one I used asked for a half cup, so it was 1 cup melted butter as a replacement. Just double it and yes, it’s the melted measurement you’re looking for.
I’m confused – can you please clarify. Here you said to use “the melted butter measurement”, but you said previouosly “before it’s melted”, as below:
LACI CLARK — MAY 9, 2018 @ 11:54 AM REPLY
Do you measure your butter before melted or is that 1 full cup of when melted?
SABRINA — MAY 9, 2018 @ 11:07 PM REPLY
before it’s melted ?
Sorry for the confusion, you’ll be measuring out the butter before it’s melted.
Lillian leidner Really did you actually get upset over this smh. I did a small catering event with this recipe absolutely amazing reviews. Thank you very much!
In a previous answer you indicated measure butter before melted. Which is it?
You’ll want to measure the butter before it’s melted. Sorry for the confusion, clearly I need more coffee at times before responding, haha!
OMG, Sabrina! I use the Cake Mix Doctor to “fix” cake mix cakes but your hack even better! I’m always frustrated that my cakes don’t have that rich flavor that restaurant cakes have. This does it! Yum. Thank you, Sabrina.
Glad I could help! 🙂
Hi! Do you have to double the amount of butter? Would it be fine if it was not doubled? Thanks 🙂
The thing with the butter is intentional to make the cake have a denser, more luscious bakery flavor. Any alteration to it would sort of take a step backwards from trying to recreate a bakery flavor with a box mix, so it really isn’t recommended. Maybe looking for a light cake recipe would be a better option because I’m not sure how well this would turn out with 1/2 the butter.
I too cook from scratch. I did a taste test with a large group, and it was interesting. I made a scratch wedding cake and a box cake and everyone but one young man loved the scratch cake. He said that he grew up on box cakes so that was what he Was used too.
Cakes and breads are sooooo easy to make…. I loved your story the most. I too let my children in the kitchen to cook and bake and today my son is considering Culinary school in New York.
But it was your mom story that captured my heart,
Aww thanks Bonnie! I try to keep to whole foods as much as possible but sometimes it just is all about the moments instead. There was so much fun in that experience I wouldn’t have traded it 🙂
I know this is an older post… so hopefully you see this… have you tried this hack with gluten free box cake mix? I always find they are SUPER dense and/or light, but VERY dry 🙁
Just curious! If not, I’ll give it a shot next time anyway 😉
I wish I could say that I have but I have not. Sorry I couldn’t be more help, a good friend of mine has an awesome GF blog though, http://www.dishingdelish.com I would reach out to her or even check her site for cake recipes?
I have made this “boxed cake miracle” many times. It is a true winner! It is now my go to for any event from showers to atta girl celebrations. No longer do I invest the time it takes to make my cakes from scratch. This is just as good if not even better!
for chocolate cake mix for cupcakes should I also replace the water for milk? And if yes, do I use whole milk?
Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! I know you’ve probably made this recipe long ago at this point but if you still want to troubleshoot I am always available via email too contact @ dinnerthendessert.com
Olive oil is supposed to yield a tender crumb; would you recommend subbing OO for any of the butter? Also, what’s you opinion of using clarified butter as an alternative to melted butter?
Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! I wouldn’t substitute olive oil as the flavor is quite pronounced. I find butter is a good ingredient to use here. I haven’t tried baking with clarified butter so I can’t attest to how it would work/taste. If you do try it I would love to hear how it turned out though?
I have a chocolate butter cake mix, would I still need to double the butter?
Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! Sorry I realize how late I am getting back to you, but I’ve never even seen that sort of cake mix before.
I am so excited to make this recipe! Thanks!!
I just used this hack for chocolate cupcakes. They turned out perfect. I added this hack to the side of my fridge! On a sticky note, a place reserved for only the tried and true recipes.
Great! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Would this Recipe make good cupcakes can I make this two days before and leave it on counter in airtight container Thanks
Sorry this totally got snagged in my spam filter and I just saw it. Yes, they would definitely be fine, just ice them right before you need them…although I’m guessing your event happened already and I missed the window to help. Sorry. 🙁
Did you say double the butter for oil. 2 cups of butter
Your box mix calls for a full cup of oil? The one I used asked for a half cup, so it was 1 cup melted butter as a replacement.
Do you measure your butter before melted or is that 1 full cup of when melted?
before it’s melted 🙂
Do I use salted or unsalted butter as the addition?
Unsalted. I almost never use salted butter on anything except toast 🙂
I am going to try this ….my daughter-in- law to be asked me if I could make her and my son their wedding cake. I bake all the time so “why not”. She wants a “crazy Daisy” cake with rich butter cake and buttercream frosting. This will probably what I will fix….wish me luck and thank you for this cake mix idea.
