Improving Boxed Cake Mixes

Bake an almost from scratch dessert by starting with a boxed cake mix and adding your own flavors and extra ingredients. This is a guide about improving boxed cake mixes.


April 16, 2010 Flag
32 found this helpful

The convenience of using boxed cake mixes is wonderful, providing you know a few ways to make them even better; either by additions or the way in which you make your cakes.

You will find that if you sift your boxed cake mix first thing, you will get a much fluffier and finer crumb to the cake.

To make a boxed cake taste more "homemade", add 2 Tbsp. of plain all-purpose flour along with an extra egg and 1 Tbsp. of sugar. The cake is a little heavier and more dense than it would have been. You can barely tell it was a boxed cake mix to begin with.

It never hurts to add a Tbsp. of sour cream to any chocolate cake mix. It ends up being so different, although I can't tell you why. Utterly delicious.

When you use a store-bought container of frosting, you can scoop it all into a bowl, add a Tbsp. of butter, and 6 Tbsp. of powdered sugar, then beat it all really well, to get a much better flavored and more stable frosting. Feel free to add 1/2 tsp. of flavoring such as orange, lemon or almond.

If you're using a chocolate frosting, you might want to add a Tbsp. of Hershey's Cocoa along with a tsp of butter to deepen the flavor of chocolate.

Add a Tbsp. of instant coffee to a Tbsp. of hot water, mix coffee and water, then pour it into chocolate frosting in a bowl, and add 6 Tbsp. of powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp. of Hershey's Cocoa to the chocolate frosting to get a rich mocha flavor. You might need an extra Tbsp. of butter to keep it soft enough to spread. Stir it all in first. All canned frosting are not created equal.


I taught Creative Cooking for a Cultural Art Center at one time, and these are the types of things busy women wanted to learn, so we tried some of everything.

Have fun in your kitchen. Teach your children how to cook with pleasure and creativity. It's becoming a dying art.

By pookarina from Boca Raton, FL

April 24, 20100 found this helpful

To the Songwriter,

I've not tried adding pre-cooked oatmeal to a cake mix yet, but I'm thinking there's no reason for it not to work. I might add 2 cups of the cooked oatmeal and 1/2 cup applesauce (instead of more shortening), but I'd also add 2-3 TBS of brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon along with an extra egg.

Your cake is going to be a lot heavier than just the regular boxed cake would be, and it'll be moist, and more dense as well. If I were making it, I'd just have to add raisins. :-). It should bake very nicely in a greased and floured 9"x13" pan.

If or when you try this, do let us know how it turns out. It sounds good. Julia in Boca Raton, FL

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March 6, 20161 found this helpful

These are such great ideas! One day I got crazy & added a whole cup of sour cream AND the best part of a can of coconut frosting to a chocolate cake mix. Baked as usual with the cake ingredients called for, it was awesome. Like german chocolate cake all the way through. Use buttercream icing, store bought or your own if it needs it. (Mine did!)

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October 1, 2010 Flag
9 found this helpful

When using boxed cake mixes, add a half to a level teaspoon of baking powder. Being taught this by my grandmother has been a blessing. We don't always check the date on the box and as the box sits on the shelves, it loses it's strength.

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January 22, 2016 Flag

To add flavor to a chocolate cake mix add a tablespoon of powdered cocoa to your cake mix before blending. Personally I use anywhere from one to two tablespoons of cocoa depending on the flavor of the cake mix. I suggest you start with one then add or subtract from there.

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June 29, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

What would you add to the assorted flavours of cake mix to make them taste like homemade? I don't feel confident enough in my ability to follow a cake batter recipe, so tend to rely on cake mixes. I would really prefer to be able to say that I did something to make my cakes my own! Any clever ideas for delicious fillings between the cake layers would be much appreciated too. Thanks very much for the advice.

By AnnahFM from Canada

July 7, 20100 found this helpful

Another thing you can do is use a spice cake mix and add a can of pumpkin, the small one, and not the pie filling one, just a plain can of pumpkin. Add nothing else. The batter will be thick though. Bake as usual, it's very good and healthier. You can also use chocolate cake mix with the pumpkin. That's good also.

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August 12, 20100 found this helpful

I buy box of cheap yellow cake mix follow directions on box, then i add butter pats ans chocolate chips, or whatever chocolate on hand, baking chocolate squares, chocolate candy bar or any other baking chips (a real favorite of all)

or you could add nuts and dried cranberries. Good luck and have fun trying these!

