18 Tips How To Doctor A Boxed Cake Mix To Taste Like Homemade

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Tips How To Doctor A Boxed Cake Mix To Taste Like Homemade

Turn any boxed cake mix into a moist, delicious homemade tasting cake using these homemade cake tips. Your cakes will taste more moist and more like homemade with these simple substitutions.

Tips How To Doctor A Boxed Cake Mix To Taste Like Homemade

How to make a boxed cake mix taste homemade.

Using a few simple substitutions, your boxed cakes will taste rich, moist, and homemade. You can substitute one ingredient or experiment and try substituting a couple ingredients for an even more homemade tasting cake.

For all you bakers that love to bake cakes from scratch, here’s my recipe for making your own self rising flour. 

When you’re in the mood from something different, take a look at these cookie gadgets the next time you bake cookies.  Don’t break out the ingredients before you see these cookie baking tips. 

              Chocolate Cake Mix

mixerHot Water– When the chocolate cake mix calls for water, add HOT water. It makes the cake CHOCOLATE-ier. The chocolate cocoa flavor “develops” more with hot water. Chocolate is a bean and the hot water brings out the chocolate cocoa flavor, just like it does with coffee.

You can also replace the liquid with brewed coffee or melted chocolate ice cream.

White Cake Mix

Egg Whites– Omitting the egg yolks from a white cake mix makes the cake fluffy and whiter. Since taking out the egg yolks also takes out the fat, add one tablespoon of butter per egg yolk that you take out. So if you take out 3 egg yolks, add 3 tablespoons of melted butter.

Clear Vanilla Extract– Add extra flavor to a white cake mix by adding 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Make sure it’s clear or it will effect the white of your cake.

All Boxed Cake Mixes


Melted Butter– Substitute vegetable oil with melted butter or margarine for added flavor. *Cakes already have salt in them, so I recommend using unsalted butter.

Instant Pudding-Add 1 (3.9 oz) box dry INSTANT Pudding mix. Use vanilla or the same flavor as your boxed cake mix for added richness flavor. Try adding chocolate pudding mix to a Red Velvet Cake Mix!

Sour Cream-Add 1/2 to 1 cup of sour cream in addition to the ingredients it calls for.

Yogurt– Try using 6 oz. flavored yogurt, 2 T. oil and 2/3 cup water, milk or buttermilk, add the eggs called for on the box OR use plain yogurt, 2 T. oil and 2/3 cup water, milk or buttermilk for any boxed cake mix.

Applesauce-Replace the oil with equal parts of applesauce.  If the recipes calls for 1/4 cup oil, replace it with 1/4 cup applesauce for extra moistness.

For example, using two substitutions in a spice cake substitute the oil with applesauce and substitute the water with milk or buttermilk.

Mayonnaise-Add 2 Tablespoons of Mayo. It improves the texture and makes it taste more like homemade.

Jell-o Gelatin-Add flavored gelatin to your boxed cake for added flavor such as strawberry for strawberry cake.

measuring cup


Milk– When a cake mix calls for water, add MILK instead. The milk adds density and fat, and makes it taste homemade.

Buttermilk-You will never go wrong with replacing all the liquids with buttermilk. Because buttermilk is thicker, you may have to add a little extra!

For example, using two substitutions in a spice cake substitute the oil with applesauce and the water with milk or buttermilk.

Coconut Milk-Replace the liquids it calls for with full fat coconut milk.

Coffee-For a chocolate cake mix or yellow cake mix, replace the liquid with brewed coffee.

Soda-To amplify the flavor replace the liquid amount with a dark soda such as coca-cola or dr. pepper.  For flavored cake use flavored soda, such as orange soda in an orange pound cake.


Eggs-For a thicker, moist cake add an extra egg.

Eggs + yolks– Add 2 Extra YOLKS. This adds more fat which gives the cake extra moistness and density and will takes like it came from a bakery! If the recipe calls for 3 eggs, add 3 eggs + 2 egg yolks.

Ice Cream-Replace the liquid for melted ice cream.  Use any flavor to compliment the flavor of your cake or vanilla to enhance the cakes flavor.  See my Strawberry Milkshake Poke Cake.


