making boxed cake mix better...
does anybody have any receipes that start with a boxed cake mix? Over the next few weeks we have a lot of get togethers that I would like to bring treats to and it would be great if I can start with a mix and make it great! I love the recipe that was posted around St. Pat's Day for the Irish Cream Bundt Cake that started with a yellow cake mix...
If I use a boxed mix I always add a box of extra vanilla or cocoa to the recipe. It doesn't sound like much but it makes a would of difference.
I like to beat the eggs and fats first and then add them to the dry mix. The crumb will be much finer and if you followed the recipe directions.
A boxed yellow cake is mix is a culinary chameleon, and the possible uses are endless. King Arthur's mixes are my favorite, but there is no shame with either Betty Crocker or Pillsbury.
You know, Kelli, so many chowhounds would roll their eyes at the thought of using cake mixes but the fact that you, as a professional baker, admit to using them, even if it might be only on occasion, says a lot about you and your confidence. I'll check out the King Arthur mixes based on your recommendation--I've never even noticed them before. Thanks! :-) There was an article in the Washington Post that asked some of the bigger pastry chefs in this area to make something with boxed cake mixes and frosting. Most said they could create something good w/ a box cake but they all agreed there was little you could do with canned frosting to make it better.
I love to bake and I don't have any problems with using cake mix, although for some I don't think it's worth it -- if it's basically just flour, leavening and flavoring and you have to add eggs, milk, oil, etc. anyway, I don't really see the point. Also, I'd look for brands that don't have a lot of artificial flavors, colors, etc.
There are some good recipes in this book. My favorite is the Melted Ice Cream Cake. I don't think I even have to look it up.
Take a box of white cake mix and add two cups of melted ice cream (NOT two cups of ice cream, melted; melt it first, then measure) and 3 eggs. Mix for 3 minutes on medium speed of whatever mixer you have. Pour into a greased 9X13 pan and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Ice however you like.
This is my in-a-pinch cake. You can use any type of ice cream. I used a peanut butter ice cream that had pb cup pieces in it and the cake was terrific. The book recommends Cherries Garcia.
Taken from an Epicurious testimonial. Some found the cake dry; some moist
I really loved this recipe, but after reading all the reviews I have to admit I was a little worried. After reading the recipe that is here I think I know why - it's missing a lot of important data! 1. DO NOT use a cake mix that contains pudding in the mix. 2. Use WHITE CAKE MIX as this provided the best results 3. Use PREMIUM ICE CREAM, as in Haagan Daz or Ben and Jerry's. You need a solid two cups of ice cream and cheaper brands contain a lot air and lower quality ingredients. Don't skimp! I do a lot of baking and try lots of recipes and this one was really good (and easy!). For more information about the recipe I used (I made a coffee flavored cake) please see pictures on my blog at www.dozenflours.com
by JuliaHelene from Seattle, WA
Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
My favorite cake to make is a Harvey Wallbanger Cake. It's a bundt cake and EVERYONE loves it (be prepared to give out the recipe). It's very easy and starts with a yellow cake mix. As far as cake mixes go, I’m a huge fan of Duncan Heinz “Most Delicious” cake line. My friend, Cat, actually tried this recipe using homemade yellow cake ingredients (she’s so Martha sometimes) and claimed it didn’t taste as good. Go fig—sometimes store-bought does triumph. Woohoo!
1 package yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
¼ cup Galliano liquor
¼ cup vodka
2/3 cup orange juice
½ cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour in a greased bundt cake pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done.
You can also sprinkle/sift powdered sugar over it to make it look pretty, but really, it doesn't need anything on top. Hope this helps!
Galliano is a sort of licorice-tasting liquor (I think). It's yellow and usually comes in some fancy, tall, slim bottle. I am sure you can get it at the liquor store. I've purchased mine at a supermarket (usually stored in the glass cases). It's a little expensive, but a bottle will last you a long time (that is, if you're using it strictly for cooking purposes. I can't vouch for how long it will last if you're swigging it at the bar). Be sure to get the regular galliano; I think there are different flavors.
I have never made it as a cupcake but I'm sure you can. Just adjust the cooking time. BUt even if you make it as a regular bundt cake, it's easy to slice it into individual slices and pack it.