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August 7, 2009 Flag
2 found this helpful

To make a basic cake mix (white) taste delicious, add a teaspoon of flavoring. My favorite addition is coconut in the batter. Be sure to mix well before baking.

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April 16, 2011 Flag
5 found this helpful

I am making a wedding cake in June and would like to doctor a Duncan Hines butter golden cake mix to make this cake. It will be a four-layer cake with butter-cream icing. I have made a doctored wedding cake with Betty Crocker cake mix, but Duncan Hines butter is my favorite.

By Fran from St. Mary's County, MD

April 18, 20110 found this helpful

All you have to do is to add an extra egg and use whole milk in the recipe. Sometimes I also add just a tiny bit of almond flavoring. However, I usually add it to the frosting but I have added it to the batter as well. I have had rave reviews with my cakes. I hope this is helpful to you.

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April 19, 20110 found this helpful

I guess we all have funny tastes but(my 2 cents worth)I like the idea of white cake (lighter than yellow) and the pudding will do exactly like Ambailey says and use the water too. You can add whatever flavoring you wish to add though, I like a hint of lemon.

Don't be too hard on yourself and if you have doubts for 98 cents in Walmart buy one and bake it just like the one you plan and serve it cut up at church or your family etc. see how you like it. Happy baking! This is how people find something really great, playing with cakes etc.

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April 19, 20110 found this helpful

December 11, 2008 Flag

Can baking powder be added to freshen a cake mix past it's expiration date? During my late husband's bout with cancer, a lot of food items didn't get used since he didn't have an appetite.

Renee from Shreveport, LA

December 28, 20080 found this helpful

A lot of products have a 'best before' date, which is basically a suggestion, not an order to discard it the day after. I've used lots of things that have been past the recommended 'use by' date, and never been ill. If it smells fine, it should be okay. Happy baking!

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February 2, 20110 found this helpful

I just baked a box of fudge brownies with an expiration date of November 2007 (over 3 years past). I added 1/4 tspoon baking soda for a bit of leavening. They taste and seem fine.

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April 7, 20110 found this helpful

December 14, 2014 Flag
0 found this helpful

What can I put in my box cake mix to make it more moist?

By Marie

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January 4, 20150 found this helpful

I've got scratch recipes that use cooking oil and mine are always moist. Don't know how much oil is needed for a box cake though.

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Anonymous Flag
April 9, 20160 found this helpful

1/2 cup mayo or 1cup apple sauce!

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May 18, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

I need a recipe to make a moist yellow and chocolate cake, or cupcake. My last cake was so dry, and it was made from scratch. I was told to use sour cream to substitute for oil, I don't know how much? Also, Duncan Hines would be the best bet, but I would like to add extra cake flour to the batter to spread it out. Has anybody heard this before, if so how much can be added along with the sour cream? Please help.

Thank you.

By a219170 from New Jersey

May 20, 20090 found this helpful

Hello. I use a lot of the tips given in the books by "The Cake Mix Dr." to make a mix taste more homemade. I always use melted butter instead of oil, I use whole milk or heavy cream instead of water, I add extra vanilla for vanilla cakes.

To help extend the cake, go to the cake mix section in the grocery store. Jiffy makes a package of "cake mix" that is about 1/2 of a regular box of cake mix. I have used it to make larger sheet cakes, as I have many Wilton cake pans that call for more than just 1 boxed mix will make.

Good luck! Tina

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May 20, 20090 found this helpful

I, too, use applesauce in my cakes. I also use either milk or buttermilk in place of water. Both of these make for moist cakes. I learned the milk part from my mother. She was the best cook ever! And made the BEST Banana Bread ever. No one cam mke is like she did, even though we all have her recipe.


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May 29, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

My grandson only likes yellow cake, so I buy a 9 oz. box of yellow Jiffy cake mix. I follow the instructions, plus I add 1 Tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract.

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August 14, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

Is there a leeway on expired cake mixes?

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July 27, 2009 Flag
1 found this helpful

I am going to be making a diet cake (or maybe you call it soda cake) soon. I want to know if instead of the can of soda, if I can use 12oz. of sparkling water? It is flavored, carbonated water, so pretty much like diet coke. Would this turn out the same?

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