If you don't have the time to bake from scratch but want the compliments that come with the presentation of a delicious cake, nothing works better than jazzing up a box of cake mix. A few additions can make an ordinary boxed cake taste as though it came from a fine bakery. Since some bakeries use these tricks, it may as well have. You won't be sacrificing the convenience of boxed cake either, as making a few changes likely won't take any longer than making the cake as originally instructed.
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Melt unsalted butter and substitute it for the amount of oil listed on the directions of the cake box. A recipe is only as good as its ingredients, and butter will make your cake taste divine. One caveat: if you're watching your intake of saturated fat, stick with the oil. Butter has 7 g of saturated fat per tablespoon.
Add a package of pudding to the cake mix to give your cake extra richness and moisture. Experiment with different flavors; for example, a packet of pistachio pudding can add interest to a white cake mix. Increase the amount of butter or oil to 1/2 cup if the instructions call for less, and add an extra egg if you add pudding mix to your cake mix.
Substitute a more flavorful liquid for the water that cake mixes typically call for. Consider orange juice with a lemon cake mix, coconut milk with a yellow cake mix or a coffee liqueur with a chocolate cake mix. In the case of the liqueur, to prevent your cake from being too rich, substitute it for only half of the liquid.
Add a special ingredient after you've prepared the basic cake mix. A package of miniature chocolate chips added to a chocolate cake will add additional flavor and provide the cake with an exceptionally rich texture. Nuts, orange zest, sliced dried apricots - the ingredients you add to your cake are limited only by your imagination.
Avoid the canned frostings in the baking aisle of your supermarkets and create a frosting that will delight taste buds. Follow the lead of Anne Byrn, author of "The Cake Mix Doctor" and make a quick buttercream frosting, such as her quick caramel frosting. This frosting calls for butter, brown sugar, confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla, all ingredients you are likely to have on hand.