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10 Tricks to Make Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade

Your guests will be asking for your secret recipe!

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a jug of milk on wooden table;Shutterstock / images72

Switch the water for buttermilk

Most box mixes ask you to add eggs, oil and water. To make the cake more interesting, replace the water with some rich and tasty buttermilk instead. (Here’s how to make buttermilk at home.) Use the same amount as you would water for the best, creamiest results. You won’t regret it!

Psst! This is our favorite brand of cake mix.

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Naked cake with cream, decorated with raspberries, blackberries.Shutterstock / Tanya Sid

Add some special layers

You’ll want to bake your cake in 8- or 9-inch round pans for this. Then, use a long knife to cut the cooled cake horizontally, spread a layer between each slice and reassemble! You could use homemade lemon curd, a spread like Nutella or even a creamy custard.

Here’s sneaky reason why companies are putting less cake mix in their boxed products.

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Coffee brewing in a French press in warm morning light.Shutterstock / ktasimar

Give it a caffeine kick

Why not add a hint of coffee to your chocolate cake mix? Substitute the water with brewed coffee, or mix water with instant coffee granules, whatever you have on hand. The flavor will be rich and indulgent! Learn how.

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Small bottle of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract with baked cake in background. Horizontal with copy space.Shutterstock / Warren Price Photography

Use flavor extracts

Taking your standard cake mix to the next level has never been quite so easy. If you have some flavor extracts in your kitchen, you have the answer! Choose some unique combinations—such as vanilla and ginger—to create an original cake. Be sure to know the big differences between different types of vanilla extract.

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Mayonnaise in a glass jar with a spoon on white wooden boards.sasha2109/Shutterstock

Add mayonnaise

Mayonnaise in a cake? No, we haven’t lost our minds! Surprisingly, this secret ingredient could take your cake to the next level of delicious heaven. Adding a spoonful or two of the stuff to the mix before you bake will greatly improve the texture.

(Here’s why mayonnaise makes a perfect chocolate cake.)

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Refreshing Bubbly Soda Pop with Ice Cubes. Cold soda iced drink in a glasses - Selective focus, shallow DOFVintage Tone/Shutterstock

Use soda, not water

This idea is an oddball for sure–but it works. Replacing the water with cream soda, Coca-Cola or Pepsi can help you create a sweet and tasty cake in no time at all. It will be so moist and rich you won’t believe it! See how we make this soda-infused cake.

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chopped walnuts on a wooden boardShutterstock / Maksim Nazemtcev

Throw in some nuts

Who doesn’t love nuts? When you’re mixing the batter for your cake, simply grab a handful of walnuts and throw them into the mix. These extras make for a fantastic crunchy texture as well as adding a cool homemade element to the dessert. (You can experiment with different types of nuts, too!)

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Pat of fresh farm butter on a butter dish with a knife to use as a spread or cooing ingredient, overhead view on a slatted wooden table.Shutterstock / Stephen Gibson

Melt some butter

Is there anything more delicious than freshly melted butter? If the box recipe calls for water or oil, substitute it for some buttery goodness instead. You should find that this makes a huge difference in flavor! This is our favorite brand of butter.

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Taste of Home

Frost to perfection

Last but by no means least… It’s time to decorate your cake. Don’t have the time to make homemade frosting? Just mix a can of store-bought frosting with an 8-ounce container of whipped topping. The result is so soft, creamy and easy to spread! Here are a few tips to get you started.

Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for food, health and lifestyle pieces. Her work has been seen in a number of national publications including Beyond Words Magazine, Reader's Digest and Psychologies. When she’s not typing away, you can find her trying out new recipes or binging Netflix shows— sometimes simultaneously.
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