There’s a time and place for boxed cake—large gatherings that call for quantity, dessert at a vacation rental, and, yup, when you inevitably forget someone’s birthday. But just because you’re taking a baking shortcut doesn’t mean you need to shortcut the flavor. Follow our easy tips to take your boxed cake from satisfactory to special-occasion.
- Enrich the fats to create a more flavorful and moist cake. Swap melted butter for oil, milk for water, and/or add an extra egg to the total count.
- Enhance the flavor by adding citrus juice or zest, chocolate, coffee, extras, and/or spices.
- Garnish the frosted cake with fresh fruit, sprinkles, chocolate or coconut shavings, etc. Never underestimate the power of a good accessory!
Here’s what we did to upgrade a box of pumpkin cake:Print
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup pumpkin purée
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pack Pillsbury Pumpkin Cake Mix
- 1 container Pillsbury cream cheese frosting
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with butter and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, milk, pumpkin purée, vanilla extract, orange zest, spices, and salt. Add in cake mix and whisk again to combine.
- Transfer cake batter into cake pans and bake until the tops and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Once baked allow the cakes to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, combine frosting with maple syrup and whisk until smooth.
- Once cakes are cooled, frost and decorate as preferred. Enjoy!