Wondering How to Make Box Cake Mix Better? Try These Hacks!

Bakery-Style Cake From Boxed Cake Mix

yield: 10 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 28 MINUTES

total time: 43 MINUTES

Ingredients

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.

2

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, butter, and milk.

3

Use a mixer and beat the mixture on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.

4

Pour the batter into a 9"x13" greased cake pan, and spread it evenly.

5

Bake for 23-28 minutes, or according to box directions. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6

Let the cake cool and frost the cake as desired. Try this homemade buttercream recipe - it's delicious!

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144 Comments
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If you’re wondering how to make box cake better, give this box cake mix hack a whirl!

slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting and duncan hines box

Wondering how to make a box cake taste homemade?

Grab a store-bought cake mix, and let’s get baking! Today I’m sharing a few easy tips on how to enhance a cheap box of cake mix to have it taste as if it came from a bakery. The best part? No one will be able to tell your cake started out with a $1 boxed mix that came from your pantry!

testing boxed cake hacks 2 seperate cakes

I love baking cakes in general, whether it’s from scratch or with a little help from store-bought mixes. Sometimes it’s convenient and makes life easier to grab the cake mix. I am definitely a fan of keeping them on hand for quick cakes and easy dessert recipes!

mixing up cake mix from boxed cake to taste like a bakery style cake

I tested out these 3 common tips that are supposed to enhance a box of cake mix to make it taste more like a high-end bakery, inspired by this article from Insider.com (Food Network also has a great article). To really give these tips a fair test, I decided to also make one cake using the exact ingredients and directions from the box without doing anything additional.

Let’s just say my results were AMAZING using these simple box cake hacks!

Moving forward, this is definitely how I’ll be baking a boxed cake! I was so excited about this that I even created a short video for ya.

Can’t see the video above? Check it out on YouTube!


big slice of chocolate cake with sprinkles

Must-Try Box Cake Hacks:

    • Instead of using water, use milk.
    • Instead of using 3 eggs like the box calls for, use 5 eggs.
    • Instead of using vegetable oil, use melted butter and double the amount suggested on the box.

Hip Tip: If you want it even moister, try adding a tablespoon of mayo!

pouring cake batter in a pan

On the cake with the enhancements, I noticed these differences:

    • The cake’s batter was thicker in texture before baking.
    • After baking, the cake was taller and fluffier.
    • It had a noticeably softer and moist texture that was not crumbly at all in comparison.
    • The taste was richer and honestly overall much BETTER and tastier.

two cakes side by side comparing box cake hacks

homemade chocolate frosting

putting chocolate buttercream frosting on cake

spreading chocolate icing on a cake

chocolate cake with slice gone

up close slice of boxed cake slice using hacks


Print

Bakery-Style Cake From Boxed Cake Mix

yield: 10 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 28 MINUTES

total time: 43 MINUTES

Simple recipe swaps that will make your store-bought cake mix taste like it was made-from-scratch at a fancy bakery.

Ingredients

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.

2

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, butter, and milk.

3

Use a mixer and beat the mixture on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.

4

Pour the batter into a 9"x13" greased cake pan, and spread it evenly.

5

Bake for 23-28 minutes, or according to box directions. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6

Let the cake cool and frost the cake as desired. Try this homemade buttercream recipe - it's delicious!

Brought to you by Hip2Save.

ingredients to enhance a boxed cake mix

Hip tips to consider when trying these box cake hacks:

  • I love a yummy box of yellow cake mix and that’s what I used for my testing, but you can try this on any flavor or brand you have on hand.
  • Want to bake round cakes or cupcakes? I used the same suggested bake times on the box, so just reference it for other bake times.

woman with a piece of cake

These small changes make a big impact on boxed cake results!

I was honestly kind of surprised that these little tweaks would result in such a great-tasting cake and one that would be noticeably better than the basic cake!

I did a taste test using my family by providing them with a bite of each cake to tell me which one tasted better. Everyone picked the one using these cake hacks! My very favorite type of cake is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and this one won’t disappoint! Enjoy!

Boxed Cake Mix Hack

My team member and taste-tester extraordinaire Jenna had this to say:

“The differences you listed are all true! This had a nice, thick batter, and it was tall & fluffy, it was super soft and moist too, and not at all crumbly. And the best part? It was so rich and delicious! What an easy and fun hack! I used a yellow cake mix and I made two kinds of frosting. Half Old Fashioned Brown Sugar Frosting and half Vanilla Buttercream – YUM!”


Try this yummy strawberry cake next – it actually uses a box of cake mix, too!


About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.


Join The Discussion

Comments 144

  1. Jen

    I actually made this recipe twice today, because I questioned myself, thinking I must’ve forgotten to add one of the ingredients. But no, I made it for the second time, following precisely. It was HORRIBLE! The cake looked good when cooking, but fell to. About 1.5 inches high when cooling! The cake was so dense. I feared it would lay like a rock in my guest’s stomach! Threw both cakes out. Mad I wasted all of those eggs, milk and butter!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh no. Sorry to hear that Jen. How frustrating. hmm when myself and another team member tried it was great. I wonder what happened. Curious if you used the same mix? We’ll have to take a look at it again.

    • Renee

      This happened to me once… I didn’t cook the cake long enough. With all the additions, the cake is more moist and required a longer cook time. I was sure the cake was done, wasn’t jiggly, rose nice and high… but fell while cooling and was very dense. I made it again and cooked it longer… that’s what it needed to maintain its height and keep it fluffy.. on the flip side, we still ate the dense cake.. it was like brownies to us. .. lol

      • Claudette (Hip Sidekick)

        Good to know. Thanks for the helpful review, Renee!!🥰

  2. Monique

    Thank you for this post I come back to it every time I make a cake lol

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      oh that’s so great! Thanks Monique for sharing.

