Chocolate WASC Cake (doctored chocolate cake mix)

This is the chocolate version of the WASC recipe. Starting with a box mix and adding in some extra ingredients, you can get a great tasting cake in a flash that tastes almost like scratch. Shhh I won't tell. This recipe makes two 8" round cakes that are 2" tall. 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 35 mins
Serves: 8 cups
closeup of slice of chocolate wasc cake with chocolate ganache

Chocolate WASC Is The Easiest Way To Make Box Mix Taste Like Scratch

Chocolate WASC is the chocolate version of our popular WASC recipe that with an addition of a few ingredients, your box cake will taste almost like scratch. The texture is light and fluffy but is still sturdy enough to carve a cake or stack into for a wedding cake. Chocolate WASC is a great option if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into baking a chocolate cake recipe from scratch.

closeup of slice of chocolate wasc cake with chocolate ganache

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

One of the ingredients that makes this cake so dang good is the sour cream. It adds a nice tang to the flavor and an extra level of moistness. Sour cream is a popular ingredient used in a lot of chocolate cake recipes giving it a similar flavor that you might get from using buttermilk or mayonnaise.

Chocolate Cake With Coffee

I like to use coffee as my liquid instead of water because the coffee brings out the chocolate flavor. Your batter will smell like strong coffee but don’t worry, it won’t taste like coffee. You don’t have to use coffee, you can use water or even milk if you want.

chocolate wasc with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips on top

How To Make Chocolate WASC

Chocolate WASC starts with a nice chocolate-y box mix. I usually use Duncan Hines chocolate fudge cake but devils food cake will also do nicely. Just pour the contents of the mix into a bowl and add in your extra ingredients. Just ignore the instructions on the back of the box and use the recipe below instead.

Mix all your ingredients together until combined and then mix vigorously for two minutes. I used a stand mixer with a paddle attachment but you can also just use a bowl and a spoon.

I tweaked this recipe to contain melted butter so that when you chill it the cake is a bit firmer and easier to handle.

close up of chocolate cake with slice cut out of it

Why not just make it from scratch?

I get this question a lot. A LOT. I get it. If you’re going to go through all this trouble of adding so many ingredients to a box mix, why not just make it from scratch? I used to think the same thing. But over the years of teaching countless bakers of all skill levels, I have learned that a lot of people are super intimidated to bake from scratch. They have little to no knowledge of how to measure, how to mix or even what a good scratch cake should taste like. 

The thing about box mix is it isn’t just the same ingredients as a cake from scratch. A box contains emulsifiers that basically make the cake bake up perfectly no matter what you do to it. The problem? Those emulsifiers make the cake taste a bit fake. Like eating strawberry flavored candy. It’s good but doesn’t exactly taste like a real strawberry right?

So adding in these extra ingredients gives you the best of both worlds. A recipe that makes the baker do more than just opening a box but the emulsifiers still ensure that the cake bakes up successfully and the added ingredients make the cake taste more like homemade. Thus giving the baker much-needed confidence and a bit of a taste of what a homemade cake tastes like so if they choose to take a leap two baking from scratch, it’s not so scary. 

close up of a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips on top

Chocolate WASC Cake For Cupcakes

This recipe works great for cupcakes and rise up perfectly. I get about 36 cupcakes from one box.

I like using my chocolate buttercream for this recipe. The yummy flavor pairs perfectly with the chocolate cake without it being too heavy. If you’re looking for other yummy chocolate cake recipes, check out my guinness beer cake which is the epitome of decadent.

Other doctored box mix recipes you might want to try!

WASC (white almond sour cream cake)
Strawberry cake mix recipe

Cake Batter and Frosting Calculator

Select an option below to calculate how much batter or frosting you need. Adjust the servings slider on the recipe card to change the amounts the recipe makes.

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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

Cups of Frosting Needed

5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
closeup of slice of chocolate wasc cake with chocolate ganache

Chocolate WASC Cake (doctored chocolate cake mix)

This is the chocolate version of the WASC recipe. Starting with a box mix and adding in some extra ingredients, you can get a great tasting cake in a flash that tastes almost like scratch. Shhh I won't tell. This recipe makes two 8" round cakes that are 2" tall. 
4.94 from 132 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 390kcal


Chocolate WASC Recipe

  • 1 box (1 box) Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 5 oz (142 g) Ap flour 1 cup
  • 2 oz (57 g) cocoa powder 1/2 cup
  • 12 oz (340 g) cold coffee 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 oz (57 g) vegetable oil 1/4 cup
  • 4 oz (113 g) melted butter 1/2 cup
  • 3 large (3 large) eggs
  • 6 oz (170 g) sour cream 3/4 cup
  • 7 oz (198 g) sugar 1 cup
  • 1 tsp (1 tsp) salt
  • 1 Tbsp (1 Tbsp) vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

  • 16 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 16 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Chocolate WASC Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 335℉. Prepare two 8" round cake pans. I prefer to use cake goop. 
  • Add all dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add in the rest of your ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute. 
  • Stop and scrape the bowl and then mix on medium for two minutes. 
  • Pour batter into your cake pans and bake for 30- 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center with just a few sticky crumbs clinging to the toothpick. 
  • Let cool a few minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack. Let cool fully and frost. 

