When it comes to cake, and most other foods, I believe that homemade is best. But no one can deny the convenience of boxed cake mixes! Adding oil, water, and a few eggs to a packaged mix is a lot easier than hauling out all of the ingredients you’d need to make a cake from scratch. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to combine the convenience of boxed cake mixes with the flavor of homemade cake?
Well… it turns out there are plenty of ways to make box cake mixes better; my research turned up plenty of tips and tricks, which I naturally had to test out for myself, and I’m here to share the results with you guys!
How to Make Box Cake Mixes Better
Replace the water:
The average cake mix calls for the most boring of liquids: water. Instead of using water, substitute whole milk or your favorite non-dairy milk (almond and coconut milk work especially well). The milk adds fat, which results in a better flavor and density in your cake. If you want to make your cake extra rich, swap out the milk for buttermilk. Because buttermilk is extra thick, use a few more tablespoons than the recipe calls for. You can also think 'outside of the box and use other non-dairy liquids: Try swapping out the water for soda, juice (orange juice is great with vanilla and yellow cake), or even a stout beer or coffee (for chocolate cake).
Add an Extra Egg:
Boxed cake mixes tend to be lighter in consistency, but if you're craving that thicker, moister cake, then all you have to do is add an extra egg to your mix. Prepare to be shocked and amazed at the difference one egg will make when you bite into that rich cake.
Replace Vegetable Oil with Butter:
Cake mixes almost always call for vegetable oil as their fat; needless to say, butter has a lot more flavor than vegetable oil, and it makes for a much better texture. Just replace the oil with an equal amount of either softened or melted butter, and you'll get a drastically better cake. If you're looking to really amp up the flavor, double the amount the box mix calls for.
Add Some Extra Flavor:
The vanilla powder added to your boxed cake mix might be lacking in flavor; boost your cake’s flavor by adding ½ to 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Making a spice cake? Add a little rum, almond, or orange extract as well. If you're making a white or yellow cake, add a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon or lime zest, or a bit of juice. And don't forget all of those ingredients in your pantry that you would use in cookies, brownies, or other cakes. Throw in a handful of chocolate chips or nuts to take your cake to the next level.
Use Homemade Frosting
Now, I’ll admit to liking canned frosting— but not on cakes. To elevate a cake mix cake, top with homemade frosting. It doesn’t have to be fancy or time-consuming, but a homemade frosting definitely makes a difference.