The Best Chocolate Cake Mix Brands According to Pro Cooks

Updated: Feb. 06, 2024

Looking for the best chocolate cake mix you can buy? Our team of professional cooks and bakers put 10 brands to the test. Find out which tasted the best.

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Test Kitchen Preferred The Best Chocolate CakeTaste of Home

Chocolate cake is a cornerstone of any home baker’s repertoire. Right up there with apple pie and chocolate chip cookies, it’s a perennial favorite. But let’s face it: There’s not always time to bake from scratch. If you’re short on time and need a quick fix, the obvious answer is a boxed cake mix.

Shuddering at the thought of using a mix? We don’t blame you. Like blue jeans and coffee beans, the options seem endless and making the wrong choice invariably leads to disappointment. Some mixes result in dry or bland cakes, while others can pass pretty easily for homemade. Here is how to make box cake taste homemade!

How We Found the Best Chocolate Cake Mix Options

But don’t you worry: Our Test Kitchen put 10 of the most popular brands to the test. In a blind tasting, our culinary pros sampled 10 chocolate cake mix brands and judged them according to these criteria:

  • Flavor: How does the cake taste? Does it have a strong cocoa flavor? Is it more of a dark or milk chocolate flavor? How sweet is the cake? Is it a well-balanced recipe?
  • Texture: Is the cake light and fluffy? Dense and indulgent? Is it moist enough or is it dry and crumbly?
  • Appearance: How does the cake look? Is it tempting and something you can’t wait to take a bite of?

Learn more about how we test products at Taste of Home.

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Chocolate Cake Mix Brands

Test Kitchen Preferred The Best Chocolate Cake cropTaste of Home

After eating 10 slices of cake, our Test Kitchen chose four brands they’d be happy to keep in their pantry.

Best Chocolate Cake Mix Overall: Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cake Mix

Tkpf Chocolate Cake Mix GhiradelliTaste of Home

We don’t want to say that Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cake Mix was better than homemade, but our Test Kitchen thinks it gives scratch-made cakes a run for their money.

This cake hit all the marks: It was moist and tender—exactly the texture you want when you think chocolate cake. It also had the appropriate amount of lift—not too dense, not too airy. When you slice into a birthday cake, this is the type of cake you want to see.

Most crucial in this test (and all of our taste tests) is flavor. Just like with its brownie mix, Ghirardelli delivered on big chocolate flavor. This cake had a great dark chocolate flavor with hints of vanilla. The cake wasn’t too sweet which really let these distinctive flavors shine. This is definitely a mix to keep in your cupboard for chocolate emergencies and last-minute desserts.

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Lightest and Fluffiest Chocolate Cake Mix: Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix

Tkpf Chocolate Cake Mix Betty CrockerTaste of Home

If you crave a lighter chocolate cake, you’ll want to go with Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix.

This cake mix was airy and baked up nice and fluffy—perfect for building tall layer cakes. But don’t let the light texture fool you. This Betty Crocker cake was still pleasantly moist; no sacrificing texture for height here!

The chocolate flavor of this cake verged more on the milk chocolate end of the spectrum instead of bitter dark chocolate. This slightly sweeter taste would likely be a hit among kids, especially when topped with a delicious homemade frosting like this peanut butter buttercream.

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Best Fudgy Cake Mix: King Arthur Baking Company Chocolate Indulgence Cake Mix

Tkpf Chocolate Cake Mix King ArthurTaste of Home

Just like not everyone likes a crunchy cookie (where are our chewy cookie fans?), not everyone is looking for an airy chocolate cake. If you like your cakes a bit on the dense and decadent side, you have to try King Arthur Baking Company Chocolate Indulgence Cake Mix.

This cake definitely lived up to its name: The dark chocolate flavor was incredibly indulgent as was the dense texture. Testers described this cake as being akin to a flourless chocolate torte or even a fudgy brownie. Each bite revealed more complex cocoa flavors—the marker of quality chocolate.

Because this cake is so rich, our Test Kitchen pros suggest foregoing the frosting entirely and instead topping with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and tart raspberries

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Best Gluten-Free Cake Mix: Krusteaz Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix

Tkpf Chocolate Cake Mix KrusteazTaste of Home

Think baking a great gluten-free cake has to be a complicated affair? Think again! You can get a delicious GF cake with minimal effort with Krusteaz Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix.

This cake mix was a standout because of the great chocolate flavor; many testers remarked that it tasted like good Dutch cocoa was stirred into the mix. But this cake also delivered on texture: It was moist, tender and baked up light and fluffy.

It can be hard to get gluten-free bakes right, but Krusteaz delivered here. The rich chocolate taste and airy texture were so good that it even fooled a few members of our staff into thinking it was a traditional cake mix (now, that’s high praise for GF!). Also, find out the best yellow cake mix.

Here are the best gluten-free cake mix brands if you’re looking for more cake mixes.

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What to Bake with Cake Mix

There’s nothing wrong with baking up a cake mix at home for a satisfying dessert, but with just a little effort you can transform a box of your preferred mix into a treat that tastes 100% homemade. With just a few additions, like pudding mix, you can make these basic mixes into even better cakes like our top-rated Chocolate Comfort Cake or Yummy Chocolate Cake.

But you can think outside the cake mix box, too. Cake mix is a great starting point for treats like a Chocolate Strawberry Punch Bowl Trifle or Pretzel and Salted Caramel Cookies. These taste delicious and no one will ever know you started with a shortcut!

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