Even if you don't make a different kind of cake recipe with your boxed cake, look at the Dream Whip box and follow the recipe for a very moist and delicious addition to yellow or chocolate cake mix
The two best doctored-mix cakes I've ever tasted are the aforementioned Strawberry Cake (Lots of slightly different recipes for it out there, so be sure you use 2/3 C. oil--not the 1/2 or 3/4 C. that some call for.), and this braindead-simple one from the Cake Mix Doctor. (I think she calls it the Chocolate-covered Cherry Cake.)
1 box Devil's Food cake mix (NOT w/"Pudding in the mix"!)
1 22 oz. can cherry pie filling
3 lg. eggs (She says 2, but I have better luck w/3)
Dump this in a bowl in no particular order, beat w/mixer 1 min. on low (scrape down sides of bowl well), 2 min. on med. (I have a powerful Braun hand mixer, so I use Med. If you have a wimpy mixer you might want to make that 2 min. on High.)
Add 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract, blend well. (She says 1 tsp., but I find that too much.)
I bake it in a buttered Bundt pan and frost it with Dutch Chocolate buttercream frosting (which I make with 6 Tbs. butter/4+ C. conf. sugar/Dutch Process Cocoa to taste/pinch of salt/vanilla and BOILING WATER-- which makes it tastes like cooked fudge) to which I add a full C. of toasted broken pecans or walnuts.
This makes enough frosting for a 9X13 sheet pan if you wish to cook it that way (easier to serve to a crowd and the icing is evenly distributed), but I pile it on/around/in the middle of the Bundt cake and it is a beautiful sight to behold. When I serve it I put a spoonful of the pooled frosting/nuts on each slice
(Start frosting while the cake is warm so it will run down the sides and pool nicely. As it cools you can pile the rest on top and it will stay there..)
This is a moist, dense, utterly sensational cake, and it is truly, truly better the 2nd or 3rd day after it's made. So make it at least a day ahead.
Delicious!! I made this for an office event and everyone loved it!! I made it in two round cake pans instead of bundt and I made a similar icing but with normal cocoa and Hershey's Syrup instead of Dutch Processed and sprinkled it with toasted hazelnuts. The hazelnuts were amazing but I will make sure to try your frosting recipe next time. I didn't use it because I wasn't sure how much cocoa to use. Do you have a general starting amount? Thanks for a great recipe!
I made this yesterday and it turned out great! Simple, easy, quick. Sometimes I want to make a dessert and just don't want to drag out 15 ingredients.
This was flavorful and moist, and I actually liked the fact that the mixer broke up the cherries. I really didn't want big chunks in my cake.
Devil's food or chocolate cake mix is vastly improved by substituting brewed coffee for the water, ounce per ounce. Make sure it is not too hot. Subbing coffee and throwing in a handful of chocolate chips is the easiest way I've found to seriously amp a boxed mix. It makes a mean bundt, which is more elegant and homespun looking than a sheet cake, I think.
From my late aunt I learned the tip of adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a little (1 to 2 teaspoons) of fresh lemon juice to any of the yellow or white cake mixes. All commercial cake mixes are very sweet ( to my taste, too sweet), especially if they are frosted, and this little under current of salty/tartness helps balance the flavors.
I also like the Butter Added recipe mixes, using salted butter.
Also from the Cake Mix Doctor...Darned Good Chocolate Cake. It has become the go to cake for birthdays in our house.
! box Devil's Food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl and beat for 3 minutes. The mixture will be thick. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured bundt cake pan and bake at 350 for 50-55minutes. cool 20 minutes in pan, then remove from pan.
I make a quick glaze for it using sour cream and melted semi-sweet chocolate.
"Darned Good" is our family favorite, loved by all!! We usually bake it in a 9 x 13 then sprinkle powdered sugar on it. We always use the ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips.
In addition to "Darned Good", we love the chocolate chip cake, the fruit crumble recipe, the pound cake, the cookie bars made with leftover candy, the orange cake, and a bunch of others.
I always use the butter recipe cake mixes - they are actually pretty good. Then I make a really rich decadent buttercream frosting - from the Cake Bible - and its heaven. Cake to me is usually just a vehicle for the frosting.
Get the book "Kids Cake Mix Fun and More" by International Publications, Ltd. All sorts of great treats to make with cake mix
A fail-safe method I use to make all cake mixes better is to substitute buttermilk for all the liquid the back of the box calls for. I've also added maple syrup (the real stuff) and chopped nuts, and for a different cake frozen berries (and the leftover liquid goes right into the icing), I've also made an icing for a cake mix batch of cupcakes using reduced egg nog for a Christmas party. But the buttermilk and a homemade icing makes 300% of a difference.
thanks for all the great suggestions! Keep them coming. I went to the library and checked out "The Cake Doctor" . Has anyone made the "Blueberry Muffin Cake"? I have a box of Cinnamon Swirl mix that I was thinking about substituting for the yellow mix for a brunch I'm attending this weekend. How do you think that would be?
I have made the Blueberry Muffin Cake and it is very good. Really great with tea or coffee in the morning. Also, wonderful for morning are the Sock It To Me Cake, and there is another one that is very similar to it, Susan's Lemon Cake, and there's another one that I'm forgetting the name right now, but it has dried apricots and chocolate chips in it. Oh my, it's wonderful and is probably my favorite morning cake. I substitute dried cherries for the dried apricots. Also, if you make that one, run the cherries and chocolate chips through your food processor. It makes for a much finer cake texture.
For dessert the Punch bowl Cakes are wonderful either the chocolate or the fruit one.
Have fun baking!
I have a great crumb cake recipe that uses yellow boxed cake mix instead of a made from scratch cake. All you have to do after that is make the crumbs which consists of butter, sugar, and some spices. It SO easy and tastes great!
Pina Colada Cake
1 box yellow cake
1 can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
1 box vanilla pudding
1/s tsp coconut extract.
Bake yellow cake according to directions. While it is baking, simmer pineapple (in juice) with sugar. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove cake, let cool a few minutes, then poke holes in it with a fork. Spread the pineapple mixture all over it. Cool completely.
Make pudding according to directions. Spread on top of pineapple. Whip cream with coconut extract. Spread on top of pudding. I like to top with coconut.
Honestly, it is almost embarrassing, it's so easy. But, it's a pretty tasty cake. I wouldn't serve it at a nice dinner party, but for a bbq with the family, it's perfect.
I have made a version of this with crushed coconut and coconut pudding and shredded coconut and rum in the cake before baking. We topped with Fresh whipped cream, cream cheese, pineapple, coconut pudding and coconut mixture. It is slowly becoming another favourite booze cake in addition to Galliano(aka wallbanger) and rum cakes.
Here is my go-to boxed cake alteration. I've made it as tea loaves, bundt, tube, and a layer cake:
POPPY SEED CAKE
1 package white or yellow cake mix
1 small package instant coconut cream pudding
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 cup hot water
½ cup vegetable oil
Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Add water and oil and beat till well combined (about four minutes). Pour in greased muffin/bread or cake pan and bake at 350F degrees for 35 minutes (time depends on your pan choice until golden on top and toothpick comes out clean).
I used to bake all the time from scratch when my kids were little, and I was home. Now, I work full time, and this is a recipe that is so good, and no one knows it's mostly from a box!
No one knows the shortcuts, especially if you use Ghiradelli brownie mix!
1 package fudge brownie mix (13x9x2-inch size)
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 egg plus 3 egg whites
1 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup melted white chocolate
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients; mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk egg, egg whites and extract. Add to brownie mixture stir until combined. Divide dough into thirds. On a greased baking sheet using greased hands, shape each portion of dough into a 7-inch x 3-1/2-inch rectangle.
Bake at 350º for 24 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4-inch slices. Place cut side down on greased baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes longer or until firm.
Cool on wire racks. Drizzle melted white chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is set. Store in airtight container. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.
Zinfandel chocolate cake: 1 box chocolate or devils food cake mix, 1/2 cup red zinfandel wine, then according to box directions. Reduce water if that would be too thin.
Pumpkin cupcakes: 1 box spice cake mix, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1 tsp pumpkin spice, then according to cake box directions. Top with vanilla or cream cheese icing.
Key lime cake: 1 box white or vanilla cake, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice INSTEAD OF THE WATER (not the fake juice, won't work), and a few drops green food coloring, then according to cake box directions. Ice with vanilla icing.
Strawberry amaretto cake: 1 box strawberry cake mix, 1/2 cup pureed strawberries or pureed strawberry pie mix, 1 tsp amaretto or almond extract, then according to box directions.
I want to make pumpkin cupcakes from a mix and this recipe (no eggs or oil) is one I keep finding online. One reason I want to use a mix is for a predictable, crowd-friendly texture & flavour, and a flat-ish top for icing - I definitely don't want a domed or crusty muffin. Does anyone have a recipe or can they vouch for this one? It seems more diet-inspired than anything else
I have one I call Elisa Barbosa's Pistachio cake for the woman who gave me the recipe 25 years ago. It's a green cake. Box of white cake mix, box of instant pistachio pudding, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon almond extract. beat all 5 minutes and add to buttered tube pan- nowdays I use a bundt pan. Mix 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup sugar. Half way through adding batter to pan, sprinkle on 1/2 the nuts. add remaining batter and sprinkle on the rest of the nuts. bake 350f for 45 minutes.