Items needed to bake a cake:

vintage cake stand | cake stand | glass bowls | stand mixer | hand mixer | measuring cups | spatulas | cake server

Homemade cake ingredients

Tips How To Doctor A Boxed Cake Mix To Taste Like Homemade


  1. What changes would you make for high altitude, above 5,000 feet?
  2. I forgot to add oil to my cake mix but did add sour cream and buttermilk. How will that affect my cake/taste? I have to stack it. Thank you!
  3. So if hot water improves the flavor of chocolate cake, and milk improves cake flavor in general, does warm milk do anything extra for chocolate cake? Or does the hot water do enough so that the milk isn't needed?
  4. terri lynn towns
    How can I make my box cake taste more moist
  5. My recipe calls for one yellow cake mix which requires 1 stick of butter my recipe calls for instant pudding and a forth cup of oil do I use both oil and butter?
  6. I thought your supposed to double the butter if substitute for oil? Do you not if your using more then one substitute?
  7. Terry Tyrone Walker
    1: If I'm okay to use mayonnaise instead of vegetables oil? 2:Instead of sour cream it's okay to use Greek yogurt?
  8. How much butter should I use n place of the oil? I have read 1 cup butter = 3/4 oil, but I am unsure how this is figured. Is it ok to replace all 3 needed ingredients such as the water for milk, the oil for butter, and add 1 extra egg or 2 extra yolks? Will this make it too dry or dense? Thank you
  9. Can you use one box instant pudding and one cup sour cream at the same time to a box cake mix?
  10. So I incorporated some of these strategies....an extra egg, milk vs water, butter vs oil, the pudding mix and sour cream...my cakes not only boiled over the top of the pans but also did not fully bake. Is a longer bake time needed?
  11. When adding a box of vanilla instant pudding to a yellow cake mix, do you eliminate an ingredient? ( butter, water, eggs )
  12. Thank you for all your tips Keep them coming
  13. On the recipe it calls for water do I use the same I sour cream?
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  19. When replacing oil with butter, should it be unsalted?
  20. Audrey Stokes
    In my brownie boxes mix, I used for the oil, half of required amount, I used my pear butter{ really sauce} and the other half oil. Very tasty and moist and was able to use some of my huge quantity of pear butter. Thanks for all the ideas.
  21. Can you use sugar free sodas and instant puddings or do the have to be the kind with sugar?
  22. I have substituted butter for oil, milk for water, added one extra egg plus 1/2- 1 c sour cream and it has turned out amazing. Moist and rich. And on occasion I will add extra cocoa powder or several squirts of Hershey’s syrup and oh my, make a deep chocolate flavor. Try it sometime. Also try it Hershey’s syrup in boxed brownie. Tastes like from scratch
  23. are you saying use REAL BUTTER or margarine? Shows margarine.
  24. Yes I use butter and pudding all the time in my cakes.
  25. Can i use the pudding mix AND applesauce hack at the same time?
  26. Great article! I added a link to it in one of my posts on Mama's Strawberry Cake, which begins with a mix. Thanks for sharing! I know my readers will enjoy it and they'll probably want to become your readers too!
  27. When i make boxed brownies i use coffee instead of water. Never thought to do that with chocolate cake. Guess I'llbe baking this weekend!
  28. I just read your alternatives and have a cake mix (which is rare) so I’m going to try a couple of replacements. The coconut milk sounds good and then I can make coconut cooked frosting. Yummy
  29. If I use butter milk and egg whites, should I still add butter?
  30. Hi , I Replaced water with coffee, added 2 egg yolks to 3 eggs, and butter for oil , don't know how it will turn out , but , thank you for the supper easy exchanges in ingredients , it is about time some with sense and understanding of non gourmet gals and gents how really want to show off thank you for the added knowledge and wisdom. I will always keep this on my home screen of my phone always, love you n God bless
    • Glad you like the exchanges! You kinda have to experiment with them until you find a substitute you like. You can substitute 2 or 3 ingredients in one recipe, but it takes a little experimenting to get it just the way you like it! :)
  31. Hi, there is only Blueberry cheesecake flavoured instant pudding available in my town. Can I use that in a Red Velvet box mix cake? Will it alter the flavor? Thank you.
    • Hello! Yes, if you use blueberry cheesecake instant pudding in a Red Velvet cake mix is will alter the flavor. You could try adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder OR reduce the liquid and add 1 cup sour cream OR I've even seen both cocoa powder and sour cream added. So you could try either one or both! I hope it turns out for you! :)
  32. Carol mcfarland
    I love these ideas. So my question is do you do just 1 idea at a time or can you do more ? Like use butter not oil. Milk not water. Add a box of pudding mix. Use more eggs. I am confused. Please help. Thank You Carol
  33. If the recipe cause for a 1/2 cup of oil how much butter do I use and if the mix already have pudding in it do I still put instant pudding mix in it
  34. When you say use buttermilk and delete the liquids, does this include the oil? How much buttermilk? Thank you
  35. Chocolate cake mix: replaced oil with melted butter. Replaced water with milk. Yummy
  36. Great tips. Will definitely try some of these ideas. Never heard some of them sounds very interesting. Thanks

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