Boy do I have something goooooood for you today! I recently discovered that people I consider baking icons occasionally use cake mixes – they just doctor them up. What?! It kinda feels like I’ve been lied to! But… I tried a doctored up box cake recipe for myself, and my perspective is forever changed. Let me give you a little background on why I fell in love with doctored up box cakes.
So, to start, box cake mixes have things called emulsifiers in them. These emulsifiers essentially guarantee that your cake is going to bake correctly every. single. time. Now, the only other way I know to guarantee this is by measuring my ingredients by weight instead of volume (baking is really just science, right?). This means hauling out your scale, probably putting ingredients back into their packages once you’ve dished too much out, etc. Don’t get me wrong – I love making things from scratch. There’s such a sense of accomplishment and pride! But there’s also A LOT of room for error. When you start from a cake mix, the margin of error is basically zero.
The down side… Using a cake mix can mean you sacrifice the taste. At least that’s what I always thought. Until I made a doctored up box cake for myself. Tweaking the ingredients and adding supplements makes your boxed cake taste completely homemade.
So what’s not to love?! You’ll get a perfect bake every single time and everyone who eats it will think you spent hours in the kitchen baking from scratch. Sounds like a win win to me!
Lemon Bundt Cake & Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
1 yellow box cake mix
1 package of lemon pudding (3.4 oz box)
3/4 cups of orange juice
3/4 cups of oil
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsps cream cheese
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
Water/milk to desired consistency
Mix together your dry ingredients. Keep mixing slowly while adding in your wet ingredients to avoid lumps. Bake in a greased bundt cake pan at 350F for about 30 minutes. While cake is cooling, make the glaze. Combine all ingredients into a mixer and add water or milk until you reach a smooth, pourable consistency. Pour glaze onto cake once cake is completely cooled.
You can substitute jello for the pudding if you want. With pudding the cake is slightly denser and with jello is it slightly watery. I made the cake both ways and prefer it with pudding, but both were delicious.
You can also use any kind of citrus juice you may have on hand. The first cake I made I used orange pineapple juice because we had it. The flavor was not really impacted.
If you do not have lemon extract you can use lemon juice, just use 2x the amount.
Strawberry Layer Cake & Strawberry Buttercream
1 white cake mix
1 package of strawberry jello (3.4 or 3 oz box)
3 tbsps sugar
3 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup finely chopped strawberries
5 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
1/2 cup crushed strawberries
Mix dry ingredients. Beat in oil, eggs, and flour to dry mixture on a low speed. Fold in strawberries. Bake in 2 greased cake pans at 350F for 25 minutes. While cakes are cooling, prepare your frosting. Beat butter and powdered sugar on high for five minutes. Once that is smooth and the consistency you want, mix in strawberries until just combined. After cake is completely cooled, frost it.
I have always struggled with buttercream frosting. I have found that the longer I beat it the better it is!
This cake also tastes really good with a strawberry glaze. To do that, instead of adding butter, add milk or heavy cream to the powdered sugar mixture until it reaches a thick but pourable consistency. If you use heavy cream, be sure not to beat it into whipped cream!
Hope this little baking hack helps and you leave all your friends stunned by your baking skills. And don’t worry, there will be more doctored up box cake recipes to come!