Love that this thread was revived - some serious potluck hounds in my office so I'm always looking for something new and easy and this has some new ideas I've not tried yet. However, let me add the most requested recipe I have -
Better than ... Cake
Chocolate cake mix baked according to the directions - cool 15 minutes or so
1 jar caramel ice cream topping - poke holes in warm cake with end of wooden spoon and pour this over it.
1 can condensed milk - pour over warm cake after the caramel
Allow to cool and chill.
Spread whip cream on top - sprinkle with toffee bits, nuts, mini choc chips or whatever.
I was excited as I read this thread to go grab the copy of this book that had been sitting in my bookcase for close to a year unread (present that I never gave much thought to...) but then when I looked at it disappointedly discovered it is the cupcake version...so, I'm sure most of the recipies can be turned into cakes, but wondered if anyone has any favorites of the cupcakes that they have done this to? thanks
I found this recipe for a Margarita Cake, which calls for a box of Orange Cake Mix. However I live in a small town... and well they dont carry this flavor. Would you know of any substitues I could use to create an Orange Cake? Possible a yellow cake mix and orange extract. The thing is I'm not sure how much Orange extract I would need ... Help
How much water does this cake mix in question call for? You might be able to substitute fresh squeezed orange juice for the water to get a orange flavor w/ a yellow cake mix. Do you have a link to the original orange cake recipe, as that would be a huge help.
If you choose to use the water as it is called for, I would start with 1 tsp of orange extract and taste the batter after it the extract has incorporated. You could possibly add 1/2 tsp. more, but I wouldn't go much more, as it can easily overwhelm the flavors.
Here is the Recipe: Its Called Margarita Cake
1 Pkg Orange Cake Mix
1 Pkg (3.4 oz) Instant Vanilla pudding mix
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2/3 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Tequila
2 Tbsp Triple Sec
1 Cup Confectioners Sugar
1 Tbsp Tequila
2 Tbsp Triple Sec
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
What would you suggest?
1 pkg white or golden cake mix
1 pkg vanilla pudding mix
1 ½ cups of ripe bananas
1/3 cup veg. oil
Mix everything for 2 min. Put in greased pan. Bake 40 min
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light cream ( ½ and ½)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Melt butter and stir in other ingredients. Place on top of cooked cake. Broil for 3 min.
I bought a yellow cake mix this week to make a pineapple upside down cake. I didn't realize (or think about it) until I was done mixing it that I had enough batter for two 9" cakes; I only needed one for a Pineapple Upside-down cake. So my quesition is this... Do they sell small cake mixes for single 9" round cakes? Surely you wouldn't have to use only half the box of cake mix. Sorry, but I don't bake as a rule. :)
You can measure out half a cake mix, which I often do when making wedding cakes, as different sizes of pans need different amounts of cake batter.
My preferred method is to use a kitchen scale to measure out about 9.12 ounces of cake mix. For 3 eggs use 1 whole egg and 1 yolk (or 1 white). Then halve the rest of the ingredients listed on the box. Hope this helps.
ROFL...you can make TWO layers for an EZ bake with a Jiffy cake mix! (and have enough left over to lick the bowl.)
xSunshine, who grew up on Jiffy mixes in her aqua-green EZ bake.
Hey, here's a question...as the world goes toward more energy-efficient light bulbs, is that gonna kill the EZ bake oven if you can't get your hands on a big incandescent bulb?
Here's a recipe for flan cake that a friend gave to me. I made this with chocolate cake mix, and my friends liked it. If you don't have cajeta, dulce de leche is a perfect substitute. The bundt pan called for refers to the 12-cup sized one.
Cajeta Quemada (Goat's milk caramel sauce)
1 Cake mix (prepare according to package directions)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put large baking dish of water (for water-bath) in the oven as it is heating up. Spray bundt pan with baking spray, pour in some cajeta quemada and set aside. Make cake mix according to package directions Blend flan mixture in a blender to smooth out. Pour cake mix in bundt pan. Slowly pour flan mixture over cake batter (it will sink to the bottom). Place in water-bath and bake for 1 hour. Remove cake in the water-bath from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Carefully invert on cake plate and allow it to cool in the refrigerator.
