To be honest, there is nothing wrong with a good baking mix. They make consistently good cakes, and when you’re baking a cake for a crowd, it tends to sound a lot easier (and safer) to rely on boxed cake mix than trying 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 make your guests think you deserve a spot That Great British Bake Off.
From simple swaps to simple add-ins, here are a few of our delicious tips for transforming your next cake mix casserole. Then check out our list of the 23 best baking tips of all time for even more baking tricks.
Coffee and chocolate go hand in hand—especially when it comes to cake. By adding instant coffee or swapping out water for a brewed cup of joe in your baking mix recipe, you end up with a richer-tasting cake that seems too good to be true.
For other boxed cake mixes — like white, yellow, funfetti, and more — again omit the water and dip the same amount of milk in instead. The milk adds some fat to the cake and helps it create that moist cake texture we all crave in a thick slice of cake.
Another tip to create an even denser slice of cake is to add sour cream or yogurt to the mixture. This does not replace any of the requested ingredients on the box cake mix, just add a cup of sour cream or yogurt to the mix and mix together.
It sounds weird, but trust us — mayonnaise is the shocking secret cake ingredient you probably never thought of using. The result is a rich, moist cake, and we promise, it doesn’t taste like mayonnaise at all! Since mayonnaise is made from oil and eggs, you can substitute the oil and eggs (or just the oil) on a one-to-one basis. So if the boxed cake mix recipe calls for 1/3 cup oil, use 1/3 cup mayonnaise in the recipe.
Want to add a little pizzazz to your cake? Add some panache! If you have leftover lemons, limes, or oranges, grate about a tablespoon and mix into the batter. This can work with all types of cakes too — lemon and lime might pair well with white and yellow, and orange zest sounds divine in a chocolate cake.
For an intensely delicious flavor, sprinkle in a box of your favorite pudding mix for an incredibly decadent cake. No need to prep it, keep the mix dry! The custard mix helps give the cake that dense, moist texture we always look for when baking a cake at home.
Chocolate Pudding goes well with Chocolate or Red Velvet Box Cake Mix. White chocolate pudding and even cheesecake pudding are a little more versatile and pair well with box cake mixes like white, yellow, orange, strawberry, and carrot cakes.
Don’t feel like baking a whole cake? Then bake some cookies instead! With your favorite box cake mix, mix together an egg and 8 oz. Container with Cool Whip to create fluffy cookies. To make a thick cookie, mix two eggs with 1/3 cup oil (like vegetable or canola). Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes, then devour!
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Continue reading