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7 Ways to Perk Up Boxed Cake Mix

Boxed cake mix goes from ho-hum to yum with just a few simple additions that are probably already in the pantry.
Boxed cake mix goes from ho-hum to yum with just a few simple additions that are probably already in the pantry.
John E. Kelly/Getty Images

There is no doubt that whipping up a cake from a box mix is a lot easier than measuring and mixing all the ingredients from scratch, but who wants a cake that’s so average? While it may taste good, boxed cake mix has a bit of a bad rap for being boring. But it’s easy to take a boxed cake mix from dull to delicious in no time and without even having to head to the store for extra special ingredients. Guests will think it took hours to make these doctored up cakes from a box.

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Adding fruit to a cake makes it seem more elegant, and there are many ways to incorporate it into a box cake mix. One way is to add a few spoonfuls of fruit preserves into the batter and swirl it around before baking. Chocolate cake will quickly turn into chocolate-raspberry cake. When making a layered cake, instead of spreading frosting in between each layer of cake, spread preserves in between each layer before frosting the top and sides of the cake. Or when using frosting in between each layer of cake, add a layer of fresh berries on top of each layer of frosting. The result is a fresh and delicious cake.

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Flavors aren’t the only thing that can make a cake exciting. Its appearance can make it equally as enticing. When making a layered cake, split the batter into different portions (based on how many layers the cake has) and add food coloring to each portion of the batter so that after it is layered and frosted it will have a striped effect when cut into. Choose an alternating color pattern such as pink and white, create an ombre effect with different saturations of a single color, or get really creative and make an entire rainbow of cake layers.

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Adding texture or color to a cake makes it more interesting both to taste and see. An easy way to do that is with chocolate chips or colored sprinkles. Simply stir a cup of either of these items into the batter before baking. While they won’t make the cake taste like a cookie, the chocolate chips will make it reminiscent of one. Colored sprinkles will offer a color burst like confetti falling through the cake for a fun look.

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Crushed candy bars can offer a unique flavor to any boxed cake mix. A peanut butter and chocolate bar will provide a much different flavor than a toffee bar or butterscotch flavored bar, but they would all be delicious. Choose candy bars that aren’t too gooey and can easily be chopped into small pieces or crushed with a wide flat side of a knife. Stir the candy bar bits right into the batter or use them in between each layer of a cake mixed with a little bit of frosting to hold them together.

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Perfect for the fall season, but delicious any time of year, add one can of pumpkin to the dry cake mix for a super moist and flavorful cake. Make it even more savory by adding cinnamon and nutmeg. No one will believe that this cake wasn’t made from scratch.

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Cookies also offer a flavorful addition to any cake. Chocolate sandwich cookies and chocolate mint cookies are two flavors that would complement a cake nicely. Crush the cookies and then mix them with enough frosting to spread the mixture in between each layer of the cake. Not only will they taste delicious, but they’ll add a crunch to the cake that will appeal to many.

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Add a few tablespoons of chocolate or caramel syrup to cake batter for a cake that is both tasty and visually interesting. When adding either of them to a white or yellow boxed cake mix be careful to gently fold the syrup through the batter to create a swirl or marbleized effect in the batter rather than mixing it throughout the batter and changing its color completely. The cake will be moist and have the added flavor of the syrup.

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