Saturday, May 25, 2013

How to Make a Box Cake Even Better

Cake is delicious, whether it's made from scratch or from a mix. Personally, I'm a fan of boxed cake mix mainly for convenience and there's so many things you can do with it. I think they taste perfectly fine, but I'm not really a fan of how crumbly they can be sometimes. It's really annoying - especially when a 3 year old wants cake and HAS to hold it. Hello, crumbs everywhere.

With a little research, I found some great tips to take your boxed cake mix to the next level. These simple tips & tricks will work for pretty much any flavor cake mix, any brand (though some brands are better than others), and should work fine for a gluten-free mix as well. You can also make these into cupcakes. (Cupcakes are just cake in a cuter, mini form!)

How to Make a Box Cake Even Better

Follow the directions on the cake mix, but make these substitutions for better cake:
  • Replace the oil with melted butter (salted or unsalted, just not margarine).
  • Use apple sauce, fat-free yogurt, or fat-free sour cream instead of oil to make your cake low fat!
  • Add an extra egg. Use the amount of eggs in the box recipe, but then add in one more.
  • Replace the water in the recipe for milk or buttermilk.
    *To make your own buttermilk (makes 1 cup): mix 1 cup milk and 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Perfect Chocolate Cake - from a cake mix!

Perfect Chocolate Cake (from cake mix)
*Every box cake recipe is similar, but check your mix for specific measurements!

1 Devil's Food cake mix (Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury are my favorites)
4 eggs (use the amount of eggs in the box recipe, but then add in one more)
1/2 cup melted butter (substitute oil in the box recipe)
1 1/3 cup milk (substitute water in the box recipe)

Mix and bake according to box directions. Baking time and temperatures should be listed for cakes, cupcakes & bundt cakes.

Here's a few tips to help your cake come out beautifully (I'm not a cake professional, but these tricks work for me):
  1. Don't overmix. This will get too much air in the batter and can cause the cake to collapse.
  2. Test your cake for doneness by inserting a tooth pick in the center. If it does not come out clean, then bake the cake for a little longer.
  3. Get an oven thermometer (they are under $10) to check the accuracy of your oven temperature. If the temperature of the oven is too high, your cake could rise too rapidly, then sink in the middle. Too low and you'll have an undercooked cake. Yuck.
  4. I know it's fun to watch a cake bake, but resist opening the door. Checking on the cake before the batter is set can cause the cake to sink.


  1. Replies

      LINDA A JAN 3,2014

    2. Also, are you aware IF you put your cake in the pan/glass or metal, in the freezer immediately after taking it our of the oven and let it get real cold it will be even better and moist no matter what ingredients you use????? I am serious. I got this idea from a sister in law. Everyone always raves over her cakes so I asked her the secret. I tried it - WORKS!!!!!

    3. Be careful putting hot glass straight from the oven into the freezer - the rapid temperature shift can cause it to shatter.

  2. Good ideas - I have also replaced the water with sour cream instead of milk.

  3. That looks delicious! What great tips!

    (I love homemade cake, but it's always a crapshoot. Boxed mixes are always a sure thing!)

  4. YUM! Trying this next time I make a cake for sure :)

  5. I love the ideas for making the cake lowfat. Thanks for the tips.

  6. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow... that sure doesn't look like a box cake mix. Will have to try it!

    Take care,


  8. Lindsay, good tips for people using cake mixes. Thanks for joining the cake extravaganza. Cheers

  9. Could you use these the same way as regular directions when stacking caked? Such as wedding cakes, I was afraid they would be too heavy.

    1. Yes I made a 3 seven tier wedding cakes and it came out perfectly.

  10. Thank you for these tips, they are much appreciated. I am definitely going to try adding an extra egg next time I bake some cake.

  11. Thanks for these tips, they sound perfect!

  12. Going to use these tips to make an extra-tasty Easter Bunny cake using a mix this weekend. Thank you!

  13. Thanks for all the tips, will try some tonight. As for a three year old and crumbly cake, pour some batter to make little pancakes with frosting. :-)

  14. Can you use almond milk instead of regular?

  15. Chocolate cake continues to cook after you take it out of the oven. So, I usually pull mine out a few minutes early. I also then cover it with either plastic wrap or parchment paper to hold in the moisture.

  16. I do this all the time when I make cakes for people as I excel in cake decorating but not so much in homemade baking.Question?? Any idea how to do this and keep the cake white?? I haven't tried yet but I need to make a white cake for a wedding and am not sure how I can adjust the recipe and still have it come out yummy. Help??!


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