RECIPE: What's your best improvement to boxed cake mix?

boneladyNovember 13, 2006

I love to play around with cake mixes and improve the results. What have you done that tirned out great?

This is this week-ends results at my house

Peanut Butter Banana Cake

I added a heaping serving spoon(maybe 1/3 cup) of crunchy peanut butter to Banana Cake mix and substituted 1/4 cup of Cream of Coconut for that much liquid. Rest of recipe as on the box. The best was the frosting !

I combined the rest of the can of cream of cocounut with peanut butter and mixed until it was well combined; then I beat in enough 10X sugar to make the frosting the right consistency. This is my new favorite frosting !

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I had a box of strawberry cake mix that I added a can of crushed pineapple to, along with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. I put chocolate chips on the bottom of the cake pan and poured the batter over it. To top it, I used a box of banana cream instant pudding (prepared for pie filling),folded in a tub of cool whip and spread over the cooled cake. Then I topped the frosting with chopped nuts, cherries, and chocolate syrup. I called it banana split cake. Awesome!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 10:36PM
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Nancy zone 6

Both of those sound absolutely wonderful! I'm afraid I tend to follow recipes, any changes have been due to necessity, which happens too often. I get in the middle of a recipe & realize I don't have an ingredient. I know, I should have everything gathered, one would think I would have learned after all these years... Some changes have ended up being ok, some not so great, but nothing apparently worth repeating. I need to try these though!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 7:10AM
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use milk or buttermilk instead of water, you can use melted butter instead of oil. and you can add a box of pudding mix or sour cream. Just experiement.

1 box Cake Mix
1 pkg pudding
1/2 c water (warm)
1/2 c oil
4 large eggs
1 c Sour Cream

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 4:36PM
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I rarely "play around " with a cake mix rarely use them but when I do I go to this recipe book 'cake mix doctor" so many ways to twicking a cake mix she uses buttermilk a lot.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 2:57PM
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This is my best. I hardly ever used boxed cake mixes, but this one is very good.

Can't-Leave-Alone Bars
Great for pot luck parties!

Makes 48

1 box white cake mix
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 stick butter, cut small

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan.

2. Beat cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl with mixer until
blended. Press 2/3 in pan.

3. Microwave condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a bowl on high
for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Pour mixture over crust. Top with
teaspoonfuls of reserved cake mixture.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool; cut into bars.

Woman's Day
July 2004

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 6:23PM
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Applesauce for the oil works great.
I usually use Buttermilk or soured milk for the water.
I always add a bit of vanilla or other flavoring.
Lemon yogurt(in lemon, butter, yellow, spice or white) makes a great sub for some of liquids too. I usually use 6 oz lemon yogurt, 2 T oil and 2/3 c water or buttermilk or soured milk. Then the eggs called for on the box. Use other flavors of yogurt with other mixes. Plain or vanilla will go with any cake mix flavor.

Adding sourcream or yogurt will tend to make the cake a bit denser more like a pound cake. My husband prefers his cakes this way in a bundt pan.

I always add fresh carrots to carrot cake mix.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 3:25PM
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Here is one that I tried just this week for the very first time. I usually don't use boxed cake mixes, but couldn't resist the simplicity of this recipe. My husband absolutely LOVES these, and says that they are better than pumpkin pie, and trust me, that is saying ALOT!! Here it is:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 box spice cake
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/4 C. water
Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix cake mix, pumpkin and water together. No eggs or oil are needed, as the pumpkin adds the necessary moisture. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Bake according to directions on the cake mix box for cupcakes. Remove and let cool.

Frost with cream cheese frosting; Serve.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 8:38PM
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Add pudding mix- ie -lemon cake mix, lemon pudding-
add flavored liquers- ie- banana for banana bread- or amaretto- good in most cases- for a good part of the liquid.
add melted butter for all or part of the oil.
add "real chocolate" shaved in chocolate cakes.
Use "bakers Joy" to spray baking pans, and sprinkle with finely ground nut and sugar mix in place of flour.
Coming from someone who enjoys pastry from the "Old fashioned European pastry era" the above will make really your"box" mixes taste hommade.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 9:26AM
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20 years ago, after my grandmother died, a friend brought over a cake that my husband and son fell in love with. She called it "My doctored yellow cake mix cake". It's been a favorite in my home ever since.