Chocolate Frosting

  • Place the heavy whipping cream into a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Whisk occasionally to prevent burning. Do not walk away!
  • Heat cream until steam is rising from the surface but it isn't boiling.
  • Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Add in salt and whisk until smooth. If you have any un-melted lumps, you can use an immersion blender to get them out.
  • Pour chocolate into a shallow dish and cover with plastic wrap let cool at room temperature until a peanut butter consistency. If chocolate is too firm, you can microwave for 10 seconds and then stir with a spatula or whip with a hand mixer.
  • Frost cake as desired.


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 use dark beer in place of coffee or just plain water. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 390kcal (20%) | Carbohydrates: 38g (13%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 26g (40%) | Saturated Fat: 15g (75%) | Cholesterol: 67mg (22%) | Sodium: 353mg (15%) | Potassium: 250mg (7%) | Fiber: 3g (12%) | Sugar: 22g (24%) | Vitamin A: 488IU (10%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 68mg (7%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @SugarGeekShow or tag #SugarGeek!

chocolate WASC

chocolate WASC

chocolate wasc cake

Chocolate WASC is the chocolate version of our popular WASC recipe that with an addition of a few ingredients, your box cake will taste almost like scratch. The texture is light and fluffy but is still sturdy enough to carve a cake or stack into for a wedding cake.

116 comments on “Chocolate WASC

  1. I had the best chocolate recipe that I used for years…. until I tried this one!! This IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER !! The texture, moisture and taste are divine and it’s very easy to make.. perfect for carving, sturdy enough to stack and the best one to eat! ?

  2. What size cake mix are you using? 18.25 or 15.25??? Some recipes are older and they’re using the 18.25 oz box mix. Cake mixes are 15.25 oz now.

    1. I don’t think it makes a difference. Funny how these cake box mixes are so full proof! I have even accidentally left out the eggs and it magically still baked up!

  3. 5 stars
    Hello Lis, thank you for sharing your yummy recipes 🙂 … I am confused in the measurements in the flour and sugar says 4 oz and next to that 1 cup and the sugar says 5 oz -1cup … are both a cup or is a 1/2 cup? I am not a pro but I thought 4 oz are more close to 1/2 cup … thank you so much I tried already two of your recipes and are AMAZING!

    1. Hi there. Flour and sugar have different volumes (cups) which is why I have listed the weight for accuracy. Example: 1 cup of water (8oz) is not the same as 1 cup of flour (4oz) because one is light and fluffy and one is liquid. Hope that makes sense.

  4. Do you recommend this for cupcakes? If so temp and time?? ?

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you so much,Liz for sharing your wonderful tried and tested recipes with us and taking all the hard work from our caking lives .. I can’t wait to try this one, I always spend hours googling before I make a cake from a box mix on how to make it better … tried instant pudding mix and what not but was never happy.. never knew that you have posted a recipe for this,now I can try this with out any stress and I am sure it would be great…
    Just wanted to ask you if we can tweak the recipe other flavour box mixes like .. vanilla, toffee , carrot or red velvet .. any suggestions Liz
    Many thanks ??

  6. Alrighty, then. Who wants to decipher WASC for me?! Thank you, it’s driving me crazy!

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent! Very moist! Thank you for the recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    I needed an easy quick recipe and made this. It was amazing! Super moist. Everyone loved it. Thanks Liz for sharing this, I will definitely be using this recipe again. I was wondering though, can I add more cocoa powder and if so how much do you think?

  9. 5 stars
    I made this cake with your chocolate butter cream for a school staff and they loved it. Words like ‘amazing’,’best cake I ever tasted’, etc. were said. I got to try the trimmings with a bit of the butter cream and I love it, so moist and not to sweet. I am a chocolate cake lover and these recipes you shared just got put to the top of my list. Thank you!

  10. I’m new to your site and your cakes look AWESOME!!! I so want to make this cake. After reading the comments I am a little scared and I’ve been baking a long time. I am new to measuring in ounces utilizing a scale, assuming that you’re using a scale to measure. I recently purchased a small scale for this purpose but am unsure how to accurately measure. What do I use as the “vehicle” to measure the ingredients and do I weigh that “vehicle” first and then remove it from the total to get my measurements accurate? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Kim

    1. What is scaring you? Maybe I can help? Using a scale is very simple and really helps a recipe turn out better the first time. To measure your ingredients using a scale you put the bowl or measuring cup on the scale and push the “tare” or “zero” button to remove the weight of the container. Then you add in your ingredients until you reach the correct measurement. Thats it!

