Love the convenience of a boxed cake mix but crave that homemade touch and taste? We don鈥檛 blame you. For Valentine鈥檚 Day, or any day that calls for聽chocolate cake聽(so basically all of the days), let鈥檚 add a little sparkle to our trusted mixes. By adding in a bit of richness and a few flavor boosters, a boring boxed cake can truly be decadent. These simple upgrades are so good, your sweetheart (or whoever is lucky enough to nab a slice) won鈥檛 even know this聽dessert hack聽started with聽a boxed mix.



1. Swap the oil for butter:聽Instead of using vegetable or canola oil that a boxed cake mix typically calls for, try substituting it with melted, unsalted butter. In cakes made from scratch, the butter is creamed with the sugar. You can skip this step and still have that rich, flavorful, homemade taste.

2. Use pure vanilla extract:聽Add in a teaspoon or two of good vanilla (not the imitation kind) to enhance the flavors. Even with a chocolate cake, a touch of vanilla can go a long way. You may even want to try a dash of almond extract, too!

3. Add coffee:聽In many聽chocolate baked goods, adding in some instant espresso or coffee gives depth to the chocolatey flavor. In this case, substitute some of the water for strong coffee.

4. Add dairy:聽For extra richness, substitute the remaining amounts of water with milk, buttermilk or even sour cream. Sour cream is a great option when working with chocolate cake because not only does it add a bit of fat (think rich and tender!), but the acidity pairs well with chocolate.

5. Add a yolk: While most boxed cake mixes will call for about three聽eggs, adding an extra egg yolk adds flavor and richness. If you prefer your chocolate cake to be on the fudgey, decadent side, add an extra yolk.

6. Instant pudding for instant moisture:聽While you鈥檙e browsing the baking aisle for your fave mix, grab a box of instant pudding too. Adding this to the mix makes the cake extra moist.

7. Toss in some chips: More chocolate is never a bad idea. Mini chocolate chips are better than regular chips since they don鈥檛 sink in the batter as easily.

8. Pair a boxed cake with homemade frosting:聽Want a real upgrade? Ice your boxed mix cake with from-scratch fudge frosting.


鈥 1 box chocolate cake mix

鈥 3/4聽cup strong coffee

鈥 3/4 cup sour cream

鈥 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

鈥 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

鈥 3 large eggs

鈥 1 egg yolk

鈥 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

鈥 homemade fudge frosting



1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two 8-inch round pans and set aside.

2. Stir together the cake mix, pudding, eggs and melted butter.

3. Whisk in the remaining liquid ingredients until smooth.

4. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

5. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

6. Bake for about 30 to 34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with few crumbs.

7. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

8. Completely cool cakes before frosting.

9. In the meantime, make the fudge frosting.


Stir all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until smooth or beat with an electric mixer for about two minutes. Fold in the chocolate chips last.


Be sure to let the cakes completely cool. In the meantime, make the fudge frosting.


Once the cakes have cooled, trim the tops of each layer. When assembling, place the second layer聽upside down so that the top of the cake is nice and flat before frosting. Add sprinkles to your finished cake, if desired!


A perfect slice with half the work.


What desserts will you be making for Valentine鈥檚 Day? 聽Be sure to share your creations by tagging us on Instagram and using the hashtag #iamcreative.