Home Foods 10 Ways to Make Chocolate Box Cake Mix Taste Homemade

10 Ways to Make Chocolate Box Cake Mix Taste Homemade

by Gina Elizabeth
How to make chocolate box cake better

WANT to know how to make chocolate box cake taste homemade?

You’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 tips for how to make chocolate box better.

How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better

Boxed cake is quick & easy, but there are chocolate box cake hacks to make the nostalgic bakes even tastier. 

Here are 10 chocolate box cake tricks to make chocolate box cake better.

1. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Pudding Mix

How to make chocolate box cake better with pudding:

Simply add one box of Jell-O instant pudding to a box of cake mix. The gelatinous nature helps with super moist, fluffy texture of the cake.Tip: Add sour cream or cream cheese for a little bit of “tang”. It’s similar to using buttermilk!

Think outside the box.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package Jell-O instant pudding mix (cheesecake or chocolate)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Whole Milk

Instead of plain water, substitute whole milk, buttermilk or your favorite non-dairy milk (like coconut or almond milk). This increases fat and amps up the homemade flavor.  

Tip: Because buttermilk is extra thick, use a few more tablespoons than the recipe calls for.

For even more flavor try using:

  • Melted Ice Cream. Provides liquid, fat, and flavorings. If you’ve always dreamed of an easy cake with an unusual flavor, like mint chip or butter pecan, this could be your answer.
  • Yogurt. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, it can help thicken a cake and make it moister.
  • Sour cream. Can help thicken a cake and make it moister. And, since sour cream contains fat, your cake will also be richer. 

Chocolate Box Cake with Melted Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 1 chocolate box cake mix
  • 2 cups melted ice cream
  • 3 eggs

Chocolate Box Cake with Yogurt Ingredients

  • 1 chocolate box cake mix
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk

Chocolate Box Cake with Sour Cream Ingredients

  • 1 chocolate box cake mix
  • 1 box instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk

Chocolate Cake Flavor Boost Hack

If using milk isn’t your thing, boost the flavor by using hot water or fresh brewed, hot coffee. This will bloom the cocoa powder to enhance the flavors in a chocolate cake. 

The chocolate limit does not exist.

3. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Melted Butter or Mayonnaise

Replace the oil with an equal amount of melted butter to boost richness. Not only does it give cake a richer, more-homemade taste, it also makes it super light and fluffy. Just melt butter in the microwave.

Cake Mix with Melted Butter Ingredients

  • 1 chocolate box cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk

Some swear by mayo as a secret ingredient to make cakes extra moist. If you have never tried it, you must! Hellmann’s Mayonnaise makes your cake so moist and delicious it will melt in your mouth.

Mayo is the secret for how to make chocolate box cake taste homemade. It’s the best tasting and moistest cake ever.

Cake Mix with Mayonnaise Ingredients

  • 1 chocolate box cake mix
  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs

4. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Extra Egg Yolks

If you don’t want to try the mayo, ice cream, yogurt, or sour cream hack, you can still get an extra rich chocolate box cake by stirring in two extra egg yolks along with the eggs that the recipe calls for.

Extra fat makes cake super moist and flavorful.

5. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Flavored Extracts, Spices, or Zest

chocolate box cake mix can lose flavor when it sits on the shelf. Make a chocolate box cake taste homemade with a dash of pumpkin, almond, coconut, or coffee extract!

Don’t be afraid to spice it up. For example, you can add a teaspoon of cinnamon or orange zest to chocolate box cake mixes.

6. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Mix-Ins

Amp up your cake batter with 1/2 a cup of chips, raisins, candy, nuts, or banana. They add texture and homemade flavors to your chocolate box cake. Remember to coat your mix-ins in some flour or cocoa powder (for chocolate cake) so that they don’t sink to the bottom of your batter.

You can also add a mashed banana and use it as a substitute for eggs and oil. If you do this, you will need a 1 – 1/2 cups or 12 ounces of Greek yogurt or sour cream, plus the mashed banana mixed in.  

Add a little bit of water if your cake batter is too thick.

7. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Additional Flavors

Poke & Coat

Another way to boost the moistness and flavor of your cake is to poke holes in the cake with a skewer. Then brush (or spray) each layer with:

  • Simple syrup
  • Orange juice
  • Jams
  • Booze like Baileys, Kahlua and Rum.

The additional flavors add decadence.

Tip: You can also add the alcohol directly to the batter. General rule of thumb: add equal parts hard alcohol and water to the batter, keeping the total amount of liquid the same. (Many cake mixes call for 1 cup water. So you’ll use ½ cup water and ½ cup booze.)

8. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Extra Frosting

Avoid store-bought frostings. Take an extra five minutes to whip up your own Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting. They’ll be so distracted by the amazing homemade frosting they won’t even be thinking about the cake!

Also, adding extra frosting boosts moistness. Use a layer cake slicer to create extra layers. The extra frosting and/or ganache (yes, you can use both) adds flavor and keeps your cake from becoming dry.

Tip: Warm cake melts frosting. Cool the cake for at least 2 hours, then frost the entire cake surface thoroughly, this will keep it from drying out.

How do you make store bought frosting better?

  • To improve the taste of store bought frosting add in ½ teaspoon of a food extract such as: vanilla, coffee, almond, coconut, or orange and mix it thoroughly into the frosting. 
  • You can also double your frosting by whipping it with a hand mixer.
  • Add nutella or peanut butter to your store-bought icing for extra flavor.

9. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Decoration

How to make box cake better - cake decorating

Nothing says homemade like decorated cake. Fancy up your chocolate box cake with cake decorating hacks to make it better.

Make a cake comb out of a paper plate

  1. Cut a small paper plate in half.
  2. Cut the teeth into 90 degree angles.
  3. Use the flat edge of the other half of the plate to level the top of the cake.

Turn a Zip-Loc Bag Into A Pastry Bag

  1. Put 2 pieces of tape on the corner of a Zip-Loc bag (on each side). This stiffens up the plastic.
  2. Then cut a star tip with scissors.
How to make box cake better - cake decorating piping

10. How To Make Chocolate Box Cake Better with Baking Techniques

Contrary to popular belief, dry measuring cups and wet measuring cups really can’t be used interchangeably.

  • Invest in a good digital food scale and weigh all your ingredients
  • Measure liquids on a level surface in a liquid-measuring cup. Adding too little liquid can cause a dry cake.
  • Never pack flour into a measuring cup; always spoon it in and gently level

Tip #1: When a recipe calls for room temperature butter, sour cream, milk, eggs — or other ingredients — make sure they’re each at room temperature.

Tip #2: Use fresh ingredients. Old ingredients taste bad and can affect the moistness of your chocolate box cake.

Don’t Over-Mix Your Cake Batter

Whip it good.

Beginner bakers tend to under-mix or over-mix their batters.

For a moist cake, also be sure to thoroughly mix the cake batter to a uniform consistency. Avoid clumps in your batter by sifting all your dry ingredients. Use a plastic spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Check for any pockets or large lumps of ingredients.

What happens if you undermix cake batter?

As important not under-mix or over-mix cake batter. You must make sure all of the ingredients are mixed together, or your cake will have texture problems. For best results, mix the cake for the time stated in the recipe on the box.

The batter should be thick & creamy without any clumps. This will help make sure the ingredients are completely incorporated to create a moist and fluffy cake.

Important! Do not leave your mixer running, this can leads to dry, dense cake.

Tip: Avoid batter splatter by attaching a paper plate to your hand mixer. And remember: It’s often easier to rotate the bowl, instead of the mixer.

Grease Cake Pans Properly

Never worry about broken cakes again. Keep cakes from sticking to pans with this magical cake pan release (no parchment paper needed):

Cake Pan Release Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil

Cake Pan Release Instructions

  1. In a bowl, beat ingredients thoroughly until well combined. 
  2. Coat the inside of your baking pan with a generous layer. Be sure to get all the way up the edges of the pan and into the creases.

Tip: If you have an oven that heats unevenly, choose a 2 inch deep cake pan. 3 inch deep cakes can be finicky. Fill cake pans up to 2/3 full. 3 inch deep cake pans should only be filled up to 1/2 full.

Important! A high-quality cake pan can make or break your cake. Avoid cheap cake pans as they can overcook around the edges, under cook in the center, and cause rough cake texture. Choose metal cake pans for even heating.  

Do Not Over-Bake

Preheat your oven and do not check on a cake until it’s done, otherwise, the temperature in the oven will drop.

