how to make a cake mix taste better

How to Make a Cake Mix Taste Better

In the last few months, I have gotten a few requests for a recipe to make CAKE MIXES taste better.

And after 28 attempts (yup… seriously!), involving various brands, flavors, addition and replacement of ingredients … I am delighted to share a MIND-BLOWING revamped cake mix recipe!

You guys must be thinking: “What the hell is wrong with Abeer? She has a blog called “Cakewhiz” and instead of sharing a cake recipe that’s made from scratch, she’s showing us how to make cake from a box?!”

I know! I know… I UNDERSTAND your concerns.

The reality is I have an AH-MAZING recipe for chocolate cake and vanilla cake (just omit the Hershey kisses), made from scratch.

But let’s face it…making cakes from scratch is NOT possible all the time!

Maybe you are out of flour or sugar or you are just too tired to make a cake from scratch…

So, for those days… this revamped cake from a cake mix is PERFECT!

And I even made it PRETTY so that you can serve it on Valentine’s Day 🙂

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I have been working on this recipe for about a MONTH and I was starting to think this would never work but thankfully,  all that work eventually paid off 🙂

28th time is truly the charm! hahaha 😛

I made this cake for my Grandma a few weeks ago and she LOVEDDDD it.

She is one of my TOUGHEST critics and is brutally honest and NEVER sugarcoats anything. I love that! 😀

She liked this cake BETTER than my homemade chocolate cake.

That just threw me off and I was about to pass out coz that’s her FAVORITE cake to date…hahah 😛

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Anyways, let’s talk about my REVAMPED cake mix recipe…

I have made a lot of changes and you can apply these changes to Pillsbury’s chocolate cake mix or Pillsbury’s vanilla came mix! 

YUP… Pillsbury! Stick to the Pillsbury brand…I tried many brands and Pillsbury works the best.

And don’t use cake mixes which already have pudding…Get the simplest Pillsbury cake mix you can find.

Now, most cake mixes ask for 2 or 3 eggs.

Ignore that and add 4 large eggs and make sure they are fresh.

The older eggs sometimes make your cakes smell funky or maybe I tend to notice that coz I have a the nose of a hound! lol.

Also, don’t add oil but instead, use unsalted butter.

It adds more flavor and fat content into your cake and that’s always a good thing 😉

how to make a cake mix taste better 3In addition to this, ignore water coz it brings NOTHING to your cake. 

Add whole milk instead… not fat-free, soy milk or almond milk… WHOLE MILK! 

Another thing I really LIKE to add to my cake mix is ready-made pudding…those little snack packs. 

I think it adds flavor, fat content and moisture to your cake.

DON’T even think about using homemade pudding…it doesn’t work :S

how to make a cake mix better 51Use chocolate pudding if you are making a chocolate cake and use butterscotch pudding if you are making a vanilla cake.

And finally, add a tablespoon of the BEST quality extract or emulsion oil you can find.

Emulsion oils are pricey BUT work better because they don’t evaporate while baking. 

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For the cake that you are seeing today, I made a chocolate cake and covered it in a FANTASTIC chocolate buttercream icing.

Then, I covered it in crushed candy canes and topped it all off with a CUTE candy cane heart.

These candy cane hearts are sooooooo EASY to make and they are such a NICE way to use up leftover Christmas candy cakes. 

Perfect romantic cake for Valentine’s day…Don’t ya think?! 😀

It’s pink, minty and choco-licious!

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To make a cake mix taste better, you will need the following ingredients:

1 box Pillsbury chocolate cake mix or vanilla cake mix (get the box without pudding)
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cup melted unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla emulsion oil
1 snack pack pudding (3.25 oz)

Notes:
Use chocolate pudding if you are making a chocolate cake and use butterscotch pudding if you are making a vanilla cake.
– Play around with different extracts and spices to come up with different flavors of cakes. Here are a few that I have made..
Spiced vanilla cake: Use a vanilla cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But also add 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder, 1/2 tsp allspice powder.
Lemon cake: Use a vanilla cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But, add lemon pudding, 1 tbsp lemon zest and 1 tbsp lemon flavored emulsion oil.
Orange cake: Use a vanilla cake mix and the same ingredients as above. But, add 1 tbsp orange zest, 2 tbsp orange marmalade and 1 tbsp orange flavored emulsion oil.
Chocolate orange cake: Use a chocolate cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But also add 1 tbsp orange zest, 2 tbsp orange marmlade, 1 tbsp Orange flavored emulsion oil.
Spicy chocolate cake: Use a chocolate cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But, also add 1 tbsp chilli powder, 1/2 tbsp paprika. Use more or less according to your preference.
– You can always throw in some nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds) or dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, dried pineapples, dried mangoes) or even chocolate chips into your cake. Add about  1/2 cup of add-ins and always remember to coat them in some flour so that they don’t sink to the bottom of your cake.  

