What if I told you, you could make your cake box mixes taste more home-made, like scratch? Have you ever tried to improve the taste of cake box mixes? When I was in my early twenties, I used to bake all variations of cakes for all kinds of special occasions for clients and I’ll just come out and say it, I cheated. (Hey! Don’t be too surprised, a lot of bakers do!) I used cake box mixes and altered the ingredients to make them taste more moist, more flavorful, more home-made. Yum…right? So, let me show you a tip or two. Starting with a fave….
Have you ever tried substituting butter for oil? It’s a fact, butter just tastes better than oil! Using melted butter in place of the oil adds more flavor and a richness that most boxed cake mixes don’t have. And while you’re switching over to butter, you might as well bump it up and add twice the amount the boxed cake is calling out.
Um…That means double richness, double flavor! When it comes to eating cake, you want to impress, so you may as well do it up right. Your thighs will probably hate you, but it’s obviously a special occasion when you have cake, so celebrate, celebrate! 🙂
Want to add more richness? Pudding helps keep the cake retain moisture. Add 1 small box of instant pudding or gelatin to the mixture. Any flavor you want, it’ll be like a party. You get to experiment and think out of the box! (Pardon the pun, couldn’t resist!) Pick a flavor you want to compliment and step up your cake mix. I love devil’s food and chocolate fudge pudding. You know, I can’t help it, I’m a chocolaholic!
3. No Water, whaaa?!
Have you ever tried substituting water for buttermilk, coconut milk, juice or even just plain ole’ milk? Those have flavor, water does not. See where I’m coming from? So take that devil’s food cake, with the chocolate fudge pudding and add chocolate milk. 🙂 ‘Cha-Ching!’ We’re golden!
4. More Eggs & Fluffiness!!
We love fluffy! Eggs give cake flavor and help them rise. Add an extra egg or two in for a richer, fluffier cake. Beat the eggs for two minutes in a separate bowl. They should be creamy and pale yellow. Then blend them with the rest of the cake mix ingredients according to the instructions. before mixing everything together. By beating the eggs first, this helps create a smoother batter with fewer air bubbles, which in turn, you get a better, finer texture.
Mix 3/4 cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt into your cake mix and stir thoroughly. The richness of the sour cream or Greek yogurt gives your cake a more denser flavor and keeps your cake moister for longer. Woot! Woot!
Speaking of Greek yogurt and sour cream, you can add a mashed banana and use it as a substitute for the eggs and oil. If you do this, you will need a 1 – 1/2 cups or 12 ounces of Greek yogurt or sour cream, plus the mashed banana mixed in. Add a little bit of water or juice if your cake batter is too thick, until your cake mix reaches cake batter consistency.
Add in some mix-ins, like nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate chips into your cake. Add about 1/2 cup of add-ins and always remember to coat them in some flour so that they don’t sink to the bottom. I think I’d like some mini-chocolate chips in that chocolate cake I’m whipping up.
7. Extracts, Spices, Zests!
Get creative with different extracts and spices to come up with different flavors of cakes. For spiced cakes, add 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder, 1/2 tsp allspice powder. For a Mexican chocolate cake, you can add 1 tbsp chili powder and 1/2 tbsp paprika for a little zip. For extracts, add 1 tablespoon orange, lemon, butter, coconut, almond, or some vanilla bean paste. Extracts will give it a little extra flavor. For a little energy kick, add some lemon zest or orange zest. Still add in your gelatin, pudding or juices too.
8. Home-made Frosting is a must!
Frostings are easy to make, and will ultimately determine the destiny of your ‘ta-da’ cake. Top your frosted cake with some chocolate chips, fresh berries, nuts, sprinkles or candies to give it a more finished look. How does that grab ya?
9. Make it a Poke Cake!
Making a poke cake, always makes cake box mix taste wayyyy better. After baking a regular cake, you poke holes into the cake and then pour pudding, sweetened condensed milk, syrups, gelatin or sauces into the holes and let them soak in the cake and refrigerate overnight! I loooove poke cakes.
Play around with your cake box mix and alternate ingredients to your liking. However, be aware that some ingredients mixed with others may not taste as good as others. If you like fruit in your cake, there’s always room for ‘Dump Cakes’! They are really simple dessert, usually made with a base of cake mix plus fruit filling . You basically just dump the ingredients into a pan, give it a stir, and bake.
One more added bonus before I sign off here! I like to freeze the cakes after baking until I’m ready to use them. It really keeps them even more super moist and delicious (if you can believe that) and I usually only freeze up to 2 days. What are your favorite hacks? I would love to hear! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a heck of a chocolate cake to bake up with some of the good ole’ hacks we’ve covered.
If you are always on the lookout for more baking tips and hacks, check out: