Short on time? Start with a box mix and add some extras to make it super moist and delicious.
Alright, *almost* is a bit of a stretch. It’s mostly a box cake with stuff added in to make it even better. Some bakers scoff at box mixes, think it’s sacrilege and only bake from scratch. I’m a whatever-works-for-you kinda baker and sometimes it’s just easier to whip out a box.
How to Improve Boxed Cake Mix
Adding a few simple ingredients over and above what’s listed on the back of the box makes a world of difference. You will need:
- boxed cake mix
- all-purpose flour
- large eggs
- vegetable oil
- sour cream
The sour cream is the secret ingredient I think that makes this doctored box mix extra moist and flavourful.
These days I mostly bake from scratch as I experiment to create some really good recipes, but I used this recipe all the time when I was focussing on cake decorating. I’ve yet to recreate the delicious flavour and texture of a classic vanilla box mix cake though. My Vanilla Cake recipe comes close, but it’s not quite the same.
I really like this recipe because it makes the box mixes a little more dense and super moist. This recipe is GREAT for a cake that will be decorated, stacked, etc. as the cakes have really good structural integrity.
Easy Buttercream Frosting Recipes:
- Simple Vanilla Buttercream
- Whipped Chocolate Buttercream
- Baileys Chocolate Buttercream
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Tips for making this Almost Scratch Cake:
- This recipe makes two 8″ or three 6″ cake pans. You can use two 9″ as well but the layers will be thinner (reduce baking time accordingly).
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time. Start checking at 15mins or so.
- Be sure to use room temperature ingredients as this will yield the best results.
- I’ve only used this method with yellow/white cake mixes, but it should work just fine with chocolate, red velvet, or spice cake as well.
- For box mixes, my go-to’s are Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines. The French Vanilla flavour is my favourite.
- Use full fat sour cream for best results.
- You can easily add some sprinkles to make this a funfetti cake instead, but be sure to use either jimmies or confetti as the small round nonpareils will bleed into the batter.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my Flat Top Cakes post!
Almost Scratch Cake
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Butter and flour two 8" cake rounds (I use Homemade Cake Release), line with parchment.
- Wrap cake rounds with damp Bake Even strips (optional).
- Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.
- Add wet ingredients and mix until combined.
- I use my KitchenAid on low for 2 minutes but you can also do this by hand.
- Divide the batter between the pans and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
- Cool in pans on wire rack for 10mins, then turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely.