10 box cake hacks

10 box cake hacks, the ultimate box cake hacks to improve a box cake and make it as good as homemade.  

10 box cake hacks to have your friends praising those homemade cake skills. Not everyone has the time to be whipping up a fabulous cake from scratch. Sometimes you just need to whip something up quick and a box cake is a quick way to do that.  

The problem with box cakes is that they don’t always taste the best. There’s no way of knowing how long that box has sat on the shelf and if its subsequently lost its flavour. But I’ve not a few simple hacks to elevate your box cake game and have your guests thinking you whipped it up from scratch.  

1. Use milk not water  

Most box cakes ask for the addition of three things, eggs, oil and water. Let’s address that last one first, water. If you were making a homemade cake, you wouldn’t add water, you’d add milk. So that’s what we’re going to do with our box cake, simply swap out the water for milk. Milk will add some much-needed fat to your cake, and fat equals flavour and an improved cake texture. So, the next time you grab a box cake from the shelf, add milk instead of water to elevate that box cake to homemade levels.  

2. Add an extra egg 

Most box cakes call for an egg or two to add to the mix. But what happens when you add an extra egg? Adding an extra egg to the mix helps keep the cake moist, gives extra left and improves the texture. Helping you get that homemade taste. The next time you’re making a box cake just add an extra egg to the mixture and watch the magic happen.  


3. Oil? In a sponge cake?  

Have you noticed that most box cakes call for you to add oil? When was the last time you added oil to a cake? When making a cake the recipe usually calls for butter not oil, the butter adds flavour and lift to the cake. Butter is not 100% fat, it’s about 20% water, and that water evaporated when the cake is cooked to help give the cake lift. Not to mention the flavour improvement. To substitute oil for butter, you’re going to need to melt the butter and double the amount. So, if the recipe calls for ½ cup of oil, you’ll need to add a cup of melted butter for a box cake that tastes homemade.  

4. Add some coffee

When making a chocolate cake, as bakers we often add coffee to the batter. Coffee improves the chocolate flavour and gives the cake a more complex flavour. When making a chocolate box cake, instead of adding water or milk, simply swap the water for an equal amount of coffee to help make your chocolate cake richer and more flavourful.  

5. Get zesty!  

Adding fresh lemon or orange zest is a great way to elevate a plain box cake. The fresh zesty flavour gives a fresh, fruitiness to every bite. Try adding a tablespoon of lemon zest to a vanilla box cake or a tablespoon on orange zest to a chocolate cake. The results are magical!  

6. Extra vanilla 

You never know how long that box cake has been sat on the shelves for, and if the flavours have diminished in that time. Adding an extra teaspoon of vanilla to your box cake will make sure that the flavours are still there when you take a bite.  

7. Get spicy  

Adding some extra spice to a box cake is a great way to make it taste homemade. Cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice will give your cake fantastic flavour and no one will know it came from a box! Adding one or two teaspoons of spice to a vanilla box cake really elevates the flavour and gives your cake an extra punch.  

8. Get fruity or nutty! 

Adding extra fruit or nuts to you cake goes a long way to making it taste homemade. Adding fresh berries to a vanilla cake, walnuts to a carrot cake or even cherries to a chocolate cake give your plain box cake an interesting twist. Be careful how much fruit you use as it will likely change the texture of the cake making a little denser. But a cup of fruit or nuts should be just the ticket to make your box cake amazing.  

9. Drop your pan  

Don’t launch the cake pan across the room, but once you have transferred the mix to your cake pan, dropping it from about an inch or so off the counter will dislodge any large air bubbles and help the cake bake more evenly.  

10. Add sour cream  

Adding a ½ cup of sour cream to any box cake will result in a richer flavour and denser texture. It will also help a little with giving the cake lift as the acidic sour cream will react with the bicarbonate of soda in the cake to release carbon dioxide and help to raise the cake.  

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And there you have it, my 10 box cake hacks to make your box cake taste homemade! If you liked this kind of post let me know in the comments and if you try any of these hacks let me know how they turn out by tagging Whats Eating Manchester in your social media post.  

For more recipe inspiration and baking know how check out my blog and Pinterest! And don’t forget to subscribe to receive your free guide to improving your food photography.  

Sarah xx