1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix. (or any brand 2 layer yellow cake mix. DO NOT USE CAKE MIX THAT HAS PUDDING IN IT.

1 can fruit cocktail packed in fruit juice (15-16oz)

Put cake mix into mixing bowl, add eggs only. DO NOT ADD WATER OR OIL. Add can of fruit cocktail with liquid. Beat with electric mixer, following the directions on cake mix package. If the fruit cocktail pieces are still large, beat a little longer to make them smaller.

Pour into a bundt pan, sprayed with cooking spray and bake according to package directions till cake is done.

Cool and remove from pan.
No frosting needed. Very moist.



any 2 layer cake mix of your choice.
About 24 icecream cake cones (the ones with the flat bottoms.
Frosting and decorations of your choice.

Mix cake mix as directed.

Fill cones with amount of batter that you would use to make cupcakes. Place inside a 9x13 inch baking pan to keep them up right.

Bake according to package directions for cupcakes.

Cake cones come out looking like they have a scoop of ice cream in them. Cool. When completely cooled frost and decorate as desired.

The kids love them, much easier to eat and teachers in schools appreciate these far more than messy cakes or cupcakes.

My daughter made 96 of these for her super bowl party and they where the hit of the party. No one had ever seen them before. She laughed as she told them the story of how her Mom first made them.

I was supposed to make cupcakes for a party at my daughter's elementary school. Thought I had everything I needed to make them and found I didn't have any muffin tins to make them in and all the stores where closed. In desperation I called my mother and she reminded me of what "grandma used to make, when we where little." I had plenty of the cones so that's what I made.
Have never made a cupcake since. All the kids ever wanted was the cake cones for school.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 6:30PM
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Add 2T of mayonnaise to the batter and they will taste more like homemade.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 7:57PM
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There are a few books out that have great recipes by just doctoring up a Duncan Hines cake mix. It's amazing the complements I get. I just made the Hummingbird Cake the other day for the 3rd time and everyone wants the recipe. I hate to lie about the cake mix, they all put it in their own minds that I only make homemade cake. Still trying to figure out a way out of giving out the recipe. LOL


    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 1:10AM
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I got this from my hairdresser who got it 'no telling where'. I call it Ann's Angel Food Cake.
Empty a one-step angel food cake mix into a glass mixing bowl. (MUST be a one-step mix). Add a 20-oz can of crushed pineapple, undrained. Stir with wooden spoon or spatuala just til mixed. (no other ingredients). Bake in 9x12 pan per cake mix directions. Cool. It is very moist, and so good! Hope you like it!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 4:25PM
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starduster - please share the hummingbird cake mix recipe. I cleaned out my pantry and found two boxes of DH cake mix about to expire and I'd love to use them up.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 12:31AM
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I'm assuming that the recipes are the same so sence my 'book' is handy I'll post mine from the cake book doctor
then we can compare with stardusters.
1 pkg. plain (no pudding) yellow cake mix
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained
1 C. mashed bananas (2 medium or 3 small bananas peeled and mashed)
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. oil (canola,vegtable,corn ect.)
3 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
preheat oven to 350 degrees
lightly grease two 9 inch pans dust with flour
Mix all ingredients together for 1 minute scrape sides and bottom of pan then beat for 2 more minutes.
cake mix should be will blended and fruit well mixed
divide between the two pans bake for 30-32 minutes
cool cake frost with cream cheese frosting top with toasted pecans
to be honest have not tried this recipe hubby fussy only few cakes he likes but this sounds so good.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 3:29PM
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Rhubarb bars
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 small box strawberry, cherry, or other red jello
1 cup sugar (optional, depending on how tart you like it)
1 box white, yellow, or lemon cake mix
butter (optional)
1 1/2 cup hot water

Place rhubarb on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with jello powder and sugar. Sprinkle dry cake mix on top of that. Pour hot water over the top, and put a couple of pats of butter on top of that. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Sounds like it wouldn't work, but it is really good. I get asked for the recipe all the time. Would think you could substitute rhubarb for starwberries, cherries, or other fruit that is in season.

