Make a boxed cake mix taste incredible with these simple swaps from culinary whiz Sunny Anderson. (And check out the video above to learn amazing chocolate cake mix hacks!)
For CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX:
Hot Water: Add the amount of water the recipe calls for but use HOT water. It makes it taste CHOCOLATE-IER. Hot water allows the cocoa in the mix to “bloom” or, develop its flavor. Think about chocolate as if it were coffee; they’re both beans and very closely related. You make coffee with hot water to allow to beans to brew and develop flavor. Why not do the same with cocoa? That cocoa powder has been sitting in the box for a while—you need to wake the flavor up!
Eggs + yolks: Extra YOLKS means more fat which gives the cake ultra moistness! Add the amount of eggs called for in the recipe but add two extra egg yolks. The extra yolks add the density and moisture you’d find in a bakery cake!
FOR WHITE CAKE MIX:
Milk: Add MILK, not water, when your box mix calls for liquid. The milk adds density, fat and, most importantly, extra flavor to your mix.
Egg WHITES: Not adding the yolks to the cake makes the cake fluffy and whiter! But taking out the egg yolks removes fat so add an extra two tablespoons of butter above (or, one tablespoon of melted butter per each removed egg yolk).
Vanilla: Freshen up the cake mix with a dash of VANILLA EXTRACT! Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for better flavor. The flavor agents in the box mix are old and tend to lose flavor as they sit on the store shelves.
(Scroll down and check out the video below for all our favorite tips for white cake mix.)
FOR ALL CAKE MIXES:
Melted Butter: Use BUTTER instead of oil. They’re both fat but butter has better flavor! Box recipes call for vegetable oil because it’s easier. But, how difficult is melting a stick of butter in the microwave? The butter adds a richness and depth of flavor that most boxed cake mixes are missing.
Sprinkle with Sugar: Sprinkling the top with SUGAR not only gives it a sweet crunchy texture but the weight of the sugar prevents the cake from rising too much while it bakes. Pour the cake batter into two cake pans and sprinkle the top with sugar. It’s important for your cake to rise but you don’t want it to rise too much or you will have to cut off a lot of it when you begin to layer it.
Make Extra LAYERS: Cut each round of cake in half to create more layers creating an equal cake-to-frosting ratio! More frosting will create extra moistness throughout the cake.