How to make box mix taste homemade


How 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. For the chocolate version of this recipe check out my Chocolate WASC Recipe

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! Get the recipe Chocolate WASC

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 water or 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 texture and structure of the cake. 

Pour your batter into your prepared pans. I like to use a homemade pan release (cake goop). The best homemade pan release there is! Bake at 350ºF for 35-40 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!

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
how to make box mix taste homemade

Doctored Box Cake Recipe (WASC)

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
4.92 from 160 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 24 servings
Calories: 747kcal


  • 1 box (1 box) white cake mix I like duncan hines
  • 5 oz (142 g) AP flour 1 cup (spooned into cup, not scooped)
  • 7 oz (198 g) granulated sugar 1 cup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 9 oz (255 g) sour cream 1 cup room temp
  • 4 oz (113 g) melted butter 1/2 cup
  • 8 oz (227 g) milk 1 cup room temperature
  • 4 large (4 ) egg whites room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp (1 tsp) almond extract




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


Don't worry about any of the ingredients on the back of the box, just use the ingredients listed in the recipe. 
This recipe makes enough batter for three 6"x2" cakes or two 8"x2" cakes (round). 
This recipe makes 40 cupcakes with about 1.25 ounces of batter per cupcake tin. 
You can replace 4 egg whites with three whole eggs if desired


Serving: 1g | Calories: 747kcal (37%) | Carbohydrates: 120g (40%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 26g (40%) | Saturated Fat: 15g (75%) | Cholesterol: 60mg (20%) | Sodium: 895mg (37%) | Potassium: 162mg (5%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 70g (78%) | Vitamin A: 710IU (14%) | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 239mg (24%) | Iron: 2.7mg (15%)
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @SugarGeekShow or tag #SugarGeek!





174 comments on “How to make box mix taste homemade

  1. 5 stars
    Can you use cake flour instead of ap flour?
    From what I read cake flour hasn’t agent’s in it such as baking soda or baking flour? I read its only two tbsp ( minus two tbsp of flour) of cornstarch to add to ap to make it cake flour.

    1. That isn’t correct. Cake flour is a softer, low protein flour that is more delicate than all purpose flour. It does not have any rising agents in it. You can use cake flour but it isn’t necessary for this recipe.

  2. I’m going to try the recipe but use vanilla for the almond (tree nut allergy here lol)… but also, I was wondering if I could just use whole eggs instead of egg whites. I usually do this when I use a box mix simply because I don’t care to have yolks leftover to find something else to do with them. I don’t offer white/yellow cake, I just offer vanilla. Do you think that will still work?

    1. You can but the cake won’t be as white. As long as you don’t mind that then use whole eggs. For every 1 1/2 ounces of egg white, that is one large egg

  3. For the risk of sounding dumb, what is AP flour. I have been cooking 50+ years and never heard of it.

  4. Absolutely delicious!! I’m trying out new recipes to possibly use for cupcakes at our wedding. I used this recipe to make the cupcakes, and frosted them with the buttercream frosting. I set a few on the dining room table and kept hearing my fiancé say, “Wow,” and, “Oh, wow!” When I asked him what he was wowing about, he said these cupcakes were outstanding! Definitely a winner for our wedding! Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    How did I miss this recipe?? I always do doctored mixes but was using a recipe from another site. This one is super easy and super delicious! I love the dump and mix aspects of both the cake and the frosting. Made enough for 4 (6in) round fat daddios filled half way. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi! I have made the WASC cake twice and it was great both times. Now I’m planning to try it with a yellow cake mix. Should I do anything different, like whole eggs instead of whites? Or just stick with the recipe as is? Thanks!

  7. Can you please confirm the oven temp for this cake? One section indicates 325•and anther says 350•


  8. I have one question in making this recipe can I add a box of vanilla pudding mix. If I do this is there any other ingredients I would have to add. I know adding a box of vanilla pudding mix makes the cake more softer and moist.

  9. Do I need to add baking soda since I’m adding sour cream to the cake box?

  10. 5 stars
    What do egg whites do differently then just eggs?

  11. Would I be able to use the same recipe with a Betty Crocker cake mix that already has pudding in the mix?

  12. Assuming unsalted butter since the salt was listed separately—can you clarify? Thanks!

  13. Can I use spice cake box mis? Would I need to add more spice?

  14. If I want to do a lemon flavor would I just add lemon extract instead of almond?

  15. 5 stars
    Help! I’ve made this twice, first time the cake cake out perfect. Light, fluffy, amazing taste. Tonight, however, it didn’t rise and the cake is really dense. I doubled the recipe and used 2 boxes of cake to create a tiered cake. Did I mix it too long in the mixer? I was so confident after making this last time, and now so defeated, lol.

  16. Can I use two 6 inch round Pyrex bowls?
    Also what does that mean for temperature? Will I lessen or add time?

    1. I am not sure how long the cake will take to bake in a bowl, I would think much longer since they are deeper than a 2″ cake.

  17. For any other flavor box mix do we still add the other portions and ingredients minus the almond extract and sour cream? Trying to make red velvet.

  18. 5 stars
    Excellent! I got sooo many compliments on it. I did use vanilla extract instead of almond, personal preference. This will now be my go to white cake recipe.Thank you for sharing.

  19. I’ve always used this recipe when the boxed mixes contained 18 ounces. Does the recipe have to be adapted now that they only contain roughly 15.5 ounces?

  20. 5 stars
    This cake is SO MOIST and absolutely delicious! This will be my new go to for vanilla cake!

  21. 5 stars
    This taste likes a true high end bakery white cake I’ve had at weddings. I can’t wait to surprise family at the next special occasion.

  22. 5 stars
    Let me first say, I did not back this cake exactly as the recipe instructs, but I rate it a 5 because it feels almost fail proof! I made this cake for dessert with Sunday dinner, but modified it ever so slightly to make it a coconut cake. I replaced the milk with coconut milk and the extract with coconut extract. I iced it with vanilla icing doctored with egg white, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract, sprinkled with coconut flakes. Be careful not to over-bake, as it feels like it could dry out. That said, my cake was a hit! Will be using this recipe as a base for all of my cakes from here on out!

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