Learn how to make box cake taste better! There are numerous tips and tricks to make a box cake taste better. Ingredient swaps and additions will ensure you make your box cake taste the best it possibly can be!
There is no denying that a boxed cake mix is absolutely fantastic for speeding up the process of making a cake. Especially if you are making a layer cake with different fillings and frostings. A nice little shortcut is much appreciated!
I especially love using a box cake mix as a base when doing a chocolate cake so I don't have to worry about sifting the cocoa powder!
Some butter or white cake mixes may call for egg whites or melted butter but the standard cake mixes in America call for the addition of three things; water, oil, and eggs.
To make your box cake mix taste better try some of these tips. I usually use a Pilsbury, Betty Crocker, or Duncan Hines mix.
- Measure your ingredients properly
- Swapping out butter for oil
- Swapping out water for milk
- Swapping out water for soda
- Adding more eggs
- Adding extracts
- Adding Instant Pudding Mix
- Adding more fat
- For a chocolate cake mix
- For a white cake mix
- For a yellow cake mix
- For a spice cake mix
- Overbaked cake layers
- Homemade frosting
Measure your ingredients properly
I cannot stress this enough. So many people measure their ingredients without precision which can cause a recipe to go drastically wrong. I always prefer to weigh my ingredients with a scale. The American "Cup" measurements can cause serious discrepancies.
Baking is a science and to really achieve the best results I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale. This OXO Kitchen Scale is the one I use and is also the number one recommended kitchen scale by Cook's Illustrated. Think about it -what one person scoops into a "cup" is completely different from what someone else scoops!
Swapping out butter for oil
Most boxed cake recipes call for vegetable oil, while oil does a great job of ensuring a moist cake, it lacks tremendously in flavor. So swapping out the oil for melted butter works deliciously.
While this is a great idea, but I tend to not do 100% of a swap. The oil carries more moisture in it than butter does. So I like to do a blend of oil and butter. I do this in a lot of my baking be it brownies or loaf cakes!
Butter provides a richer flavor to the cake and also a denser texture. Oil creates a lighter fluffier cake. This is why I like using a combo of both for a super moist but flavorful cake.
Swapping out water for milk
A classic boxed cake mix asks for the most basic cooking ingredient ever, water. While I love water for drinking I would much prefer a dairy liquid for the cake batter.
Replace the water using milk or buttermilk in a cake mix increases the flavor and fat in the cake resulting in a richer flavored cake crumb.
Swapping out water for soda
Soda is a great swap too. I use 7up in my homemade 7 up pound cake recipe.
Orange soda is great in an orange cake.
Dark soda like Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper is delicious in chocolate cake mixes.
Adding more eggs
Eggs play a crucial role in baking. The eggs add rich color to the batter, provide structure to the cake, help with the leavening (rising), and create a richer flavor.
Adding additional eggs creates a richer tasting, moister, more tender cake crumb.
If you're making a chocolate, white, or butter cake I love to add a teaspoon or two of pure vanilla extract.
For a lemon cake, you can try adding a teaspoon of lemon extract to intensify the lemon flavor
For a white cake mix, I love to add a little bit of almond extract, be careful a little goes a long way!
Adding Instant Pudding Mix
Do not add prepared pudding, you want to add the dry pudding mix. For chocolate cake use a chocolate pudding mix and for white or butter cake use vanilla pudding mix. Use the small box of pudding 3.7oz.
This helps increase the flavor and create a softer cake.
Adding more fat
Try adding a half cup of sour cream to your cake batter for an incredibly rich and extra moist cake.
Even adding a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise is wonderful. I know you may be thinking mayonnaise and that goes with something like egg salad but if you think about it mayonnaise is actually made of mostly egg yolks emulsified so when you think about it that way it makes sense it would help a cake!
For a chocolate cake mix
For chocolate cake mixes I love to use a portion of hot coffee. Just like I do in my homemade chocolate cake recipe. Coffee infuses with chocolate to deepen the chocolate flavor. It does not make the cake taste like coffee.
Mini chocolate chips are a great addition to the cake batter.
I have a whole recipe post on a doctored-up chocolate cake mix.
For a white cake mix
You can use just egg whites for a whiter color cake batter. But keep in mind that the egg yolk part of the egg is what provides the fat, so I would increase the butter or oil by one tablespoon per egg yolk you remove.
For a yellow cake mix
I have a whole recipe dedicated to doctoring a yellow cake mix, as well as my two favorite brands of boxed yellow cake mix.
For a spice cake mix
I love to use applesauce in place of the oil.
Overbaked cake layers
If you're a regular baker chances are you have over-baked some cake before. While this can be heart-wrenching, who wants a dry cake, you can sometimes salvage the cake by brushing it with simple syrup to add back moisture. Even perfectly baked cakes can be brushed with simple syrup to ensure the moisture is sealed in. The syrup is best brushed on so it can seep into all of the cracks and crevices of the cake.
Homemade frosting truly does taste so much better than the pre-made store frosting. I have numerous frosting recipes on my website for you to try.
There you have it, I hope you enjoy these tips! Be sure to check out my top baking tips and tricks post as well!