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




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


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


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


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


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


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

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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


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.




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


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


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


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


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


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. K Rog

    thanks, I cannot wait to try. Anyone have a hack on making cake mix cookies taste better? I tend to use a yellow cake mix as my base and then add chocolate chips. Post idea???? Thanks!

    • Amy

      Cake mix cookies are so good! My favorite recipe is 1 box cake mix, 2 TBS soft butter, 3 TBS water, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (though I never measure chips and pour until it looks good 😂). 350 for about 10-13 mins. Really depends on the size of the cookie. We do all kinds of different ones. I like a chocolate mix with mint chips the best! We do peanut butter chips or Reese’s, red velvet with white choc chips, m&m cookies, my mom likes ones chocolate mix with white chocolate chips and tiny diced pieces of cherries. I feel like the base for this recipe is so easy to just change up the mix and add ins to do whatever you’d like.

    • traptfairy

      I use 1 cake mix, 1 stick melted butter, 1 egg, 1 cup of mix ins. Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes. Like this recipe because it’s easy to remember and the cookies turn out super soft.

    • Tiggy

      I use lemon cake mix, 1/3c oil and 2 eggs. Drizzle lemon glaze over the top.

  2. Keila

    I add a heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise and one extra egg to my cake mixes.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that’s a cool tip about mayo I have heard that!

      • Keila

        Mayo is oil and eggs basically, so it makes it super moist!

  3. Juliee

    Great ideas!! I have to bake without eggs due to an allergy in the family but I’m going to try the other ideas, can’t wait to try!!

    • weml

      Try using unsweetened applesauce. Replace 1 egg with 1/4 cup applesauce. Works great. Other options you can use are a ripe banana or silken tofu.

    • Jessie

      Both of my kids have dairy and egg allergies. I stumbled upon a tip from a vegan to find a milk free boxed mix — Dunken Hines yellow mix is — and add a can of sprite. That’s it! It’s sooooo light and fluffy and yummy, I don’t think I’ll make a cake per the box instructions ever again! You can use different flavored sodas with different flavored box mixes — look it up on Pinterest.

      • Juliee

        I’ve done that many times! And to cut down on the sugar I’ve used sparkling water. The only drawback to using soda or sparkling water is I find the cake too crumbly. However, the taste and easiness factor is a big win!

      • Clanetta

        My son has an egg allergy so boxed caked mix with Just Egg (plant based) works great 1/4 cup equals one egg works great 😋

    • Juliee

      My tried and true to avoid egg is Greek yogurt and water mixed with the boxed mix—very moist and holds it’s shape. It is quite good all on its own, but I’m always interested in cranking my cake game up a notch and I think adding butter sounds delicious!! And maybe I’ll sub out the water for milk.

      • willowcat

        Would you share how much yogurt/water you usually use? That sounds like a great idea to have on hand if I run out of eggs.

        • Juliee

          Willowcat: yes, I think I would make the cake this way anyway even if I didn’t have to avoid the eggs because it is SO EASY and the results are great for decorating. I use 1 cup of greek yogurt (I like to use whole milk Greek yogurt) and a half cup of water. You can Google for variations on how to do it, but I just whisk the yogurt and water together and then add to the dry mix. I’ve even done it without the electric mixer but it is easier with it. The batter will be very thick and it helps to use a wet spoon to get it spread evenly in the pan(s). Hope you like it!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Juliee!

    • Kay

      Check out their crazy cake recipe. Requires no eggs.

  4. Blessed

    I use a WASC (white almond sour cream) recipe and people love it. You add flour, sugar, sour cream. Lots of recipes online and it definitely taste and feels like a bakery cake.

  5. Kate G.

    My husband was a pastry chef. He said most high end hotel and restaurants use boxed cake mixes because people are used to that flavor and like it

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s so interesting!

  6. Dee

    I’d like to recommend a book called The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. Great recipes that start with a cake mix but taste marvelous. No one will know you didn’t make the cake from scratch. Awesome frosting recipes as well. I picked up my copy at Half Price Books, but I’m sure it’s available on all the usual outlets.