I just made chocolate caramel brownies that use german chocolate cake mix as the crust. It's that plus the melted caramels and chocolate chips. I have tried lots of different recipes for this type of brownie an these were by far the favorite. The whole 9 x 13 '' pan was gone by the end of the nite.
Let me know if you would like the recipe and I will find it.
re: mrs lilo
I know this thread is kind of old so I hope I can get some suggestions. I am new to baking. Well new to baking for "real" I have always used boxed stuff. But in the past year I have gotten a little more serious about baking. I love to bake different kinds if cookies a decorate them. Anyway I am wondering what evaporated milk would do to a devil food cake mix. Would it make it more moist. I have always made boxed cake. But I am decorating my fist cake for a 2year old Bday and wanted to make the cake really moist and extra yummy.
Great OP, and thanks to all who posted their own variations/recipes. Will definitely try some of them.
By the way; has anyone made any of these cakes using powdered eggs rather than fresh ones?
The chocolate with cherry pie filling PhoebeB posted about i call black forest. it is one of my favorite cakes. it is so moist i usually bake it in a tube & serve with just whipped cream. my mil doesn't like chocolate tho so I made it with a yellow mix & it was really good too. that got me thinking that other combinations should work . someday I might try spice with apple pie filling or white with blueberry or yellow with peach.
I'm responding to a previous question about using half a cake mix. Earlene from Earlene's cakes suggests laying the mix down flat, and using a long metal spatula to divide the mix in half. Then she says to lift up the bag with 1/2 mix on either side of the long spatula, cutting open the bag, and then pouring out half of the mix,
However, I prefer to measure out, using a kitchen scale 1/2 of the contents, usually 9.12 ounces of dry mix. Then for 3 eggs, use 1 whole egg, and 1 yolk, and halve the rest of the ingredients on the box. I'm a professional pastry chef and often need 1 1/2 mixes, or even down to 1/4 mix for different pans. Good luck.
Also, I suggest sifting the dry mix for better mixing and results.
Ok, I know this is obviously to late to help with your dilemma but just for the future.
Using White, Yellow, or Vanilla cake mix add a but of nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or vanilla extract. It's a tiny difference in ingredients but it makes the cake taste SO much better.
just for a really awesome look! Using white or vanilla cake, you can still follow the above tip but with a very small amount so as not to make the cake to much darker.
1) Split the batter into 4 to 6 bowls, try for an equal amount in each.
2) Put food colouring into the bowls, a different colour per bowl.
Now here's where it differs from cake to cupcake
1 )put the little paper cups (use the foil type if possible so they can't see the effect until they go to bite it!) in the tray
2)layer each colour on top of each other until you reach the height you would normally fill it, it's ok if it looks messy right now!
3) bake according to the box
4) frost however you wish! once someone bites in they'll have an inverted rainbow in their cupcake!
1) layer the batter like you would the cupcakes until you reach the level you would normally fill to.
2 )Proceed like you would any other cake. I would use a thick white frosting for this just so they see this clean white cake and then when they cut it open they have this amazing rainbow cake!
I don't usually use boxed mixes, however recently found a dessert that we really like. You use a pound cake, bake in a 9x11 once its cool, make a vanilla pudding spread on top with cinnamon and I add dark chocolate shavings. Back into the fridge let it do its thing. We really like this, it's easy and good for a crowd. Actually the pound cake is very good. You can make the same dessert baking your own and one of these days, I'll do that. I'm thinking something as an easy tiramisu...
re: chef chicklet
I hate cake mixes, but this one is good (and can be done with a batch of homemade cake batter, too)
Prepare a box of white cake mix batter according to directions. Add 3 Tbsp of green creme de menthe (the ice-cream syrup) and mix until color is uniform. Bake in a 9" x 13" pan according to directions on the box. Cool completely.
Frost with a jar of hot-fudge ice cream topping. The thicker the better, even if you have to microwave it a little to loosen it up.
Finally, mix 3 tablespoons of the green creme de menthe syrup into a container of Cool Whip. Spread this over the hot fudge topping.
It's not real elegant, but it's tasty and I guarantee the pan will be empty, with people hanging around the buffet table to get your recipe.
That sounds good. I can't say I've ever seen Creme de menthe flavoring, only the alchohol version... is it made by.. Torani? I think I found it if it is.
