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 😉
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!