8 ways to upgrade a box of cake mix, from a former pastry cook

Add Extra Eggs: For a richer, denser cake, add an extra egg or two beyond what the box instructions suggest. This will give your cake a more homemade texture.

Swap Water for Dairy: Instead of using water, use whole milk or buttermilk. This swap will add richness and depth of flavor to your cake.

Include Additional Fats: Substitute melted butter for the oil in the recipe, and consider adding slightly more than the recipe calls for.

Mix in Sour Cream or Yogurt: Adding a dollop of sour cream or yogurt not only introduces a tangy note but also contributes to a moister, denser cake texture. About 1/2 cup should do the trick.

Stir in Flavorings or Extracts: Elevate the cake’s aroma and taste by adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract, almond extract, or even citrus zest. This is an easy way to add a homemade touch to a boxed mix.

Fold in Mix-ins: Before baking, fold in chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, or even fresh berries to add texture and bursts of flavor. This can turn a plain cake into something special.

Use Coffee Instead of Water: If you’re making a chocolate cake, using brewed coffee instead of water will deepen the chocolate flavor without making the cake taste like coffee

Add a Filling: After baking, cut your cake horizontally and spread a layer of jam, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, or pastry cream in the middle before reassembling.

More Stories.

Kitchen Remodeling

Learn how to remodel your kitchen in 10 steps

The Right Tools

Finding the right tools for every home project


Learn the basics of cabinetry