If you like creme de menthe, there's one using store purhcased mint choc chip ice cream ( or make your own if you have an ice cream maker) add creme de menthe, and once the ice creams to your liking and soft enough put into a chocolate cookie pie shell. Take the thin plain chocolate cookies pulverize, add some butter to hold it together, bake at 325 for a few minutes, then let it cool. Back into the freezer to harden, add whipped cream. Pipe it if you have the tools, shave dark chocolate over the whipped cream. Serve.
re: chef chicklet
the creme de menthe syrup in that recipe is usually found with the stuff to make ice cream sundaes -- somewhere near the hot fudge, chocolate jimmies, maraschino cherries, walnuts in syrup and strawberry sauce.
Sometimes it's (logically) right by the ice cream, sometimes you have to ask. The brand I last bought ( I only ever used it for this recipe, so a bottle lasted forever) was Dare? Virginia Dare? It was a clear, roughly hourglass-shaped bottle.
I also see it's made by Reese...you could probably use the Torani, but I'm not sure...I only ever bought the cheap stuff at the grocery (because that's what my mom and grandma used!)
You could also use actual creme de menthe liqueur if it was going to be for grownups.
(the green is actually nice in the total scheme of things)
I love to bake from scratch, but I have to tell you, some of my favorite cakes are doctored mixes.
I have a book called The Cake Mix Doctor. Below is a link to the website but I don't think it has all of the recipes that are in the book.
Three of my favorite cakes to make from mixes are a banana cake, a cream sherry cake and a rum cake. When I have more time I will try to post the recipes.
If I'm using a cake mix, I just add some extra flavor to it in the profile that I'm working with.
White cake mix + box of pistachio pudding + 1/2 c ground pistachios
White cake mix + raspberry extract (or pureed, strained raspberries)
Chocolate cake mix + orange zest and extract or juice
Vanilla cake mix + 1 vanilla bean
I also think that the big difference is in the frosting and I always make that myself.
I like to use coconut milk (full fat) to replace the liquids in both chocolate and vanilla cake mixes. I love this thread :)
Go to amazon.com and write "cake doctor" in the search box. What will come up is a long list of cookbooks including the original Cake Doctor book (which is several hundred pages of recipes for improving cake mix cakes), and other more recent versions of that book, plus another big one devoted just to chocolate cake mixes, and one that is all gluten free, and others also. Improving cake mix is an industry.
I used to make a version of this Coconut Poke Cake:
Bake a white cake mix, then, when cool, poke holes into the cake and pour over a mixture of cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk. The original recipe I used added some coconut extract to the batter and a real whipped cream topping (not Cool Whip).
This isn't cake mix, but brownie mix...but it does come out tasting great.
Molten Chocolate Cakes
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (or whatever you have)
1/2 cup butter (NOT margarine)
4 egg yolks
2 packages brownie mix
3 TB chocolate milk (regular milk is fine too..if you have the mix w/ syrup, use that with milk)
powdered sugar or whipped cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 nonstick muffin cups with nonstick baking spray. Add a little cocoa powder into each cup and gently shake the muffin tin to distribute the cocoa powder, shake out any excess and set aside. You can also use six custard or souffle cups.
In a medium bowl, combine both kinds of chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, stirring twice during cooking, or until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine eggs and egg yolks and beat at high speed for 5 minutes until light in color, and doubled in size.
Gradually add the dry brownie mixes to the beaten egg mixture, stirring until well blended. Fold in melted chocolate mixture and milk. Pour batter (I use a ladle) into prepared muffin or custard cups. These can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and cooked later in the day.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes or just until edges are set. If making six larger cakes, bake for 13 to 18 minutes until edges are set. The centers of the little cakes will be soft.
NOTE: Watch these cakes carefully. I usually cook 10-11 minutes...too long and you end up with a good but fully cooked chocolate cake.
Cool on wire rack for 2 minutes. Then run a knife around edge of each cake to loosen, then invert warm cake on each serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream.
OPTIONAL: If you're worried about the centers cooking, unwrap a chocolate kiss and insert in in the middle of each cake 3 minutes into baking. Voila! Molten!!!
I also have a great raspberry sauce I serve with these cakes that a chef friend showed me. He uses it in several restaurants....really. It can be made with any berry.
Easy Raspberry Sauce
1 package frozen unsweetened raspberries
1 jar raspberry fruit spread or jam
Lemon juice to taste
Add bag of fruit while frozen and and jar of jam to a food processor. Process until smooth. It gets thick. Strain seeds, add lemon juice to taste, and serve. Amazing.