How to Make Box Cake Better: a few simple tips and tricks to make your semi-homemade cake taste like it came from the bakery! Use any cake mix flavor you’d like and top with your favorite frosting.
We all love the ease and convenience of boxed cake, right? Sometimes you just don’t have time to make a cake from scratch! I get it! But sometimes boxed cake tastes…well…boxed.
So what can you do to make box cake better? Well, that’s what this post is all about! I’ve got a few super easy ways to take your box cake to the next level…no one has to know it isn’t totally homemade. 😉
What to do to make box cake better
These 5 simple tips will make your semi-homemade cake taste 100% homemade!
- Add more fat than what’s listed on the box. More fat = richer cake. Today, we’re using a combination of butter and sour cream.
- Use milk instead of water. Milk has more fat and flavor than water, which makes for a moister and more flavorful cake!
- Add extra egg(s). Creates a richer cake.
- Use butter instead of oil. While oil adds more moisture, butter adds way more flavor.
- Add additional flavorings. Bye-bye bland cake! Today’s combination of pudding mix, vanilla extract, and salt all take this cake to the next level!
- Bonus Tip: Use a good frosting. This cake is semi-homemade, giving you more time to make your own frosting! My super quick and easy vanilla frosting is perfect! You can use store-bought, but I find it really oily tasting.
So what do you need to do exactly to make your box cake stand out? That’s exactly what I laid out today! Get ready to become a cake boss. 😉
Here’s what you’ll need to take your box cake to bakery quality!
- Cake Mix – use your favorite brand and flavor. I used yellow cake mix, but chocolate, strawberry, lemon, etc. should all work.
- Instant Pudding Mix – adds flavor and helps create a fluffy texture. Any flavor will work, but I paired vanilla with the yellow cake mix! Try chocolate, butterscotch, cheesecake, etc.
- Buttermilk – the acidity in buttermilk makes the cake super moist and provides a slight tang to balance out the sweetness.
- Eggs – binds everything together so the cake can hold its shape. Today we’re adding an extra egg for added richness.
- Unsalted Butter – adds moisture and a rich, warm, buttery flavor. Typically, cake mixes call for oil, but butter adds so much more flavor!
- Sour Cream – adds moisture and creaminess to the cake without making the batter too thin. The tang also perfectly offsets the sweetness from the cake and pudding mixes.
- Vanilla Extract – adds depth of flavor.
- Salt – cuts the sweetness and brings out other flavors.
- Frosting – Feel free to make a homemade version or use your favorite store-bought variety. Any flavor will work.
How to make
This tastes-like-homemade box cake recipe takes 10 minutes to prep!
- In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, pudding mix, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, sour cream, vanilla, and salt.
- Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish then bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely then top with frosting of choice, slice, then serve and enjoy!
What frosting to use
Use any frosting you like — homemade or store-bought!
I like to whip up a double batch of my homemade vanilla frosting to make this box cake as homemade as possible but feel free to use your favorite variety.
Can you use smaller cake pans?
You can but you’ll have to adjust the cook time. Use the back of the box as a general guideline and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
When made as directed in the 9×13 inch baking pan, I needed an extra 8-ish minutes than what was listed on the back of the box.
How to store
Leftover frosted cake will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
If you want to freeze the cake, I recommend doing so unfrosted. It will last in an airtight container for 3-4 months.
To enjoy again, thaw frozen cake in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before frosting and serving!
Looking for other super simple ways to use boxed cake? Check out my chocolate lava cake, these cake mix cookies, or my slow cooker caramel apple dump cake.
How to Make Box Cake Better
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (15.25 oz) package cake mix any flavor (yellow cake mix is pictured)
- 1 (3.4 oz) package instant pudding mix any flavor (vanilla pudding mix is pictured)
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 1/3 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 batches vanilla frosting for topping, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, sour cream, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes (mine was perfect at 38), or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely before topping with frosting of choice!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.