I love the thought of making a box cake mix better…much better! Box cake mix can be incredibly convenient and inexpensive, but you give up a little of that scratch cake taste we all love. Here are some easy tips to making your box cake mix better with just a few tricks!

cake tips to make the average box cake - something amazing on a fork!
Grab the melted butter…let’s turn that box cake mix into a yummy bakery tasting cake!

I like baking, but often don’t have the time to bake scratch cake.I love using a box of cake mix that has all the dry ingredients, add a couple of simple ingredients…and viola! Cake!

Now let’s look at how to make box cake better You can think of it as the best way to achieve next level cake mix flavor through tweaks of your cake batter.

Related: 10 Fun Snack Cake Crafts for Kids

What is the difference between box cake and homemade cake?

The good news about box cake mix is that it is really easy and convenient to use because all the ingredients except (commonly) water and eggs are already premixed inside the sealed airtight bag inside the box.

But that also means that the some of the normal wet ingredients used in a cake mix are dehydrated or substituted for dry versions like palm shortening instead of butter. Some store bought cake mixes also include ingredients a homemade cake would never include like corn syrup, dextrose, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids.

Make Box Cake Better Like a Bakery Cake

Here are some cake tips of simple things that you can do next time to make your boxed cake mix taste like it came from the fancy-schmansy corner bakery with little effort.  I love bakery cakes, but don’t have the time to scratch bake most of the time.  I also love the ease of using a box cake mixes.

Oh, and one of the little secrets from bakers is that they often start with a boxed cake too…just like us.

how to make your box cake mix moist - so many easy ways to make your cake mix moister with just a few ingredients
Let’s eat cake!

How to Make Box Cake Taste Homemade and Moist

Making a moist box cake starts with the ingredients in the cake batter. Here are our top 3 cake batter ingredient tips for the best moist cake no matter what the box calls for when it comes to wet ingredients. Try one or try them all ignoring the back of the box…

1. Add an Additional Egg to the Cake Mix

To make a box cake mix a more moist baked cake, add an extra egg. Adding an extra egg then the recipe calls for to your cake mix will make your cake slightly more dense, more moist and less likely to crumble. The extra egg yolks and egg whites make a big difference!

Tasty…and moist!  

2. Use Melted Butter in the Cake Batter

Another way to make sure your box cake is moist is to substitute any oil the recipe calls for on the back of the box with melted butter. Real butter makes your cake SO moist!  Melted butter makes it easy to manage like oil.

Related: Check out the recipe – 1 Batter, 10 Cupcakes.  

Use butter, real melted butter is the secret!

3. Substitute Milk for Water on Box Ingredients

Use Whole Milk

Use whole milk instead of water called for in cake mix recipe. It is crazy how much richer the cake batter will be. If the consistency doesn’t seem right, dilute with a little water or use 2% milk instead.

When you don’t use whole milk daily, it is easy to forget how rich and creamy baking with whole milk can be!

Use Coconut Milk

If you want to use milk but not do dairy, for an even more delicious cake consider substituting coconut milk for cake batter when the cake mixes call for water to eliminate the boxed cake taste! If you are baking a cake flavor that would be enhanced by coconut milk, give it a try!

How to Get the Cake out of the Baking Pan

Create a Non-stick surface so cleaning pans is easier.  After greasing your cake pan, dust it lightly with flour before pouring in your cake batter into the cake pan or sheet cake pan.

Cleaning your cake pan will be a lot easier! This has been a lifesaver, I had a problem with my cakes sticking to my cake pans. These easy steps will save your cake and your patience, they did mine!

How to Make a Box Cake Mix Healthier 

If you are looking for healthy fats, or for less fat, consider replacing the oil in your recipe with either applesauce or a mashed avocado.  

You now have a healthier cake that still has the fat content. Start with a one cup oil to one cup replacement ratio. I also think this makes it surprisingly moist! Healthy changes are a good thing , even in dessert!

a dozen cake tips for the lazy baker - tips for making box cake mix taste better like adding eggs, butter and dusting with flour
Easy cake tips to make box cakes taste better…and be more moist!

How to Make Box Cake Better and Fluffier

Add 1/2 cup of Angel Food Cake Mix, and 1 tablespoon of water, to any other cake mix.  Your cake will become a lot more fluffy and spongy. And I just love the hint of a flavor the angel food cake gives!

It really shines if you’re using a white cake mix or a yellow cake mix. The flavor is a bit more subtle in say Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix or something similar.

How to Save an Over-baked Cake

Pudding. It will cure any dried out cake.  Did you bake your cake too long? Or a day earlier than you needed it?  

Poke a BUNCH of holes into the top of your cake. Whip up a box of instant pudding mix and as the pudding is still warm, pour it over your cake.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours and you will have a super rich cake and can enhance the flavors by adding something like a chocolate pudding.

kab cake hacks for the rest of us - how to make an easy cake at home from a mix
Let’s make what tastes like scratch cake from a mix! –Thanks to Ginny for the image!

How to Make a Box Cake for One Person

2 Minute Single Servings of Cake – All you need is two boxed cakes (this Hot Chocolate Cake uses Chocolate and Angel Food), water and a microwave.

It is perfect when you only are making for one person.

This is one of my most favorite box cake mix hacks because quite frankly sometimes I want cake without having a whole cake sitting around.

Don’t forget to add some powdered sugar on top or some homemade frosting!

How to Make Sure Your Cake Bakes Evenly in the Oven

Drop your pan before you bake it.  Not a big drop, just a half inch or so.  The act of dropping the cake batter will force all the air bubbles out of your cake batter and your cake will bake more evenly now.

How to Prevent Splatters When Mixing a Cake Mix

When whisking your cake mix, don’t wear it. Poke your electric whisks through a paper plate before turning it on.

