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Upgrade Your Boxed Cake Mix With These 7 Tasty Tips

Did you know that box cake mix can also make deliciously chewy cookies?

Honestly, there's nothing wrong with a good boxed cake mix. They make consistently good cakes, and if you're baking a cake for a crowd, relying on a boxed cake mix tends to sound a lot easier (and safer) than attempting to bake a cake from scratch. However, if you're looking to take your boxed cake mix to the next level, there are a few simple upgrades you can make that will have your guests thinking you deserve a spot on The Great British Bake Off.

From simple swaps to easy add-ins, here are a few of our tasty tips to transform your next boxed cake mix bake. Then, for even more baking tricks, check out our list of 23 Best Baking Tips of All Time.

Swap water with coffee in chocolate cake.

instant coffee crystals in spoon with glass jar
Kanyarat Ngamjunyaporn/Shutterstock

Coffee and chocolate tend to go hand-in-hand—especially when it comes to cake. By adding in instant coffee or swapping water with a brewed cup of joe in your boxed cake mix recipe, you'll end up with a richer tasting cake that seems too good to be true.

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For other cakes, swap water with milk.

Mother and daughter baking together

For other boxed cake mixes—like white, yellow, funfetti, and more—skip the water again and sub in the same amount of milk instead. The milk adds some fat to the cake, helping it to create that moist cake texture that we all desire in a thick slice of cake.

Add sour cream or yogurt for a rich, moist cake.

greek yogurt

Another tip for creating an even denser cake slice is adding in sour cream or yogurt to the mix. This doesn't sub in for any of the called-for ingredients on the boxed cake mix, just simply add in a cup of sour cream or yogurt to the mixture and mix together.

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Replace oil with mayonnaise.


It sounds weird, but trust us—mayonnaise is the shocking secret ingredient for cake that you probably never thought to use. It creates a rich, moist cake, and we promise, it tastes nothing like mayonnaise at all! Because mayonnaise is made with oil and eggs, you can sub out the oil and eggs (or just the oil) at a one-to-one ratio. So if the boxed cake mix recipe calls for 1/3 cup of oil, use 1/3 cup of mayonnaise in the recipe.

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Add zest for a burst of citrus.

lemon zest

Want to give your cake a little pizzaz? Add in some zest! If you have any leftover lemons, limes, or oranges, zest about a tablespoon and mix it into the batter. This can also work with all kinds of cakes—lemon and lime could work well with white and yellow, and orange zest sounds divine in a chocolate cake.

Add a pudding mix into the batter.

baking with butter

For intensely delicious flavor, sprinkle in a box of your favorite pudding mix for a cake that is unbelievably decadent. No need to prepare it, keep the mix dry! The pudding mix helps with giving the cake that dense, moist texture we always seem to be going for when baking a cake at home.

Chocolate pudding will work well with chocolate or red velvet box cake mix. White chocolate pudding and even cheesecake pudding are a little more versatile, working well with boxed cake mix flavors such as white, yellow, orange, strawberry, and carrot cake.

Turn the box mix into cake cookies.

chocolate chip cookies

Not really in the mood for baking an entire cake? Then bake some cookies instead! Using your favorite box cake mix, mix in an egg and an 8 oz. container of Cool Whip to create fluffy cookies. To make a dense cookie, mix in two eggs with 1/3 cup of oil (like vegetable or canola). Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes, then devour!

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten