7 Hacks for Boxed Cake Mix

Published on October 21, 2015 By Lauren

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    Shhhh! No one will ever know that your cupcakes at the birthday party were from a mix!

    The good thing about box mixes for baked goods is that most of the ingredients are included. Maybe you’ll need to add an egg or some water, but it’s all there. The bad thing about box mixes is that it really puts a limitation on your creativity and individual touch. Or does it?

    Starting with a box mix for bread, muffins, cookies, or cake might encourage you to stretch your own limits and provide you with a higher board from which to dive into the deep end of the baking pool.

    There are a surprising number of easy ways to enhance a box mix that will allow you to add a personal touch.

    Your cupcakes will stand out at the PTA bake sale.

    Your homemade housewarming gift will be warmly received by the grateful hostess.

    Even a simple birthday party at home can be extra special with a few creative touches.

    The financial savings of baking at home can far outweigh the time savings of grabbing something on the run. Plus, you’ll feel better because you’ll know the quality of what you’re feeding your friends and family!

    Here are seven hacks to dress up that boxed mix!

    boxed cake mix hacks
    1. Go nutty!

    This one works well for cakes and breads. I often throw nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, and even dried fruit into my quick bread batter. This is a super easy way to add texture and flavor without changing the consistency of the loaf.

    You can also try it with your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Just add in up to 1 cup of add-ins for a recipe of about 3 dozen cookies. Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite. I throw in 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup of sweetened coconut to the same step when the chocolate chips are added. Perfection!

    2. Sweeten the Deal with Candy

    Add candy bars or cookies to frosting to create a delightful burst of flavor built right in.

    Bake candy bars into brownie batter. This tip changed the way I eat brownies.

    1. Just place half the batter into the prepared pan.
    2. Then layer chocolate candy bars over the top of the batter layer.
    3. Top with the rest of the batter and bake as directed. You might need to add 1 or 2 minutes to the bake time.

    The hidden layer of goodness will surprise your guests.  They’ll be so impressed and they probably won’t know how easy it was.

    My favorite candy to do this with is chocolate mint candies, chocolate with toffee bits, or even peanut butter cups.

    boxed cake mix hacks
    3. Make a mess!

    Sometimes when I try to get elaborate and fancy then that’s when things just go terribly wrong. I’m just not the person you go to to make cake balls look like Ryan Gosling, Jr.

    Instead I take the opposite approach by making things as messy as possible. People love it! The crazy drizzle is so much better than the less than perfect piping.

    My top secret cake ball tip (or what I learned from making cake balls a dozen times): When I add the candy coating to cake balls or chocolate covered peanut butter balls I either drizzle with a colored candy or throw on some crumbs. Cake crumbs work great! They also give a hint as to the deliciousness that is waiting inside!

    4. Throw some dirt on it!

    My kids’ favorite decorating tool is dirt. Well, it looks like dirt. Crushing up Oreo cookies looks like dirt and they love to throw it on anything. Just last week we had vanilla frozen yogurt (just vanilla Greek yogurt thrown in our yogurt maker) topped with gummy worms and Oreo dirt. So fun!

    This combination works like a charm on cupcakes, too. Just make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and top with crushed Oreos and worms. I promise they’ll be snatched up fast at the bake sale!

    boxed cake mix hacks
    5. Taste the rainbow!

    If your children can tolerate food coloring (you’ll know best for your child), then have a blast making creative combinations. Color is the easiest way to add some fun and variety to a cake mix.

    • Maybe every cupcake has a swirl of colors in it!
    • Maybe the cake is made of multiple layers and they’re all different colors.

    These tips are fun because the color secret isn’t on the outside of the cake. The outside could be covered in plain white vanilla frosting but the fun begins when you cut into it!

    You can also add food coloring to cookie dough. This is perfect for sugar cookies that are generally white already. The color shows up beautifully. Do a little experimenting with your favorite recipes and record how many drops it takes to create the perfect hues.

    boxed cake mix hacks

    6. Fill it with fruit!

    Fresh fruit can take your baked goods to the next level. Combine a box cake with simple whipped topping and fresh fruit in a fancy pattern for a weeknight treat that your family will love.

    Super simple and amazingly rich – add canned pie filling to the middle of a layer cake. Cherry is the best when snuggled between two luscious layers of chocolate cake and topped with a light whipped cream. It’s like a Black Forest Cake made easily at home with a box mix and a can of pie filling.

    You could also use lemon curd or berry jam as a center layer inside your cakes. A fun combination to make a Strawberry Lemonade Cake is lemon cake with strawberry jam and a simple lemon glaze drizzled. So fancy and simply yum!

    7. Ditch the jar!

    Even a box cake mix deserves delicious frosting.  Making homemade frosting is easy. Here’s a great recipe to start with that will certainly convince you to make your own from now on. You can use a hand mixer to make this easier.

    boxed cake mix hacks

    Easy Homemade Frosting

    Now you can ditch the can and make your own delicious frosting at home.
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    Author: Lauren Cobello


    • 1 stick of butter 1/2 cup softened
    • 4 cups of powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 4 tablespoons of milk


    • Beat until creamy. You can add 1 - 2 tablespoons more milk if it’s too stiff to spread.
    • Adding color to your frosting is easy with food coloring. (I like to make cupcakes and divide the frosting into several bowls so I can make a rainbow of colors.)
    • Bonus: To make chocolate frosting, just add 1/2 cup cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and a few more tablespoons of milk to the ingredients above. The salt brings out the rich chocolatey flavor!

    You might not shop at the bakery again. These tips can really help you save money and get extra creative with your baked goods at home.

    boxed cake mix hacks



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