- Substitute melted butter for oil. This will give your cake the deep rich flavor that only butter can supply. In a saucepan on low heat, melt the butter until just liquified, then add it to your mix just like you would vegetable oil.
- Add extra yolks. After you add the eggs the box recipe calls for, add one or two more yolks to give the cake even more moisture and richness.
- Sprinkle sugar over the top before baking. The weight of the sugar will keep your cake from baking with a mound in the middle. A nice, even sprinkle right before it goes into the oven will keep it more level.
- Add a teaspoon of coffee to chocolate cakes. A little bit of straight black coffee or espresso will bring the chocolate flavors to life. You won't taste coffee, just rich chocolate.
- Add hot water to chocolate cakes. Instead of using water right from the tap, use hot water to help "wake up" the cocoa in the mix.
- Add pudding mix and sour cream. One small package of instant pudding mix (choose the flavor depending on your cake) plus one cup of sour cream creates a dense, moist delectable cake.
- Add citrus zest. A bit of fresh zest from a lemon, orange, or lime gives a perfect, subtle zing to cakes, especially ones that have berries and chocolate.
- Add vanilla. An extra teaspoon of vanilla is a great way to bring boxed cake flavors to life. (Keep in mind that white cake mixes may be slightly off white with vanilla added.)
- Add meringue powder. A tablespoon of this powder will give flimsy cakes some strength while still remaining delicate. Perfect for layered cakes and angel food.
Everybody knows that there's nothing quite like a made-from-scratch cake, but in a pinch, a boxed cake mix can place a very close second with some secret tips and tricks from the experts. Try them on your next cake and see if you can pass it off for the real thing!