My husband's favorite recipe. He makes this one a lot. It came from the box of Pillsbury cake mix.

Peanut Butter Bars
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1 egg
1 can chocolate frosting
1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix yellow cake mix, 1 cup peanut butter, egg, and water. Pour into a 12x9 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. When cooled mix chocolate frosting and peanut butter together and frost bars. You can top with chopped peanuts or M&M's if you want.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 10:13AM
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Rootbeer Cake

Follow directions on the box of butter yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix. Add 1 1/4c. rootbeer instead of water, 1/2 c. butter softened ( in place of oil)and 3 eggs. Optional:2 tsp. rootbeer extract. Frost with your favorite icing.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 3:51PM
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Hands down - this is the best thing you can do with a yellow cake mix!

(from Sue/Cookingrvc)

1. Make Crumb mixture
2. Make Cake mix
3. Bake cake half way
4. Top with crumbs
5. Bake rest of the way
6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar

1 lb butter or margarine
2 Tsps. Vanilla
4 Cups Flour
2 Tsps. Cinnamon
1 Cup White Sugar

In a large pot on the stove, melt the butter and add the vanilla and then mix in the remainder of the ingredients. Spread out with a large spoon and/or a spatula on a cookie sheet to dry out a little. Then make the cake.

1 Box of yellow cake mix.
Make according to recipe on the box.

Put the cake in a pan 11.5 inches by 17 inches.

Bake the cake half way through the baking time (according to the package directions - this will be about 15-20 minutes). Take the crumb mixture and, using a spatula, lift it off the cookie sheet in chunks and, using your hands, crumble it up into big crumbs and put the crumbs on the cake (this will be a little messy) and continue baking until the end of the baking time. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.

Wait until the cake is completely cooled and dust generously with powdered sugar. Lots of powdered sugar!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 5:17PM
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I think of this as a 4-H Club recipe, but only because I got it from another 4-H mom when my kids were in 4-H.


To Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix (none other); add one raw egg white, & substitute orange juice for the water.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 2:29PM
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I'm not big on desserts -- my excess weight came from pasta and dairy products -- and I'm especially turned off by most frostings, but it's convenient to have on hand the ingredients for a last-minute cake, like this one.

Apple Spice Cake:

1. To one package Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix, add 3 eggs and 1 can of Comstock Apple Pie Filling. If you use an electric mixer, the few small remaining apple chunks will disappear during the baking.
2. Scrape into a greased & floured 9" x 13" x 2" pan; if you pile the batter a bit higher toward the pan edges, the finished cake will be a more uniform thickness.
3. Sprinkle with 1/4 C sugar mixed with 1/2 t cinnamon.
4. In a greased & floured 9" x 13" x 2" baking pan, bake on center rack of a 350 F oven until it tests done -- it will appear done, & it will pull away from sides of pan.
5. Cool in the pan; serve w/ (optional) whipped topping.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 3:38PM
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I add coffee instead of water to the cake mix and also add instant coffee to the frosting.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 6:25PM
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I use a cake mix for Dump Cake. I usually make scratch cakes or Homemade from scratch.
Dump Cake
1 Large can crushed Pineapple dumped into an ungreased 9x13x2" cake pan or Pyrex dish.
1 can Pie Filling Blueberry, Cherry, Peach or whatever you like dumped in the pan with the pineapple. Can stir to mix.
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix any brand any kind dumped in on top of the fruits. Smooth it out.
Chopped Pecans as many as desired dumped and spread out over top of cake. I have used sliced almonds, walnuts or cocanut also.
2 sticks of butter cut into 1/4 in slices and placed all over the top of the cake.
Put cake into preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake until golden brown. Ovens vary so some may take longer than others but about an hour. You can't serve this like a regular cake. You need to dip it out with a large spoon or spatula.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 7:45PM
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Another good recipe for Boxed Cake Mix

