Don’t have time to make a cake from scratch? Here are a few easy swaps you can do to make a boxed cake taste homemade – no one will be able to guess it started in a box!
I love making homemade cake.
But there are just some days that I don’t feel like going to all the effort – so a boxed cake mix it is!
Fortunately, over the years, I’ve learned a few tips for making a cake mix taste homemade. Whenever I use these tips, people often are surprised to hear that the cake was made from a box!
The first step is picking a high-quality cake mix. I personally like Duncan Hines the most – however, when I was preparing for this post, I used Miss Jones Organic Cake Mix, and it turned out really good. But for the most budget-friendly option…Duncan Hines works well.
Anyways, here are nine other tips I use for my cakes – it helps make the cake moister, a little less sweet, and just so much more homemade tasting!
How to Make a Box Cake Taste Better
Applesauce or Butter instead of oil
There are two great replacements for oil that I think make a cake mix taste SO MUCH BETTER.
I usually go for unsweetened applesauce – and that is a 1:1 swap with the oil. It makes it a *little* bit healthier, and it makes them oh-so-moist.
You can also substitute the oil with melted butter. If you do that, you are going to want to double the amount of oil it calls for in butter. So if there is 1/3 cup oil, you should use 2/3 cup melted butter.
3 eggs instead of two
I think moost cake mixes actually have changed to recommended three eggs. But if you happen to be using one that says
Sift Your Cake Mix
I recently got a sifter, and it’s so nice to have – the model I have is out of stock, but this one has great reviews and is very reasonably priced. It just makes the mix a little smoother and gets rid of some of the lumps that inevitably exist in cake mixes.
Add a small pudding mix
This just makes the flavor a little better, and I think it makes the cake a little more moist and richer. I also like it for making fun flavor combinations. For instance, on Easter, we made a bunny cake. I used a vanilla cake mix, but then I used a coconut pudding mix, and I loved the results.
For my most recent cake, I started with a vanilla cake mix, but then I used a chocolate pudding mix. It was really yummy!
Some cake mixes will say they have a pudding mix already added…but I still add another one either way 🙂
Use milk instead of water
This is just a 1:1 ratio swap!
Add an extract
I usually use vanilla in white or chocolate cake mixes, but you could use any kind of extract – almond extract, orange, lemon, raspberry…oh, the sky is the limit!
1 Tablespoon should do the trick!
Use lemon juice
If you find cake mixes to be overly sweet, you can add a Tablespoon of lemon juice to help cut down on that sweetness.
You can add candies, chocolate chips, nuts, whatever you want! If you do add chocolate chips (or white chocolate, or butterscotch) make sure you coat them in flour before you add them. This will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom!
Use homemade frosting/glaze
When all else fails, use a homemade frosting! I think it makes a big difference and homemade frostings are not hard at all. Here are a couple that we have on our website (though we love this simple butte
I like to use heavy cream instead of milk – sometimes I will even get a flavored coffee creamer, and I think it makes it taste delicious.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.