By Colleen McTiernan
Baking is not everyone’s forte. The precise measurements and bake times can be daunting for some, which is why boxed cakes, with their simple instructions and pre-made mixes, can be such a big help! If you are looking to whip up a cake for your little one’s birthday or another celebration during the year, but want something a little more special than your typical cake mix or more personal than a cake from the grocery store, consider these seven tips to help take your boxed cake to a new, flavorful tier
Add coffee to chocolate cake mix
Instead of using water, try using brewed coffee instead in boxed chocolate cake mixes. If there is one thing I have learned from watching Ina Garten on “The Barefoot Contessa,” it is that coffee really helps the chocolate flavor come through in baked goods. If you do not want to brew the coffee first, you can always just add a bit of instant coffee to the mix, along with the suggested amount of water, for a similar effect.
Use whole milk for yellow cake mix
Water does not lend much flavor to your cake, so swap it out for the same amount of whole milk. The fat from the milk will also make your cake a bit denser if you are looking for a different texture than the typical box cake.
Consider mayo or sour cream
When it comes to cake, the name of the game to get a more flavorful end product is fat. Add a tablespoon of mayonnaise or two of sour cream for a rich and tasty cake that no one would ever guess came from a box.
Swap vegetable oil for melted butter
Replace relatively flavorless vegetable oil with melted butter for a richer tasting cake. This substitution is an easy way to boost flavor quickly.
Add extra eggs
Add an extra egg or two to your cake mix for a moister finish. Again, adding more fat to your boxed cake (without overdoing it, of course!) is a sure way to end up with a more decadent tasting cake.
After baking your cake according to package directions, you can still add more flavor if you find it lacking! Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes about an inch apart on the surface of the cake. Then simply drizzle liquid over top and let it soak in! Depending on the flavor of your cake, you can use anything from sweetened condensed milk or vanilla pudding to lemon glaze or strawberry sauce.
Spice it up!
If you are using yellow cake mix, consider adding vanilla extract, almond extract or some cinnamon to your batter before baking. If you are using a chocolate mix, add in some extra chocolate chips for a decadent finish.