Kitchen Hack: How to make a Cake Mix Taste Homemade

I love baking from scratch: muffins, cakes, cookies, biscuits, you name it. However, after having my second daughter, and especially now being pregnant with my third (a boy!) I’ve come to appreciate the convenience of a store bought cake mix. I mean, you cut open a package, add some eggs and water, and you have a cake with barely any effort! The downside to not making homemade desserts is that they don’t taste homemade. I mean, they aren’t, but why can’t it taste the same? Well I have a few hacks (that I have used plenty over the past couple of years) that can make a cake mix taste homemade! People will never even know 😉

Chocolate/orange cake for a friend’s baby shower

With a typical cake mix you usually need to add oil, eggs, and water, so some basic swaps I like to make are: melted butter for oil, an extra egg, and milk (or coffee in a chocolate cake) for water. Those changes alone will take your cake mix to the next level, but you can take it a step further by adding some extra goodies to the batter. Some things I like to add are salt (always! It helps balance out the sweetness), ground cinnamon, some orange zest in a chocolate cake, lemon zest in a vanilla cake, a flavor such as vanilla (in any flavor), mint (in chocolate), or almond (in chocolate or vanilla), or some extra mix-ins like chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or chocolate chips. Be sure to stay away from anything too wet such as fruit because it will mess with the baking times.

When it comes to frosting, the same things work. Make canned frosting creamier by adding a bit more butter or cream cheese, add a pinch of salt, maybe flavor it with an extract or citrus zest, maybe mix in some jelly or nut butter, and it will taste like delicious, creamy homemade frosting!

This is such an easy kitchen hack, but it’s really been helpful, and I’ve been able to gussy up so many basic boxed cake mixes. These simple swaps and additions can help make an ordinary cake into something special, in a fraction of the time! Have your cake and eat it, too…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!


Microwave Molten Lava Cake

Chocolate Love

It’s February: the month of love, flowers, and, most importantly, chocolate. Some people love candies and cookies, but cake, namely chocolate cake, is my favorite dessert; if anyone wanted to speak my love language (gifts), you should gift me with some homemade chocolate cake, and we would probably be BFFLs.

But this isn’t about me. This is about you and your special someone celebrating Valentine’s Day together. Making a cake is always a great way to celebrate! Unfortunately, making a cake is usually time consuming, it’s usually chock full of butter and white sugar, and a whole cake seems kind of daunting sitting on your counter. You may already have a stomach ache, but you don’t want to waste this gorgeous cake. *sigh*

However, this cake is the solution to all of those problems! It is dairy free, flour free, refined sugar free, the perfect size for two lovebirds to share, and it cooks in about two minutes in your microwave! If you are celebrating Valentine’s Day solo this year (which was me 5/7 years my husband and I have been together), never fear! You can totally make this cake just for you, eat the whole thing, or save the other half. Whether you are single, happily coupled, or celebrating with your pals, Microwave Molten Lava Cake is the perfect guilt-free chocolate indulgence!



Microwave Molten Lava Cake

Serves two.



  • Melt two ounces of dark chocolate in a large microwavable bowl, heat 30 seconds, stir, heat another 30, then stir again
  • Add all other ingredients except egg
  • Stir until combined
  • Let cool for a couple minutes before adding egg…otherwise your cake will be streaked with scrambled egg. Not that I speak from experience or anything…
  • Beat and combine egg well (again, you don’t want scrambled egg cake)
  • Press the other ounce of dark chocolate down into the center of the batter
  • Microwave for 1.5 minutes
  • Top with desired toppings
  • Let cool for a few minutes
  • Dive in

I don’t think desserts get much easier than this! If you are looking for another Love Day dessert that’s actually baked in an oven, check out my Wholesome Chocolate Chunk CookiesChocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars, or Dark Chocolate Paleo Brownies. If no-bake treats are your thing, I’ve got you covered with my Chocolate Banana “Nice” CreamTwo Layer Paleo Fudge, or my No Bake Chocolate Date Cake.

Go to my “Desserts” menu and use the drop down arrow to see what else I have for you! I am sure you will find something special for this special holiday! Love your family, friends, and chocolate…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!