Use these tried-and-true indicators to check if your cake is done:

  • Cake should be very slightly pulling away from the side of the pan.
  • A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake will come out clean.
  • Gently press down on the cake. If the cake bounces back completely, it’s done. If your finger leaves a dent in the cake, it needs more time.

Tip: Check your cake for doneness 1-2 minutes before recipe instructs. Remove from the oven when it is done. This will ensure a moist yet fully baked cake. Residual heat will continue the baking process outside of the oven.

Important! Use an oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary wildly between brands. Some ovens have “hot spots”, which can result in inconsistently baked cakes. 

Chocolate Box Cake FAQs

What is the best cake mix?

The Duncan Hines cake has the fluffiest and moistest texture. This cake mix also has the most cocoa flavor. This chocolate box cake mix also had the best rise. Duncan Hines is a Wilton approved cake mix that is used in their test kitchens.

What is a cake skirt?

A skirt decoration on a cake is a band of confetti sprinkles, cookie crumbs, cacao nibs (or other ingredient) on the lower part of the cake’s rim. Just use your hand to press a handful onto the bottom of the cake. Your cake should be cooled before applying a skirt.

Should I use room temperature ingredients for chocolate box cake?

It can be tempting to pull ingredients like eggs, butter, and milk out of the fridge and incorporate them into the cake mix right away, but that can be a mistake. When it comes to boxed cake mix, cold ingredients can cause your final product to be dense and dry. Give them 30 minutes to warm up a bit, it can make a huge difference. 

How do you make chocolate buttercream cream cheese frosting from scratch?

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened room temperature
  • 3/4 cup  unsalted butter, softened room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1–2 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream, softened room temperature
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth.
  2. Beat in the butter until combined.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon milk, and salt and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy.
  4. Add more milk to slightly thin out, if needed.

Can I mix cream cheese with store bought frosting?

Yes. With a mixer, combine one tub of room temperature buttercream  frosting and one (8 oz) package of room temperature cream cheese. Refrigerate the cake, as cream cheese can’t remain at room temperature.

What is the difference between frosting and ganache?

Chocolate ganache is mixture of heated  and heavy cream and is more liquidy than frosting.  Frosting is beaten with a mixer and commonly made of sugar, butter, cocoa powder, milk and a flavored extract (like vanilla).

What are some essential cake decoration tools?

  • Good set of cake pans
  • Lazy Susan or turntable
  • Cake board
  • Cake drum
  • Cake leveler
  • Flexible spatula or spoon
  • Bench scraper
  • Fondant smoother
  • Toothed decorating comb
  • Pastry brushes
  • Piping tips and couplers
  • Piping bags
  • Skewer
  • Cake cutter
  • Glass cake stand and cover
  • Mixer

Want to take cake decorating to the next level? You’ll need the right cake decorating supplies. Start with these.

Can I use a can of soda instead of water/eggs/oil?

Substituting a can of soda for the other wet ingredients can amplify the flavors of your cake. Substitute the usual oil and eggs in cake mix for a 12 oz. can of soda. Opt for Coke, root beer or Dr. Pepper to intensify chocolate cake. Lighter sodas like Sprite go well with lighter cakes like vanilla, lemon, or yellow cake.

The cake rises magically and has a subtle but pleasant taste of the cola you choose.

Cake mix. Soda. That’s all you need.

Instructions

  • Stir 12 ounces of your favorite dark soda beverage (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, A&W Cream Soda, Root Beer…) into your cake mix
  • Bake as directed on the box

And for a bit of bonus, the soda will cut the fat from the cake and, if you choose a low-calorie or diet beverage, the calories, too.

What is the best chocolate chocolate box cake recipe?

The good thing about this chocolate chocolate box cake recipe is that it’s quick & easy, super moist, and tastes like homemade.

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 12 cup whole milk
  • 12 cup melted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • frosting (store bought or homemade)

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
  3. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, milk, butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.
  4. On medium low speed, continue to blend for 2-3 minutes
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 27-32 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (in the pans) on a wire rack

Frosting

  1. Carefully remove cake layers from pans. Allow to cool for 20 more minutes on a wire rack.
  2. Frost

Tip: Store your cake in the freezer. It will keep longer this way. Do not place it in the fridge as this will dry it out.

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