Boxed cake mixes are sorely underrated. After all, they're the best thing between homemade and store-bought with the option to make them personal which should, in turn, make them an essential pantry staple. With summer coming up, it's becoming abundandtly clear that the theme of it will be gatherings and intimate get-togethers which means dessert of some type is usually needed. A boxed cake mix is the first thing that many people turn to when it's time to make something sweet and celebratory without getting it completely pre-made... but, sometimes, it doesn't always taste like it should.

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Boxed mixes can also be finicky in the sense that they need a little bit of TLC and creativity in order to be turned into something truly great. That's not to say that a box mix cake won't be delicious but it can always be better. With a few tips, you'll have something great to bring to the next BBQ or on your next day trip to see family and friends.

Substitute Water With (Literally) Anything Else

Okay, maybe not anything else but you get the point. The concept behind this is similar to the notion that if you mix water with condensed soup instead of the optional milk, it has a tendency to taste slightly less than what it could be.

With a boxed cake mix, all of these ingredients are dehydrated so, of course, it needs some moisture to bring them back to life. However, that moisture is also the home baker's 'in' when it comes to smacking flavor into that cake. Considering using coffee if the cake is chocolate or milk (any type) for other boxed cake mixes.

Considering Switching Up The Oil

Ninety-nine percent of the time, a boxed cake mix will call for a flavorless oil to be added in order to increase the fat content of the cake which is also needed.

However, this could mean anything including butter - so swapping out oil with butter is a great way to boost flavor. In turn, this will also make the texture of the cake creamier and more velvet-like, as butter has a tendency to make things naturally decadent. So start melting that butter!

Extracts Are A Boxed Mix's Best Friends

The thing about extracts is that too much can easily turn an orange-flavored cake into an orange-flavored nightmare. When using these it's important to remember that less is always more, and more can always be added... carefully.

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A plain vanilla cake can take on the flavor of practically anything thanks to the tons of extract flavors out there, and a chocolate cake can be given a whisper of something such as mint or raspberry with the help of an extract.

Layers Are Easier To Add Than You Think

When most of us think of layers, we think of grand, three-tiered cakes that have layer upon layer of buttercream in the center. While this is always a delicious option, it doesn't even need to be that complicated.

Cutting the cake in half and spreading something such as a jam or jelly between the two layers will add flavor and can also completely upgrade a cake. For those feeling even more adventurous, adding more icing or a custard filling is a fun way to take a cake from zero to 60.

When in doubt, poke it! The holes don't need to be big by any means in order to allow that flavor to seep in there. Try using something like a skewers to start and pouring a flavored liquid over the top, allowing it to seep through all of those layers. The cake will natural absorb it and become even more moist, and you'll have people thinking that you're a culinary genius.

Utilize Other Instant Mixes Such As Pudding

Instant pudding has more uses than one in this case. Adding a bit of flavored pudding to a cake mix can boost the flavor tremendously and if you use an alternative liquid such as milk instead of water, the cake mixture will get thick, as well.

This will lead to a more decadent, dense, and flavorful cake than anything a typical box mix could do on its own. Adding a pudding flavor such as pistachio or butterscotch to a vanilla cake will be just enough flavor to make people wonder how you got so much out of a boxed mix... But then again, no one is saying you even need to tell people it's not homemade.

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