Best Hacks for How To Make A Boxed Cake Mix Taste Better

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I love to make a cake from scratch, but sometimes it just isn’t practical. When time is short, or ingredients are missing, or I want to get something in the oven quickly, a boxed cake mix can save the day.

If you are looking for an easy way to make a boxed cake mix taste better and a little more homemade, you are in luck!

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cake mix baking hacks

These cake mix hacks will give your cake a little something extra. You can even make cookies using a cake mix! Check out how with this easy yellow cake mix chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Upgrade your cake or cupcakes with some homemade frosting and no one will know it isn’t straight from the bakery.

Easy ways to Doctor Up a Box of Cake Mix

With just a few simple ingredients , you really can take your easy cake to the next level. No baking classes required!

You can even make dunkaroo dip with cake mix. Yum!

Add Extra Eggs or Egg Whites

If you love a moist and dense cake, add one more egg than what the box says to add. You’ll be delighted with the texture and taste!

If you prefer a slightly lighter texture cake, add the eggs that the recipe calls for and then add an additional egg white (without the yolk) to the cake batter. 

Use Whole Milk instead of Water

You definitely need a liquid to help mix all the dry ingredients, but if you swap out the water for whole milk, you’ll be adding not only moisture, but a little more fat. This will result in a richer flavor. 

Use Soda Instead of Water

Another fun swap is to use soda pop instead of water. For example, if making a strawberry cake, simply use strawberry soda pop for the liquid instead of what the box calls for.

While soda won’t add fat to the mix, it will add a lighter texture and amplify the flavor. Try it and let me know what you think!

Add Coffee to Chocolate Cake

If using a chocolate cake mix, consider adding cooled coffee (decaf is fine) for the liquid, or use half water and half coffee for a better flavor that’s full and rich.

coffee pour

The coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor in an amazing way. This one is a no-brainer!

Swap out the Oil for Butter

If your box mix calls for the addition of vegetable oil, try using melted butter (cooled) instead. Again, this will increase the fat content and flavor which will result in a slightly more dense cake crumb. Delicious!

Swap Oil for Applesauce

Using applesauce instead of oil is a great way to reduce fat in a recipe and add flavor.

cooked strawberry cake in a cast iron pan

In fact, I love using applesauce in this fresh strawberry cake. It’s SO good!

Add Instant Pudding

This idea is so fun because you can take a plain white or vanilla cake mix to the next level just by adding a flavored instant pudding mix packet to the batter.

The instant pudding packet will keep the cake soft and moist. 

Making a pistachio cake? Add pistachio flavored instant pudding. Want a lemon cake? Add lemon flavored instant pudding to lemon cake mix. Try adding a cheesecake flavored instant pudding packet to a boxed carrot cake mix.

Just make sure you’re adding a complimentary flavor to your boxed cake mix. You can’t go wrong adding instant vanilla pudding to almost any boxed cake mix, so keep that in mind. 

Add a Can of Pumpkin

For the easiest pumpkin spice muffins ever, all you need is a box of spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin!

Canned Pumpkin

I make these all the time in fall and we love them!

Boost your Vanilla

My son always add more vanilla than the recipe calls for and why not?

Vanilla extract is a wonderful enhancement.

For a stronger vanilla flavor in a yellow cake mix or white cake mix, add about 50% more than the cake mixes call for.

Intensify Flavor with Add-ins

A simple, tasty and effective way to personalize boxed mixes is to add in yummy ingredients that are sure to be noticed.

Chocolate chips are always a win. Add them to white, vanilla, chocolate or strawberry boxed mixes for spectacular results!

Start with at least 1/4 of a cup and add them in after you have poured the batter into the cake pans.

uncooked brownie batter with chocolate chips in a baking dish

For these simple additions, very gently press them barely into the batter. Gravity will do the rest.

You don’t want them to sink to the bottom of the pan, but instead, be suspended in the batter as it bakes. I recommend doing this with the heavier add-ins, too, to make sure they don’t sink.

Here are some ideas on what to add in to your box mixes:

  • Lemon zest 
  • Coconut flakes 
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chopped nuts
  • Crumbled cookies

Add Simple Syrup After Baking for a Moist Cake

Have you ever wondered what that clear liquid is baker’s are squirting all over their cake layers in cake videos before they frost them? The answer is simple….syrup that is!

For added moisture when baking a homemade cake from scratch or using cake mix recipes, be sure to add a coating of simple syrup to each layer.

Using a squirt bottle, generously squeeze this prepared sugar water over each layer to enhance the moisture of the cake. If you will be baking ahead of time, this also helps keep the cake from drying out in the refrigerator.

This little trick won’t change how it tastes, but will ultimately improve the texture your cake immensely! Learn how to make simple syrup here.

Next time you decide to make a cake using a mix, have fun experimenting with these baking tips!

A few easy swaps are sure to make your next boxed cake taste like homemade with just a little bit of extra creativity.

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to

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