How to make box mix taste homemade

Ho to make box mix taste homemade in 5 easy steps

This is how to make box mix taste homemade. You guys know, no one loves a cake made from scratch more than I do! But sometimes, I just gotta bust out the box mix. Usually for red velvet cake or chocolate cake when I want a nice flavor but don’t have time bake from scratch. Or maybe I don’t have all the ingredients on hand that I need. That happens a LOT.

how to make box mix taste homemade

But I still want that delicious flavor! I don’t really love that “chemical” taste that can come from a straight up box so here are my tips on how to make box mix taste homemade.

Don’t be afraid of the box mix

There’s an endless debate over what’s better, box mix or baking from scratch. SO many people will get into a down-right battle to the death over this one. Honestly, who cares?

Using box mix is up to you. It’s definitely a short-cut and sometimes the best option. A lot of professional cake decorators out there use doctored box mix in all their cakes. You get consistent results and it’s an easy mixing method.

The only thing I would suggest is you be upfront with your customers. In some areas, no one would probably mind if you used a box or if you made a cake from scratch. But in my area (Portland) people are extremely concerned about what they put into their body (Portlandia is real ya’ll). 

Clients will actually email me to confirm that I bake from scratch. So I am sure to put that information on my website so there’s no question. If you are using a doctored box mix you don’t have to say so in so many words. You can simply state “baked fresh daily” and if you have specific inquiry about baking from scratch, just be honest. 

If you want more recipes on how to bake from scratch, check out my tried and true cake recipes on Sugar Geek Show. 

Tip #1 on how to make box mix taste homemade

Start with the best box mix possible. I’m a Duncan Hines girl myself. The price is a little bit more expensive than the super cheap box mix but I believe you get what you pay for. Not to mention Duncan Hines are often on sale so stock up on your top flavors and enjoy all the funny looks you’ll get at check out. 

the best brand for doctored box mix recipes

My favorite Duncan Hines box mix flavors are Red Velvet, Triple Chocolate, White Cake (for making WASC) and strawberry. Sometime I can’t find duncan hines strawberry so I’ll go with Betty Crocker. These are all recipes that take a ton of time to make from scratch and are the most requested flavors from my clients. 

Tip #2 on how to make box mix taste homemade

Usually a box mix has the following ingredients listed on the back that they want you to add. Eggs, water and oil. This is smart on their end because pretty much everyone has these ingredients on hand already.

The thing about these ingredients though, they don’t add much to the cake as far as flavor goes. 

  • Replace water with milk for more flavor and moisture. If you’re making red velvet you can use buttermilk. 
  • Replace the oil with melted butter for more flavor and homemade texture
  • For chocolate cakes, try replacing the water with cooled coffee. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor!

Tip #3 on how to make box mix taste homemade

You might have heard of WASC (white almond sour cream cake) and wondered what it is. It’s basically the best doctored box mix recipe of all time. The taste, texture and flavor of this cake is TO DIE FOR. It’s no wonder its the recipe of choice when you need a perfect white cake for so many bakers. 

close up of WASC white almond sour cream cake, the best doctored box mix recipe for white cake

How to make WASC

  1. Start with one box of white Duncan Hines mix
  2. Add in one cup of AP flour
  3. 1 cup of granulated sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp salt
  5. 1 cup sour cream   
  6. 1/2 cup melted butter  
  7. 1 cup of milk  
  8. 4 egg whites 
  9. 1 tsp almond extract  

Place all of your ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer (or you can mix by hand) and stir on low to combine until just moistened. Then bump up to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes to develop the cakes texture and structure. 

Pour your batter into your prepared pans. I like to use homemade pan release (cake goop). The best homemade pan release there is! Bake at 335ºF for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out from the center cleanly. 

Let cool completely before decorating. For more info on decorating your first cake, check out my free training on how to make your first cake

Tip #4 on how to make box mix taste homemade

Make your buttercream from scratch. I know this sounds counter-intuitive because we’re trying to go for easy here. Maybe you’ve never made homemade buttercream before and you’re intimidated. Well let me put your mind at ease. 

My easy buttercream recipe is so simple, it may as well be cheating. Simply place all your ingredients in a bowl, whip it until it’s light and fluffy. Then let it mix on low with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes to get rid of bubbles.

easy buttercream frosting

Voila, perfect easy buttercream frosting. 

And way, way, WAY better than that frosting from a can. What even IS that?

Other great frosting options for you

Tip #5 on how to make box mix taste homemade

Go crazy with some yummy fillings! You might not want to make your cake from scratch but most fillings for a cake can be made from scratch and they are super simple. 

lemon curd recipe

Try out these tasty fillings for your cake

See, that wasn’t so hard was it? You’re on your way to making a delicious cake made from a box. Do you have some tips on how to make your box mix taste homemade? Leave them in the comments!


WASC Cake Recipe

how to make box mix taste homemade
A doctored cake mix that is well-used by bakers all over the world that produces a delicious white cake that tastes almost like scratch. This recipe makes three 6"x2" cake rounds or two 8"x2" cake rounds
Servings: 24



  • 1 box white cake mix I like duncan hines
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream room temp
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 4 egg whites or 3 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Easy Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup pasteurized egg whites 8 oz
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 2 lbs unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree optional



  • The instructions for this cake are super easy. Basically put it all into a bowl and mix it for 2 minutes! Voila! Cake batter is ready. 
  • Pour batter into two prepared 8" pans or three 6" pans and bake at 350ºF  for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Easy Buttercream Frosting

  • Place all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on low until combined and then bump up to high and mix until white and fluffy
  • Frost and decorate your cake as desired


Tools & Materials List
Tools Recommended *note: this list contains affiliate links which do not cost you anything but I may make a few bucks off the sale*
Materials Needed


Serving: 1g | Calories: 618kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 66mg | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 1220IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: WASC
Calories: 618kcal