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How to make a Cake Mix taste Homemade

Most of the time, when I bake cupcakes, I use a boxed cake mix. Although, I do add some extra ingredients to make it taste homemade. And yes, I know baking from scratch is the best, but a lot of the time we are all just too busy. Want to know how to make a cake mix taste homemade? Read on!

I often have readers ask what I add to the cake mix, and although I always share in each recipe what to add, I thought it would be good to have a special post giving you the recipe.

Chocolate Mousse Cupcake Filling.feature

Chocolate Mousse Cupcake

Sometimes I add other ingredients to change the flavor a bit, but by starting with a cake mix, it’s super easy. I created a short video for you…

How to make a Cake Mix taste Homemade

  • Cake Mix
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk {or amount of water on box}
  • 1/3 cup oil {or amount on box}

Monster Eye Cupcakes.FEATURE

Monster Eye Cupcakes


  • To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place in bowl of hot water and let set a couple minutes
  • To make your own buttermilk, add a splash {about 1 tablespoon} of vinegar to measuring cup, fill with milk and let set for a couple minutes
Hot Chocolate Cake

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How to make Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade

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  1. I have used your doctored recipe with great success, now they have made the mixes smaller should the amounts added be changed as well?

    1. Hi Bonnie, I still use 4 eggs, then replace the water or milk with buttermilk using the same measurement as the box calls for. And the oil is the same as the box calls for as well.
      Happy Baking!

  2. Lemon juice will work to make buttermilk as well as vinegar and not so potent in either smell or taste!

  3. I love to bake but whenever I attempt to get creative I just end up messing up the recipe. I love that you had just a few easy to follow steps and they made a huge difference in how the cake tastes! Your video was perfect and I appreciated the side tips on the eggs and how to make buttermilk. I used this recipe with a box of Pillsbury strawberry cake mix along with a banana frosting I found a recipe for to bring into work and it was a huge success! Thanks so much! I’ll definitely be coming to your site again!

    1. That’s great, Jessica! I’m thrilled you found the video and recipe helpful! Thanks so much for letting me know!
      The Strawberry Banana Cupcakes sound amazing!

    2. Thank you for the tip, nothing worse than having to buy container of buttermilk if you have 1 recipe for it.

  4. Thanks so much –I keep this pinned to use when I need it. Today I used it for my Easter cupcakes using party rainbow chip -Betty Crocker. I like the video– I know it is simple but visuals are always great. Love your website.

  5. Hi there! Have you used this trick on the “new” (i.e., smaller sized) cake mixes? I was so disappointed to see that all 3 major brands have shrunk from 18.25 down to 15-16 oz.

    1. Hi Dorothy, yes I still use the same method on the new size of cake mix.

  6. ChocolateLady says:

    Your cupcakes are very pretty but I am disappointed that you don’t have scratch recipes.

      1. Mary Ann Cox says:

        I want to make a good ‘Butter Pecan’ cake using Better Crocker cake mix and what can I do to make it seem rich and more like homemade? Also what kind of icing should I use? Thanks for your help….

  7. Have you ever had the problem with the cake coming out of the oven and then collapsing? I’ve tried this technique before and each time the cakes come out of the oven beautifully and then with in minutes they just sort of shrink and collapse, it’s very frustrating.

    1. Hi Lisa, I have not had that problem. Are you using eggs at room temp? That might be the problem. Also, it might be your oven.

      1. No, I was using cold eggs and I had added a box of pudding mix as well. Do you think the oven would be too hot or too cold? Also, could it be that I’m over mixing the batter?

        1. Room temp eggs are always best in baking. If you forget to take them from the fridge, which I usually do, just place them in a bowl with hot water for about 5 minutes. The oven temp could definitely make a different as well as over beating.

  8. didn’t work for me, – i tried w a strawberry cake mix this morning for my daughters 4th b-day party and it tasted awful as a batter, – couldn’t smell the strawberry at all anymore.

    1. Hi Tina, I’m sorry it didn’t work, I’ve used this recipe hundreds and hundreds of times and never had a problem. Did you use too much vinegar?

      1. Maybe so — i did consider that option, but i’ve never had that happen when i’ve made buttermilk before. I’ll attempt again sometime, i usually just make homemade but haven’t found a strawberry cake recipe that doesn’t taste like a box mix.

        1. Hi……when I make a strawberry cake from scratch, I usually use my regular yellow cake recipe but substitute half strawberry milk for the milk ingredient and add fresh strawberries to the milk as well in the amount that your recipe asks for. So mixing the whole milk, strawberry milk and strawberries together to make, let’s say 1 cup of milk (if that’s what your recipe calls for). It works out well and has great strawberry flavor. I also add a little strawberry extract but not much because it doesn’t really taste like real strawberry to me.

          1. My box mix strawberry cake is as follows:

            1 box strawberry cake mix
            applesauce to equal oil or butter on box
            4 eggs
            1 small container frozen strawberries, thawed, juices well strained and saved ( I drain for about a half hour to almost dry out he strawberries. You don;t want them real juicy. This adds to your liquid measure and affects the cake.

            Measure the strawberry liquid to up to the amount of water needed on the box. If there is not enough, add water to make up the difference.

            Mix your ingredients per the box instructions
            Add strawberries in last to not crush them anymore than you need to. I don’t always use the whole container. usually about half. Use your judgement.

            Bake at 325 until done (this depends on your pan). It will take longer than the box instructs since you are using a lower temp.

  9. Mary Newlon says:

    I want to make wrappers for muffins. Do you have a template for that or a template for cupcake wrappers? I thought you did, but I cannot find it anywhere on your site.

  10. I prefer using a cake mix since it is easier and people usually rave over how well it tastes. I haven’t watched your video yet (will after commenting) but I always use the mix that calls for oil instead of butter and I strictly following the mixing and cooking times and it turns out fabulous every time 😉 Looking forward to seeing how you do it 😉

    1. Thanks for the tips Tammy! I typically always use oil also, but have also used butter.

      1. I use applesauce in place of the oil. Measure for measure. It adds to the homemade flavor. I use many things for the water substitute, not just milk or buttermilk. I’ve added orange juice, pineapple juice, milk, Kahlúa, Baileys, Sometimes I use part water and part of another liquid ingredient. Our flavor combinations are only limited by our imaginations.

  11. Thank you for the great tip … I am going to try it!

  12. Thanks for your help on the cheesecake. All recipes I checked were either 300 or 375•, so i think i’ll try at 350• and continually check for doneness after 15 minutes.

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