Test Kitchen Tips
10 Tricks to Make Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade
Your guests will be asking for your secret recipe!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shutterstock / 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!)
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.
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.