I hope you love it! The cake is rich and delicious and I didn’t get a single “hmm box mix?” reaction to it at all! And congratulations on your son’s wedding!
Yum! That cake looks so moist and delicious! We’re going to have to do this hack next time we make a cake!
Thanks! A little extra effort can make a huge difference!
I live near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The elevation here is nearly 6000 feet – are there any adjustment to this recipe (other than those on the box) that you would recommend? Thank you!
No, I think you are good to go with whatever it printed on the box. 🙂 This recipe is incredibly easy and not fussy.
The perfect and creative way to add value to your money! LOVE THIS!!!
Thanks Levan 🙂
You are so creative. Never wouldve thought to use box cake and turn it into something elegant looking. Great job!
Pillbury makes these cool all natural cake mixes now- no artificial flavors or colors! Great for people who think they don’t approve of cake mix. 🙂
Sounds like a better option!
What a great way to tranform ordinary cake. Love it!
Thanks! I have to say when I tried it I was super skeptical (I actually thought “this better be good I spent more on the butter that went into this than the cake itself!”) so I was totally pleasantly surprised!
And so it begins…..there is a reason those cake mixes and sweetened cereals are at kid level. I always have to reach to the top shelf to get the puffed wheat. This is making me want cake of any kind!
Yep! Now if only my husband could resist the Lucky Charms, he buys right in too!
Wow that is a really pretty little cake. I so need to try this for my daughter’s birthday tea party in April.
One year I did it just like that and did the frosting in rainbow colors. Thinner layers, six colors of frosting in between and I didn’t ice the outside. You would’ve thought I was a superhero my oldest loved it so much.
I love using box mixes when I can! I will have to try this hack out!
I hope you love it!
What a fun way to make a boxed cake look (and taste like a million bucks). I am going to suggest something like this for my birthday cake!
Hope you love it!
Ooh I’m going to have to try this with cake mixes from now on. It’s crazy how much of a difference that change made.
Oh yes, the magic that double the butter will create, haha.
Why do you have to double the butter? Just curious. I have to make cupcakes for a wedding and I want to try to doctor up a cake mix.
Cake mix is lighter in texture and doubling the butter gives weight to the crumb which makes it denser and richer. 🙂
I always use a box mix when i make a cake. I will have to try adding the extra ingredients when i make a cake tomorrow for dessert.
Hope you love it Lisa!
I love to bake on Sundays and make all the goodies we want for the week. I will have to try this hack when i make my cake. I have a Spice cake mix i want to make.
Ooh I love Spice cake! Hope you like the substitutions!
What a great idea. That looks super good, not to mention my kids would love the fact its a little circle! Looks great I’m going to try this!
Hope you love it Jeanine!
I am all about these type of life hacks and this is one that is sure to come in handy. I like to consider myself a bake from scratch gal, but more often than not a time shortage has me using a boxed mix.
Yes! I love knowing little cheats here and there when I am in a bind. I can’t tell you how often my 1 minute microwave ganache recipe has saved my behind at a dinner party when a different dessert sauce failed.
My layers were fluffy and tall coming from the oven. Now cooled, they look like pancakes.
Sorry for the delay, this message got snared in the spam filter. What kind of mix did you use? How much did you mix it? If you want to trouble shoot send me an email directly at contact @ dinnerthendessert.com
Sweetheart it all depends on what size cake pa sweetheart it all depends on what size cake pain n you used. Maybe you should check the Internet for a measuring chart. It will help you a lot
My cakes did the same thing! My layered cake did not look layered. Flat but moist and tasty! I used a generic brand box mix. I’ll keep playing with it.
Same here. Made cupcakes and came out looking good. Now flat and sunken in.
I’m so sorry. It sounds like either it was over mixed or maybe needed to bake a little longer. Adjusting those two things should help solve this issue.
Oh what a fun hack! I love this idea!
Thanks! I hope you try it!
What a great way to variate a cake mix! I never thought to try different ways to mix a cake mix differently.
It looks like it turned out great. Love the buttercream frosting. There is so much you can do with cake mix.
Thanks! It can be a great timesaver!
I hate cakes from the box, so this is perfect for me. I cannot wait to try this out!
You have to tell me what you think!
Can you do this for cupcakes too?
I do these hacks all the time and LOVE it! It tastes SO much better than what comes out of the box. They are way more light and fluffy. You cake looks awesome!
I am wicked lazy when it comes to baking, so I use boxed mixes all the time. I will try your hacks next time.
Hope you love it!
would it be the same for chocolate or white cakes?
Sorry this totally got snagged in my spam filter and I just saw it. Yes it would be the same! 🙂
Can I add butter to a boxed recipe that doesn’t use oil?