    • Jen S

      Wow! Just checked my library website and it looks like there are about 5 different books from “the cake doctor”… I better get started. And diet between cakes or just watch my kids eat them. 😐

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Dee for the suggestion!

  7. Jessika

    LINA! Your posts make the website fun, I enjoy seeing one of your creative/interesting recipes. Thanks For the inspiration on the kitchen and all the stuff you post!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ahhh thanks so much for your kind comment Jessika! ❤️

    • Del

      I agree, these posts set Hip2Save apart from other coupon/sale sites. It’s what initially brought me to Hip2Save AND made this site my new go-to for couponing/sale sites!

      • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        Ohhh that is so sweet. Thanks for being here and showing up with such a nice comment Del!

  8. megannt

    I will take store bought icing and take a mixer to it to make it fluffy.

    • Rosalie

      Everything sounds outstanding, first time I found these recipes. Thank You.

  9. dylanfan

    What kind of monster cut that cake lol 😱

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Haha 😂 that made me laugh. Honestly just a monster that wanted a photo of a square middle piece not corner 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

      • dylanfan

        Glad I made you laugh

  10. MommySpendsLess

    Great timing! I’m making a cake for my daughter’s birthday next week so I can hide a money pull out kit inside, plus she loves my homemade chocolate cream cheese buttercream frosting.
    Do you also recommend the same substitutions for chocolate cake mix?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes you should definitely try it with chocolate! I bet it’s yum. Enjoy and happy birthday to her!

  11. Cecilia

    Omg. So unhealthy

    • Amy

      Did….. did you think people thought cake was a healthy recipe?

      • TiffMeow


    • kellyluvsdealz

      Omg you didn’t have comment

    • Casey

      Sounds like you need some cake.

  12. Angie

    Negativity isn’t healthy for you either. 🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂

  13. Kay

    THANKS so much for this post. I’m no baker, but I got tired of eating boxed cake, which wasn’t my fav anyway. I always craved for the cakes at our popular cake shop in town, which is very expensive. When H2S posted the Crazy Cake recipe, I jumped on it n have made several since. Even my daughter enjoys baking that cake with me. It’s simple enough for a non-baker like me, but it’s still delicious. I was just thinking bout baking another one, but after seeing this post, I’m super excited to try. The ingredients are even easier than those for the Crazy Cake. So easy that if I have boxed cake at home already, I’m baking it today. Can’t wait to tell my daughter.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh Kay this makes me so happy you love the crazy cake! I think you’ll enjoy this one too. Thanks for sharing 💕

      • Kay

        Love all ur posts, Lina. This one is perfectly timed. I’ve already asked my MIL if she has boxed cake in her pantry. From the crazy cake recipe, I experimented a lot n learned NOT to use: applesauce and canola oil. With the cake box hack, I’m gonna add Mexican vanilla. What do u think?

        • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

          Oh I bet that’ll be delicious!

    • Positivenyone

      Hey! What is the recipe for crazy cake?

  14. Sarah

    In addition to the recommendations in the post above, I also like adding a package of instant pudding powder to the cake. Yum!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh good one! Thanks Sarah!

    • Lauren

      Yes!! My mom does this and they always taste amazing!!!

  15. PamRob

    Duff Goldman says to add a couple of tablespoons of leftover mashed potatoes to your cake batter to make it really moist! I haven’t tried it…we rarely have leftover mashed potatoes! lol

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh smart thanks for sharing!

    • Ella

      Leftover mashed potatoes … is that a thing people have? My family would never leave any leftovers on mash! Lol! Sounds interesting though.

      • Gigi

        We had leftover mashed potatoes last week and the next day i rounded and flattened them into little cakes and fried them in butter with some salt and pepper until they were brown and crispy on the outside. My daughter loved them!

        • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

          Yum! That sounds delicious 🙂

  16. Betz

    Perfect timing for my birthday today! The kids and I just tried your idea! It’s baking in the oven now. Thanks so much!!!❤️🥳

    • mccom13

      happy (late) birthday, @Betz–hope it was wonderful! 🙂

  17. Micci

    Do you do all 3 hacks in the same recipe?

    • willowcat

      I’m sure you could just swap one or two, but she’s suggesting you do all three.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes I did 👍 very yummy and the details of what I made are in the blue box with recipe.

  18. A.B.

    I substitute whole cultured buttermilk, for the water, and use butter and eggs like Lina recommends. It’s the bomb dot com! 💣

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks for the recommendation!

  19. Chrystal

    Take the amount of oil and split it into 1/2 oil and 1/2 mayo…..moist and delicious!!! Every time I do this for a cake everyone ask what I did to make it so good.

  20. Zoe

    Can someone please tell me how to make a boxed angel cake taste like regular cake. I accidentally bought 3 boxes of funfetti angel cake mix. Thanks 😊

    • frecklelily

      Angel cake usually just asks for egg whites. Maybe try putting the whole egg in instead.

    • JD827

      A Star Hip2Saver is a recognized member of our Hip2Save community hand selected by our team for demonstrating a long history of engagement with helpful & friendly comments across Hip2Save.com and our social channels. Our Star Hip2Saver badge acts as a verification for readers who know the ins and outs of all Hip2Save sets out to accomplish — assisting our community to live extraordinary lives on ordinary budgets. Readers cannot pay or provide any sort of exchange in order to earn this badge. Rather, they are invited to participate by a member of the Hip2Save team and opt to have the Star Hip2Saver badge added to their profile & comments.

      Does your family not like strawberries or berries of any kind? Angel food is really designed so that the berries and juice soak into the angel food and you get twice the berry flavor.

  21. Dutchie

    What would make the taste even better is to put a thin layer of strawberry, raspberry jam in the middle as a layer after it is cooled and you cut it horizontally

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Wow yes I love this idea! Thanks 😊

  22. Suzanne

    My great grandma passed down the secret of adding a dallop of MAYONNAISE! Can’t get much easier than this..Tastes great every time and I always get asked what I did to make it taste so moist.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for adding your secret!

  23. podvintage

    I use egg whites and extra virgin olive oil

  24. Sherry

    My family only will eat cupcakes . Will this recipe work if I make cupcakes out of it?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yep! Should be great 👍 look for the cool time on the back of box for cupcakes as a guide.

  25. ashley thieme

    Take the store bought whipped icing and microwave it for 15 seconds, give it a mix and it will pour onto the cake. After a little spreading you have a perfect top to your cake with no effort.

  26. Ap927

    I am by no means a cook. I can barely find my way around a kitchen. Years ago my step daughter made the best cake I ever tasted and she added something from my kitchen as an added ingredient. Since I’m not a cook, I know I didn’t have any fancy cake ingredients on hand. When she finally fessed up… she had added syrup to the cake batter before cooking! It was SOOOO good! Has anyone ever heard of this? I think she came up with it on the fly

  27. Lisa JP

    I use butter instead of oil, but only one extra egg. Also a packet of powdered Dream Whip in the mix makes it so good, especially with chocolate cake. Makes it super moist.

  28. Sheila

    I love H2S, but Lina you make it extra special. Thanks!!!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Aw thanks so much! That’s very sweet Sheila🥰

    • mccom13

      i agree, @Sheila–@Lina & her creativity make H2S simply the best! 🙂

      • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        Ahhh thanks so much!!

  29. Julianne

    Trying this tomorrow!!!!🍰🍰🍰

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Enjoy Julianne!

  30. Rhonda

    Duncan Hines butter recipe yellow cake is my favorite. This icing is perfect for it. Bake the cake in a pan like you did not rounds. Melt three large Three musketeers Candy bars and a stick of butter in the microwave until melted stirring and checking so it doesn’t over melt. Add powdered sugar and milk to get the desired consistency for spreading. Spread in the cake and wait a bit for it to set. It will get firm as it cools.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that sounds yum! Thanks!