  11. 5 stars
    I just made this doctored box cake and it is good! Everyone loved it. I’m now confident I can use a box cake in a hurry. Thank you so much, Liz!

  12. 5 stars
    Hi‼ thank you so much for sharing these life saving cakes!!!! Omg!!! Usually I try something from YouTube or pinterest it usually be a little off or not tasty! I have tried the white cake recipe it’s so perfect! Thank you so much ‼

  13. Can you tell me how many cups of batter I need for 2 round 6” x 2” cake pans? I tried this recipe in a 13 x 9 and used all the batter and got a PERFECT CARVING cake. Today I tried to make 2 6×2 round Wilton pans and filled each pan with 2 1/4 cup batter, per Wilton pan directions and had two volcanos in my oven. Can you please help! Thank you!

    1. Try Wilton baking strips. Will produce a flat cake! I also weigh my batter rather than using cups. Try filling your pans only half full (that always works for me)

  14. 5 stars
    Hi Liz, I’m making an engagement cake and the bottom tier will be a tall hexagon, chocolate flavour. I have a 12 inch hexagon tin and was wondering what temperature to bake it at and for how long? Also, how many times would I need to multiply this recipe? I’ll b covering the cake in fondant and putting dowels through the cake for support as it’ll be 4 tier. Do you think this recipe is suitable for this?

    1. 1 1/2 batch of batter will be enough to fill a 12″ cake pan. I would use a flower nail or baking spike in the center. Can’t say exactly how long it will take but I would start with 40 minutes.

  15. 5 stars
    Tried your recipe last night (my 4th chocolate wasc cake recipe) and it is great! Very moist but not gummy (as some others I’ve tried). I did make a couple tweaks I added 3 Tbl of cocoa powder to give a more chocolatey flavor and I did not use oil instead I used a full cup of sour cream along with the butter. I Made an 8” took 38min at 325 in my oven. Thank you!

  16. 5 stars
    I just made this cake, haven’t even frosted it yet! And it’s soooo good. I used a cold brewed coffee and added a couple extra tablespoons of cocoa powder, I also added about 3/4 c of zucchini. It’s seriously the best cake I have ever tasted. Imagining what it’s like with frosting!!!

  17. 5 stars
    I have been struggling with scratch cake for years. Don’t know what I am doing wrong, but I have a 50% chance of it coming out right. An expensive and frustrating situation.
    So I found this recipe and tried it. IT IS DELICIOUS and SUPER EASY. And it comes out right first try!
    I added 3 T of cocoa powder and used all butter instead of oil/butter. I did used baking strips. I made 2 batches, baked 4 layers and stacked 3 into a unicorn cake. I frosted with vanilla SMBC and the cake held together for white frosting over chocolate cake! So happy I found this.

  18. How many batches of this would I need to make 2 – 12″ rounds?

    Thank you!

  19. Hello Thank you for ALL that you do! I have been using this recipe for a while.. I just cane back to write it down again and it looked different. May I ask did you update this recipe with cocoa powder, more butter and more coffee. The recipe I had from you before was 10 oz coffee, 2 oz butter and no cocoa powder… just wondering have I been doing it wrong this whole time lol anyway I’m doing this updated version tonight THANK you a million times over for EVERYTHING!

  20. Hi! Would this also work in 3 6” pans??

  21. A very novice guy baker needs some help! I came across your site earlier and have not been able to stop reading and learning. The one thing I have not come across is anything related to a bundt cake. I would like to incorporate your ideas and bake a bundt cake but would you use a box mix and beef it up using the WASC method and if chocolate the Chocolate WASC method? Love the site!

  22. This is in my oven right now… and it’s taking way longer than the stated time… let’s all keep our fingers crossed that my cake won’t be burned on the bottom. Clearly I made a mistake somewhere ?

  23. Help! I’ve made this recipe twice now and all I end up with are cake crumbles. All of my ingredients are room temp, I weigh all of them and cook at the lower temp than what’s on the box (and I have an oven thermometer). As soon as I touch the cake it just falls apart. Suggestions??? TIA!!

    1. Maybe you’re not mixing long enough? This is a box mix so it shouldn’t crumble apart. It doesn’t even matter if the ingredients are room temp or weighed.

  24. I made this cake in 3- 6″ pans. It tastes amazing but I need your help! When I took the cakes out of the pans, they all broke in half. Any ideas why? The cake that’s left in the pans isn’t overcooked, and doesn’t seem to be stuck to the top. Do I need a little more cake goop? Or was it too much batter in each pan that the cakes were too high and therefore split in half? Thanks for your help!

    1. Maybe just be a little more careful? cakes are tender when they come out of the pan. I usually put the cooling rack on top of the cake pan, then flip both over so the cake doesn’t get damaged, then let cool or pop into the freezer before handling.

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