The plate will block the cake batter splatters. What a handy little trick. 

Mix two boxes of cake together for fun flavors - shown is a strawberry chocolate cake here on Kids Activities Blog
Mix two boxes of cake mix together for fun and yummy homemade results…

How to Make the Box Cake Mix More Flavorful

Combine flavors to enhance the flavor of your cake. You can mix two box mixes together by layering the batter, or by simply mixing the two flavors of batter together.  

We did that recently with two boxes of Betty Crocker Cakes.  Strawberry chocolate is tasty! 

Try French Vanilla Butter Pecan cake mixes together too! Yum.

How to Decrease the Time Needed to Bake a Box Cake Mix

Make a boxed cake into cookies.  Cake mix cookies have extra moisture and turn out so good.

For best results, we add a tablespoon of flour when we mix up a batch of cake cookies and use the melted butter instead of oil.

This is a great way to make a box cake better, my all time favorite cake cookies is strawberry with chocolate chips which is a surprisingly easy recipe.

Don’t Have a Cake Box Mix, But Need Easy Cake?

Don’t have a cake mix, but you still want an amazing cake?  Or did you accidentally leave the ice cream out on the counter till it became soup?

Here is a great recipe for Ice cream Cake.  You dump the melted ice cream along with 3 Cups of self-rising flour and bake. Perfect.

How to Carry a Cake

And if you are taking your cake to school or a party, you will need something to carry it in.  We love these (affiliate) Pie and Cake Carriers….and they come in fun and colorful designs.  Just like our favorite kitchen gadgets, they do all the work.

These hand kitchen gadgets your the cake you spent so much time making will stay looking like the best cake ever.

box cake mix tips to make them taste amazing from Kids Activities Blog - kid licking cake batter
OK, this might be the best part of making cake batter..

More Cake Tip Fun from Kids Activities Blog

  • Make homemade pancake mix – it is way easier than you might think!
  • Let’s say you decide you don’t have time to make a box cake mix, check out our information on Costco cakes…shhhh, we will never tell!
  • Use all these box cake mix tips to transform your cake into one of these many Star Wars cake ideas!
  • Box cake mix can be used for these fun rainbow cupcakes too!  Or what about mermaid cupcakes?
  • You can also make your own homemade cake mix…we promise we found an easy way!
  • Looking for some more cake mix recipes?  <–We got over 25 of them right here!

Mmmm…have fun baking cake!  And eating cake!  <–that is my favorite part! I am just about to go make some melted butter…

Note: This article has been updated multiple times since it’s original publication years ago as we find more useful tips on how to make box cake better from comments you make, conversations in our social media communities and baking cakes!

If you have a cake mix tip or trick to make a box cake better, please leave it in the comments below!

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  1. I’m curious about the tip to make instant pudding and pour it over your dry cake while “it” is still warm. I’m reading this as the pudding being warm which doesn’t make sense for instant and it seems like the cake being talked about is being salvaged from being made too soon and then drying out… am I misinterpreting the tip?

    1. Hi, Roxie! When you make instant pudding (a powder pudding mix, combined with milk warmed in a saucepan), the pudding will be warm, until you place it in the fridge to cool and set. If your baked cake is too dry, you poke holes in the cake, and then pour the pudding (which will be warm from the milk), and then place the cake (with pudding) in the fridge to cool. This will save the cake! I hope that helps!

  2. What about frosting?
    Anyone have a recipe or how to make store bought frosting not taste like plastic?
    Thank you in advance…?

  3. Thanks for all the box cake tips. I love baking from scratch and make wonderfully moist carrot cakes and chocolate cakes in my microwave (not a convection one). I’m always being asked to bake them. For me box cakes taste like cardboard so if I need to use one I’ll surely use some of your tips. Thank you.

  4. I wouldn’t use more than 1/3 cup applesauce and then add the remaining amount of oil or other fat.
    Canned pears can sub for the applesauce. Just drain the juices and purée.
    Eliminate greasing and flouring your pans! Make pan grease, instead and mix 2 parts shortening to 1 part flour. Liberally brush on cake pans. (I store extra in fridge.) To make your pans more nonstick, cut parchment paper to fit the bottom and brush on the pan grease over. To prevent the paper from slipping, just apply a little of the grease underneath.

  5. Thank you everyone for your suggestions! They all sound wonderful. I make a bunt cake during the Fall. This year I used a gluten free cake vanilla because I couldn’t find a spice cake mix. I just added cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and a small box of instant butterscotch pudding plus dark chocolate chips. The cake mix brand is Krusteaz and it’s amazing. It calls for a stick of melted butter, milk and 3 eggs so you know it’s already going to be fabulous! I just make a glaze with orange juice. Zest and powdered sugar. A huge winner!!
    Kathy Yost

    1. Hi, Kathy! That sounds delicious! I actually have to eat gluten free, myself, and have been craving spice cake. I will have to try this! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. Only use mayonaise in chocolate cake. You can not taste the mauonaise. it did not work for my yellow cake mix.

  7. Actually none of these are required. Box mixes taste great. I have never had any complaints on any cakes and they’re usually devoured in seconds. I make most all my cakes with box mix. So do I really need to change anything?

  8. I always use parchment paper to keep my pans looking new and get the cake out easier. My Mom taught me the box cake tricks in the 60s. It doesn’t matter if you use salted or unsalted butter. Use what you have. She also said to add an extra tsp..of vanilla or a forth of a cup of leftover coffee if it was chocolate cake. She must of read this stuff somewhere because she baked from scratch.

    1. Yes, I love parchment paper! It’s a baking must! Aw, it sounds like you have some wonderful baking memories with your mom!

  9. Best tip of all is just make it as per box ,but add a heaping serving spoon of mayonnaise…..cook a little longer but super moist cake that is a family favorite.