  31. Julie L.

    Wow! Tried this last night and it was really good! The cake was delicious! Thank you for sharing!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh good Julie! Thanks for sharing 💕

  32. Jen Nappi

    Add a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of cinnamon to the dunkin Hines dark chocolate box mix….. WOW!

  33. Zoe

    Do you have a hack recipe for red velvet cake?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I haven’t made one, but you can try this same method using a red velvet cake Mix 👍

    • Maria

      Try buttermilk and extra egg or two!

  34. bridgetwhartontoryk

    I only have Duncan Hines butter golden cake it already calls for butter instead of oil should I keep it at 7 tb or make it more ?

  35. Maria

    Love these tips! I’ve replace liquid w/bubbly or sparkling wine. I also whip egg whites to soft peaks and fold it in if I desire a really light and fluffy Cale. For a tight crumb, extra yogurt. And chocolate cake….use coffee instead of water!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I love the coffee instead of water for chocolate- thanks so much for sharing all of these fantastic tips! 🤩

  36. Chris G

    We tried this and it was terrible. Did anyone try it and have good results?

  37. TinaBee

    I tried the recipe and my batter was like soup. Next time I’ll use 4 eggs and 1/2 cup butter.

  38. TinaBee

    Unfortunately my cupcakes had less flavor following this recipe and I threw them away. They were just kind of heavy and bland.

  39. rftr

    How should this cake be stored? Does leftover cake need to be refrigerated?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      If you plan to eat it with a couple days, you can cover it and store in the counter. Any longer, I’d cover and store in fridge.

  40. rivka

    Try using applesauce instead of eggs And it makes it moist. Vegans use this One tablespoon for each egg.

  41. Mamamia

    Due to milk and egg allergies in always hacking recipes. We do love the crazy cake recipe when I discovered it about ten years ago. But for cake mixes I add either shredded apples, mashed banana, or shredded zucchini in place of the eggs. Then I add oil and water as called for.

    The sprite hack makes for a gummy cake..but does work in a real pinch.

    And for icing, Pillsbury has many “accidentally vegan” cake icing.

  42. sue

    Does anyone have suggestions for gluten and egg allergies? Would love recommendations on GF cake mix and tips on avoiding eggs but making cake light and moist

    • Blessed

      I know this is from a year ago but my gluten free daughter loves pillsbury gluten free funfetti and I would image you can use regular egg substitute like applesauce, protein powder …

  43. Lora

    I don’t like store bought frosting, nor do I like overly sweet buttercream. Can anyone recommend a white frosting that isn’t overly sweet?

  44. Rose

    Thank you! Love your recipes!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Rose -Enjoy!

  45. Linda

    Can i use vanilla extract also

  46. Mary

    Tried this for my husband’s birthday. They look fabulous. Doubled the recipe with chocolate cake mix and message cupcakes.

  47. Korey

    I use coconut oil….and a teaspoon of vanilla extract….taste amazing

  48. llc

    Lina, I recommend metal pans for baking cakes. Glass retains the heat much longer after its removed from the oven, hence the cake continues to bake and gets dried out. I prefer a name brand pan like calphalon but I go to tuesday morning or home goods for better prices.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes! Agree need to replace mine.

  49. Sunny D

    Another thing that helps take out the taste of the boxed cake mixes is adding a capful of lemon juice. I think its more for the acid than anything else, but I can definitely tell a difference when i do it. Lemon juice isnt noticeable at all in that small of a quantity taste wise. For Brownie mixes, I usually add a good portion chocolate syrup (like you would use for ice cream) and i use chocolate milk instead of water.

  50. outdoorgrl

    To make it go farther I substitute melted butter for oil, milk for water, add 1 extra egg than it calls for, 1 large box vanilla pudding, 1cup flour, 1 cup sour cream Extends the cake and taste better!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I want to try the pudding – yum!! Great idea 🙂

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