eats, Uncategorized

bake-over: how to spruce up a boxed cake mix

My favorite thing to do for my friends’ birthdays is to bake them a cake. Selfishly, it gives me an excuse to bake. But I truly love the whole tradition of lighting candles, singing happy birthday, and then cutting into a big cake and passing out all the delicious pieces.

Life is busy though and the whole “from scratch” concept can be scary. So here is a recipe for a from-scratch-tasting yet time-efficient cake. Most recently, I made a funfetti cake. Because plain vanilla is too boring, right? However, you can spruce up any flavor of boxed cake mix this way!

Step 1: Butter up a glass cake pan & coat the pan with granulated sugar

This will prevent the baked cake from sticking to the pan. A lot of recipes call for dusting the greased pan with flour, but the granulated sugar adds a nice sweet taste to the edges.


Step 2: Dump out the mix and add the eggs

Pour the dry cake mix into a large to medium size bowl. Add however many eggs the back of the box instructs you to add.


Step 3: Butter > oil

In my personal opinion, I think a cake made with butter rather than oil has a better texture. It is a little less airy, making the cake denser and richer. The back of the cake box should call for a certain amount of vegetable oil. Substitute this vegetable oil for the butter with a 1:1 ratio! Make sure the butter is mostly melted when you add it in.


Step 4: Add a little mayo for major moisture

I like my cakes incredibly rich. I mean if you’re going to eat cake, go big or go home! Mayonnaise helps to keep the cake flavorful and moist. Add 2 tablespoons of real mayonnaise to the bowl.


Step 5: Time for a little liquid

The back of the box should tell you how much water to add. Go ahead and add the said amount of water plus 1/4 cup of extra water.


Step 6: Pudding pudding pudding

Instant pudding is the most important ingredient in this cake. It really enhances the taste and moisture. The flavor of the pudding and the texture of it really brings this whole cake together. For chocolate cakes, chose a chocolate pudding. For a vanilla cake, chose a vanilla pudding. Or, you can have the chance to get creative. I have found that using white chocolate or cheesecake flavored puddings taste amazing in vanilla cakes! Add the 3/4 of the box of instant pudding into the bowl (this is why in Step 5 you added a bit of extra water!). 


Step 7: Mix it all together & pour it out

One box of cake mix should fill 2 circular cake pans. Evenly spread out the cake batter in the pans and then let it cook in the oven for as the box says.


Step 8: Ice ice baby

After the two cakes have cooled, go ahead and ice it! Buttercream icing is my absolute favorite and I will use that flavor 9 out of 10 times. Ice the first cake’s top generously then place the second cake on top of it. Go ahead and ice the cake completely, making sure to cover all the sides and to spread the icing smoothly. Lastly, decorate the cake! Get creative with other icings, edible glitter spray, and sprinkles.


Who said cake from a box can’t rock? Happy baking!

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