How to Make Box Cake Mix Taste Homemade

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Boxed Cake Mixes are the perfect dessert when you are short on time (or groceries).

With a few quick tips, you can make your boxed cakes taste better than ever before – like they came from a fancy bakery!

A slice of cake with white frosting and sprinkles

A Cake to Celebrate

We love a good celebration and it’s the perfect opportunity to bake a delicious cake recipe. A yellow cake for a birthday surprise, a moist carrot cake for Easter, the perfect flag cake to celebrate 4th of July and a pretty sheet cake to celebrate a new baby!

Honestly, I love celebrations and my friend Julianne from Beyond Frosting is expecting a baby boy so what better time for me to bake a cake and celebrate. Julianne makes the yummiest desserts (including this Nutella Snickers pie recipe from her cookbook).

With a new baby around, time (and energy) will be thing of the past, (at least for a little while) so I decided to share some of my favorite tips for whipping up a treat that tastes like you’ve spent hours (instead of minutes) preparing it!

cake mix ingredients on a counter

Why I Love Boxed Cake Mixes

They’re great for when you’re short on time and uses ingredients you probably have on hand already.

Just like when you make cake mix cookies, you can use ANY kind of cake mix for this recipe. Change up the flavors however you like.

You can really make a cake mix into a masterpiece with little effort.

Cake mixes can be made into cookies, to parfaits to even cake bars like the recipe below.

How to Make a Cake Mix Better

There are lots of methods to make a cake mix better! These are just extra additions to make it rich and delicious without a lot of effort!

Choose one or two of the methods below to make your cake mix bakery quality!

ADD EXTRA FAT

Butter makes everything taste awesome, so try going a little overboard with the butter (or oil) and add extra. It will make your cake rich and give it that made-from-scratch flavor. While you’re at it, make sure you swap out the oil for butter.

ADD MAYONNAISE OR SOUR CREAM

Wait, what?! You read that right. I add mayonnaise to my easy banana bread and homemade chocolate cake to make them crazy moist.

Adding a few tablespoons of mayonnaise to any standard boxed mix will ensure your cake will stay moist and delicious longer.

REPLACE THE WATER

Use milk, buttermilk or even coconut milk instead of water to make your cake mix a little richer. It makes for a denser, more homemade taste and texture!

ADD PUDDING

Up the liquids, you add to the cake and throw in a box of Jello pudding in any flavor. The pudding helps to thicken the mixture and make it rich, dense, and delicious!

ADD AN EXTRA EGG

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time for all the extra details, try just adding another egg to your mix. You won’t believe the difference it makes!

GET CREATIVE

Have you ever thrown some yummy add-ins to your recipe? It can take your boxed cake from drab to fab in no time! Try throwing in some crushed Oreos, chocolate candies, sprinkles, or even preserves. The only limit is your imagination!

ingredients for homemade frosting on a counter

Make Your Icing From Scratch

Even if you don’t have the time to make the cake from scratch, the icing should be. It is the main difference between the plain flavors of boxed cake and the luscious style of handmade treat. A few favorites:

Did you love this Buttery Vanilla Cake? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

A slice of cake with white frosting and sprinkles with a blue and white napkin
5 from 6 votes
Review Recipe

Buttery Vanilla Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 15 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
A doctored up cake mix that tastes every bit as good as your favorite bakery

Ingredients

  • 1 box white cake mix (or any flavor) (regular 9x13 size)
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (any flavor) (4 servings size)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk or coconut milk
  • cup butter melted
  • ½ cup sour cream

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
  • Place all cake mix ingredients in a bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined and fluffy.
  • Pour into a greased baking pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Recipe Notes

To Make Vanilla Cake Mix Bars
Combine 1 white cake mix, 1 large egg, ½ cup milk, cup melted butter with a hand mixer until smooth.
Spread into a greased 10"x15" pan. Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Frost and serve

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 248, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 352mg, Potassium: 73mg, Sugar: 25g

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword doctored cake mix, how to make cake mix better
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Close up of a vanilla cake square with icing, sprinkles, and writing
Slice of vanilla cake made from box mix with writing
Top image - slice of vanilla cake. Bottom image - vanilla cake ingredients with writing
Slice of vanilla cake with icing and sprinkles and text overtop.
About the author

Holly

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. I love Matcha green tea…..So I added 4-6 scoops of Matcha powder in vanilla cake mix a crumble topping and glaze. My family loves it.

  2. Will the following work for an extra moist cake or will the cake shrink? Will I need to increase the liquid to allow for the added pudding mix?

    1 box white cake mix (pillsbury)
    1/2 cup melted butter
    1 cup milk
    1 box instant pudding mix
    1 extra egg

  3. I’m confused. Are you measuring the butter before or after it’s melted? I’m seeing comments on doubling the butter instead of oil if I’m understanding it right. So if the directions call for 1/3 c oil do we use 2/3 cups of melted butter? That sounds like an awful lot of butter.

    1. I always use butter instead of oil and double the amount, milk instead of water, and add an extra egg (if the box says 2 then use 3). My cakes turn out amazing.

  4. I added 2 more eggs used milk, also used butter doubled and added vanilla and almond extract. My cake shrank after I took it out of the oven
    So I had 5 eggs total
    What did I do wrong? Feels like sponge cake

    1. The size of eggs might be the culprit or maybe your melted butter was hot or warm. I just followed the exact recipe you did minus the almond extract. And after reading your comment, I decided to add about 1/4 cup flour to the mix to be safe.

  5. I add coffee to any chocolate cake mix or brownie mix. I make sure the coffee is cooled. The coffee adds the pop to chocolate that makes people say WOW>,

  6. Instead of adding water to your cake mix substitute the water with the pineapple juice. Even if it is a pineapple upsidedowncake mix still add the juice… it taste so much better and very moist. It will melt in your mouth.

  7. I always use butter instead of oil, add vanilla or almond extract (or sometimes both) and depending on the cake, flavor the water with instant coffee or juice (ie: chocolate cake with coffee or yellow cake with orange juice). I am going to try the hint with the milk or the mayo and see how that works too!

  8. I do this all the time by adding vanilla flavoring to the cake mix. I especially love to take a white cake mix and add pecans, coconut and vanilla flavoring for a short cut version of Italian Cream Cheese cake. However, I do make my own cream cheese icing for it.

  9. I use butter instead of oil, double up the butter, add 2 extra eggs, and use milk instead of water. I usually buy the cake with the pudding in the mix. Would it make a big difference if I add another box of pudding? And it’s the first time I’ve heard of aging mayo and extra ap flour…I can’t wait to try those tips.

    1. I add a box of pudding to my cake mixes that have pudding in them all ready. It just makes them better

    1. Don’t increase liquid. Use the small box of pudding and it just makes the batter thicker and more moist of course.

    2. Make sure when you use the 4-serving INSTANT pudding per one box of cake mix, if you’re going to add.

  10. add 3/4 cup of flour to the cake mix and people will think you have made a homemade cake. When you go to spread icing on the cake it is much easier and the top layer doesn’t pull off. Have been doing this for more than 20 years.

    1. I am not happy any more with the cake mixes. I sue to get such nice high cakes and have trouble with them shrinking and getting sticky on top. I will try adding the extra flour and egg and see if that helps.