And here are the steps: 

Step 1:
In a deep bowl, add butter and eggs.
Mix until they are combined.

Step 2:
Add the cake mix powder, pudding, milk, vanilla extract or emulsion oil and mix until everything is combined properly.

Step 3: 
Pour this batter into a greased/floured 8×2 round cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Step 4:
This step is optional but it makes the cake SUPER MOIST! I highly recommend it.
Let this cake cool down and come to room temperature.
Remove the cake from your pan.
Then, wrap it up in saran wrap multiple times and place it in the freezer overnight.
The next day, let your cake come to room temperature and then cover it in chocolate frosting!

And you are done!

This cake is going to be phenomenal… I guarantee! 😉

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5.0 from 1 reviews
How to make a cake mix taste better
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
 
Learn how adding just a few simple ingredients can make a cake mix taste better. It tastes homemade and is always a hit at parties!
Ingredients
  • 1 box Pillsbury chocolate cake mix or vanilla cake mix (get the box without pudding)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla emulsion oil
  • 1 snack pack pudding (3.25 oz)
Instructions
  1. In a deep bowl, add butter and eggs. Mix until they are combined.
  2. Add the cake mix powder, pudding, milk, vanilla extract or emulsion oil and mix until everything is combined properly.
  3. Pour this batter into a greased/floured 8x2 round cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  4. This step is optional but it makes the cake SUPER MOIST! I highly recommend it. Let this cake cool down and come to room temperature. Remove the cake from your pan. Then, wrap it up in saran wrap multiple times and place it in the freezer overnight. The next day, let your cake come to room temperature and then cover it in chocolate frosting!
  5. And you are done! This cake is going to be phenomenal... I guarantee! ;)
Notes
- Use chocolate pudding if you are making a chocolate cake and use butterscotch pudding if you are making a vanilla cake.
- Play around with different extracts and spices to come up with different flavors of cakes. Here are a few that I have made..
Spiced vanilla cake: Use a vanilla cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But also add 1 tsp cinnamon powder, ½ tsp nutmeg powder, ½ tsp allspice powder.
Lemon cake: Use a vanilla cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But, add lemon pudding, 1 tbsp lemon zest and 1 tbsp lemon flavored emulsion oil.
Orange cake: Use a vanilla cake mix and the same ingredients as above. But, add 1 tbsp orange zest, 2 tbsp orange marmalade and 1 tbsp orange flavored emulsion oil.
Chocolate orange cake: Use a chocolate cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But also add 1 tbsp orange zest, 2 tbsp orange marmlade, 1 tbsp Orange flavored emulsion oil.
Spicy chocolate cake: Use a chocolate cake mix and all the same ingredients as above. But, also add 1 tbsp chilli powder, ½ tbsp paprika. Use more or less according to your preference.
- You can always throw in some nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds) or dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, dried pineapples, dried mangoes) or even chocolate chips into your cake. Add about ½ cup of add-ins and always remember to coat them in some flour so that they don't sink to the bottom of your cake.

Well, that’s all for today!

If you liked this post, you may also like some of these other recipes…

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candy cane shards cakeUntil next time, tata my lovelies 🙂

43 Comments

  1. Lisa

    July 31, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Do you divide the batter into 2 pans? All of this in one pan seems like a lot..
    Just wondering..

    1. Abeer Rizvi

      August 6, 2016 at 4:21 am

      I normally use a round 8×3 cake pan and nothing spills out but I do end up with a dome on top. To fix that, I simply press a clean towel or oven mitt on top of the cake and press it down gently (as soon as it comes out of the oven) until it flattens a bit. You can also easily use 2 round 8×2 cake pans, if you like.

  2. Lorraine Orr

    September 24, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I am so glad to see someone else doing what I do and enjoy doing at least weekly. I LOVE that you made changes that I made over 5 years ago. I never use water, I use canned evaporated milk. When my layers cool, i use a kabob skewer to poke many holes in each layer, and i pour evaporated milk over each layer, let them rest, soak up moisture. I also use pudding and butter. I use 5 brown eggs. If i use oil, i use oilve oil, 5 years ago I taught myself to make the homemade coolwhip frosting that we all love on the grocery store cakes. It’s amazing, I’m very proud of my accomplishments.

    1. Abeer Rizvi

      September 25, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      It’s so good to hear that other people like playing around with their cake mix recipes too. I really like your poking idea. I have to remember that for next time 🙂

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