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doctoring boxed cake mix

So, I have been gifted 10 boxes of Duncan Hines boxed cake mix. I have a baby shower coming up on Sunday and we have decided to make a plethora of cupcakes. Any hounds have any ideas how to doctor up just plain old cake mix into something a little more non-boxy?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. What flavor? I used to, many moons ago, doctor up Duncan Hines butter cake with an extra egg and maybe buttermilk. It's been so many years I'm not sure about the buttermilk, but I do distinctly remember adding the extra egg. It made the cake extremely moist. Good luck!

    1. Perhaps vanilla bean? I've "stewed" brown sugar and crushed pineapple together and put it over yellow or white cake before and it makes it very moist, but I'm not sure that it would work for cupcakes.

      1. Isn't instant pudding the classic addition? Along with extra eggs-- I think 4 all together per box. Sour cream... the pudding and eggs gives you a moist pound cake texture instead of a light crumbly texture. And of course there's always chocolate chips.

        1. There's a cookbook called the Cake Mix Doctor. You can hit a bookstore and check out some recipies. I also have a copy (a gift), so with a little more direction on flavors, I can pass on some ideas from the book. Just let me know!

          1 Reply
          1. re: jenhen2

            I think there's a website too for Cake Mix Doctor. (I don't recall if that was it exactly, but it sounds right.) I made one from there that was fabulous -- it used a yellow cake box mix and then added bananas and banana liquer. Fantastic. It had recipes for doctoring icing too, if I recall.

          2. Check out this blog... it's incredible and inspiring!


            1 Reply
            1. re: Emme

              Wow, Emme, what a site!

              chelleyd01, I also recommend Cake Mix Doctor or Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor (the Warm Chocolate Cupcakes are especially good) or the Eagle Brand, Kraft Foods websites.

            2. a lot of fancy cupcake folks either scoop out the top & fill it with some random creme or poke a thumb in and squirt some filling in w.a pastry decorator tube thing (yes, ive got the lingo down pat).

              i usually just make white cupcakes and swirl things in once i have the cupcakes batter in the pans (or papers). a favorite is to put either fruit rinds or green tea powder (chai would probably work) or fresh berries inside. it all comes out just fine. the hardest part is remembering what you put in where, and keeping track if people ask ;)

              1. Maybe sprinkle with some rum or liqueur before icing.

                1. I second the Cake Mix Doctor. I have the book and love it!!! And every time I make something from it people swear it can't be from a mix! (It's worth the purchase IMO)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                    When we hosted my sister's baby showers we upped the ante on the cupcakes by adding bits of chocolate or caramel to them before baking. When you fill the baking pans fill the cups to the standard 3/4 full and add a caramel square or chocolate square on top of the batter. When the cakes bake the square sinks down and partially melts. It's a great little surprise and makes the cupcakes just a little more special.

                  2. a trick I learned some years ago is to add about 1 cup very finely ground hazelnuts or almonds (meal) to the mix. I use my blender or food processor, or in a pinch, my Mouli rotary hand grater.
                    This adds a substantial texture and flavor element that can mask that "cake mix" smell and taste (rancidity?) that is so recognizable! Try it!

                    1. Beat eggs until thick and use milk instead of water.

                      1. Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn is a terrific book that lists 150 recipes to doctor up boxes, I've tried several and they all come out of the oven with cheers. Happy cooking!

                        1. I've got two recipes that use doctored cake mixes that are really good... one is a coffeecake that uses the butter pecan cake mix and one for a banana cake that used the banana cake mix. Let me know if you've got either of those, and I'll post the recipes. (Or if you'd like them anyway!)

                          1. I do this all the time when at our remote cabin and rely heavily on the aforementioned Cake Mix Doctor but I also use the cake mix folks websites - pillsbury.com, bettycrocker.com, etc. And I'm not sure where you'd find it but I have a little book called 101 things to do with a cake mix that give some great recipes. The all time favorite is better than anything cake which I believe you could do as cupcakes - its easy. Bake as normal, cool 10 minutes, poke holes in warm cake, pour over condensed milk, then caramel ice cream topping. Chill and "frost" with whip cream.

                            1. I have the cupcake book from the cake mix doctor. i've liked several i've tried. a few are too sweet. if you list what flavor mix you have i can try and look up which cup cakes use that since that's what you want to make.

                              1. I like to mix in canned pumpkin purée or coconut (both the dried stuff and the milk). Or you can put lemon curd in the middle.

                                1. The other day a client brought in a ridiculously good cherry chocolate cake. When asked, she said she just added a can of cherry pie filling and two eggs to Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake mix. Certainly not healthy, but man it was good.

                                    1. re: yayadave

                                      Great idea... White cake, then poked and cooled, then pour tres leches milk sauce on top...

                                      1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
                                      1 cup sweetened condensed milk
                                      1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
                                      1 tsp vanilla extract
                                      1 Tbsp dark Cuban rum (optional)

                                      You can then top with a frosting as well.

                                    2. My mother used to make a lemon/apricot cake similar to the link below that was very good. It never lasted past the day she made it!

                                      1. If it's chocolate, use milk instead of water. To the milk add some pure vanilla extract and some instant coffee granules. (intensifies the chocolate flavor) Alternatively, you could substitute all or half of the milk with brewed coffee.