  3. Mike Hathaway

    Excellent

    • Claudette (Hip Sidekick)

      Let us know how it turns out, Mike!!🍰

  4. Marie Ferrara

    I would like to add crushed pineapple to a Duncan hines spice cake, how much should I add and should I drain the liquid?

    • Claudette (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Marie!! Although we haven’t personally tested the ratios, it appears that you may use anywhere between 8 and 20 ounces of crushed pineapple depending on how much pineapple you want in your cake. Please let us know how this addition comes out; it sounds delicious!

  5. Brooke

    I’m looking to use the recipe to make 4 6” rounds. How many boxes do you think I would need?

    • Claudette (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Brooke! Great question. 1 boxed mix will make three 6-inch cakes. You can find the pan sizes and recommended baking time on the back of the cake box you will be using. Hope that’s helpful.💗

  6. Banas Sue

    Using a GF yellow cake mix (18oz) for cake mix recipe (16.25) banana cake, how do I adjust 18 down

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi there! Sorry for any confusion. Does your recipe require a 16.25oz mix? If so, maybe just remove 2.25oz. – a little over 4 tablespoons. Hope that helps! 💞

  7. Skyzoo

    Hello, I used your cake method and I used Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix, 5 room temperature eggs, 1 cup room temperature milk and 2/3 cup butter as my base. I also added a box of instant chocolate pudding mix, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a few drops of maple extract. Baked 350 degrees for 33 mins. After cooling and frosting, the cake was absolutely delicious. So moist and flavorful. The top of the cake had a nice crunchiness to it as well. Thank you so much for your tips.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh wow that sounds amazing! Thank you do much for taking the time to report back! ❤️

      • Tim Bibbs

        You’re welcome and May you and your family enjoy your weekend and please be safe in all that you do. Respectfully, Tim

  8. Dee

    Highly recommend The Cake Mix Doctor book. I picked up mine for $5 at a half price bookstore. Every cake and frosting recipe has turned out delicious. Easy to follow recipes and well organized.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing your recommendation, Dee! Glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes in that book! 🍰🥰

  9. Pat

    Betty Crocker cake mixes have shrunk to 15.25 oz, I would think the butter should be a bit less, and the eggs too.

    • Pat

      Yet they still put on the box that it makes 24 cupcakes – not!

  10. Pat

    Thanks, it figures that all cake mixes are probably downsized!

  11. Shannon

    I have been doing this for years, saw it on Pinterest. I only add one extra egg, sometimes two. Bo mayo though. I add one teaspoon if vanilla extract everytime. I only use Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist boxes. Everyone always thinks I bake them from scratch and I don’t. I make my own butercream frosting.

  12. Roy

    1 box instant vanilla pudding for yellow cake recipes. Also, chocolate chip cookies.

  13. Mary

    If you want a really good homemade box cake this is what I do to mine. 1 box cake mix, any flavor. 1/2 c flour, 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c melted butter 1 c milk 4 eggs. 1/2 c mayonnaise or sour cream Optional 1 tsp of vanilla or almond flavoring.
    In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix to combine about 30 seconds. Then add all the wet ingredients if using a mixer use the whisk attachment on low until moistened the bump up to med for 2 minutes. Pour into a breaded 9×13 pan or 2 round cake pans. Bake 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. All ovens are different Let cool before frosting.
    Pecan Coconut Frosting: 1 small can or 2/3 c evaporated milk 2/3 c sugar. 2 egg yolks. 1/3 c butter. 1 tsp vanilla
    In a saucepan add milk, sugar, egg yolks and butter. Cook on med heat, stirring frequently until thickened. Remove from heat add vanilla and 1 c coconut. and 2/3 c chopped pecans mix together. Sometimes I add a little more coconut and pecans. Wait until your cake is cool and ice.
    Enjoy!
    My children love a German chocolate cake and I do it in the 9×13 pan. Once cool place sliced strawberries on the top of the cake and then cover with a coconut pecan frosting. This one always got requested for pot lucks and everyone thought it was from scratch.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing how you prep a boxed cake mix, Mary! 🎂 German chocolate cake is a family favorite here too! 🍫🤗

  14. Shari

    I had a box of yellow cake mix… looked up blueberry dump cakes on YouTube. Will cut the sugar for sure on those…

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hoping your blueberry cake turns out yummy, Shari! 🫐🤗

  15. Esther Padgett

    Are using melted salted or unsalted butter? I used with a yellow Betty Crocker cake mix to replace the oil. I also substituted milk for water. Same # of eggs suggested in directions. I felt cake was too salty.

    Most of the time I resist cake mixes because they don’t taste as good as homemade, or I will eat a few slices and throw in trash can. This one was ok. The mixes are so convenient when don’t have a mixer and away from home but have access to an oven.

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      I would suggest using unsalted butter, Esther. You can control the flavor better when baking with unsalted butter. I agree, the mixes are so convenient! Hoping you might like this better if you decide to try it again. ❤️ 🍰

  16. Pam

    No. This recipe did not make the cake taste any better. If you bake it long enough to make up for the extra ingredients you might actually end up with a drier cake. Would recommend just making the box mix as directed. Waste of butter and eggs.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for letting us know how these tips worked out for you, Pam. We sure appreciate your honest feedback. ❤️

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