Chewey Butter Cake

Mix 1 box Duncan Hines Cake mix with 1 Stick soft Butter and 1 egg. Press into a 9x13.2" dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup chopped nuts. (I use Pecans.) Set Aside
Mix 8 oz. softened Cream Cheese, 1 Box Confectioners sugar, 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until smooth. Pour over cake and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until done will be very brown and firm in the middle.
Cuts and serves like brownies.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 8:00PM
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Colorvision Cake

1 Box yellow or white cake mix. I use Betty Crocker
1 sm. box any flavor jello (not instant)

Mix cake according to directions on box adding 2 Tbsp of the jello. Cook and cool according to package directions.

Add the remainder of the box of jello to a seven minute frosting recipe and frost cake. Delicious and kids love it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 2:45PM
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I made Blondies (vanilla brownies) and added one-half cup each Reeses Pieces peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, chopped pecans and dried cherries. It came out better than anything I have ever baked.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 9:22PM
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Colorvision Cake
I meant to say not sugar-free instead of (not instant) Glenda

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 1:49PM
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add a package of unsweetened kool aid to your cake mix. the only limit is your imagination.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 1:42PM
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Best Boxed Cake I Ever Made.

1 Betty Crocker Butter Pecan Cake Mix
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup pancake syrup
1 tub of Coconut Pecan Frosting (German Chocolate Cake Frosting)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add all the ingredients into a large bowl (yes, add the frosting mix) beat until well blended. Pour into prepared Bundt Pan. I spray my pan with Pam Cooking Spray, I then dust the pan with granulated sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Be sure to test for doneness with a toothpick.

This is one cake you will be making often. Also, it is usually cut and sampled before it ever fully cools. I can't keep my husband out of it.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 8:39PM
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If I'm making the basic cake (white, yellow, chocolate, etc.) I always sift the powder mix first. I use applesauce instead of oil and I always add vanilla no matter what flavor cake I'm making. If I use the whole egg (I usually use the whites only), I beat the whites separately from the yolk before adding anything else. I've been told that my cakes have the texture of wedding cakes.

Now as for variations I have added peanut butter and chocolate (a personal favorite) to a white cake, sour cream to a chocolate cake, strawberries to a white cake (omit water) and I am currently making pumpkin bars from a spice cake mix (which led me to your site because I was looking for a way to turn a white cake into a spice cake so I can double it). Use four eggs instead of three, add a can of pumpkin and a quarter of a cup of applesauce (or oil if you prefer), omit water. Bake as directed on the box.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 6:31PM
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1 box yellow cake mix

1 stick butter (soften)

4 eggs

1 box confectioners� sugar

1 8oz. cream cheese (soften)

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together cake mix, butter, water and 1 egg, pour mixture into a lightly greased

13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Batter will be very thick and you will have to pat the mixture evenly with your hands. Blend remaining 3 eggs, on at a time, with the soften cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Pour this mixture over the bottom layer. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes. Let the cake cool before cutting.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 3:05PM
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Why bother with boxed cake mix if you all are going to add such good stuff? all you need to add to regular flour is baking powder and you've got a real homemade cake.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:09PM
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OH wow, flour and baking that sounds just NOMNOM! NOT!!!! HAHAHA!!!!

I've found that just substituting whole milk for the water makes so much difference. It's more dense and more like a homemade cake. My picky husband noticed immediately!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:28PM
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I meant flour and baking powder...sorry...HA!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:29PM
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To any flavor cake mix, I add 1/4 to 1/2 cup self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar. I also sift these ingredients together into the mixing bowl. When adding the liquid ingredients, I add an extra tablespoon or two of water or milk to make the batter the right consistency. It makes the cake rise more and gives it a really smooth texture. It really helps when you are making cupcakes and you can make 4-6 extra cupcakes. My cousin who makes wedding cakes gave me this tip. It really works!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Thanks for the advice - just made cupcakes for my SIL's 36th birthday (much harder than the 35th) and these improved cupcakes will be perfect.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:18PM
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