This TikTok Hack Will Turn Any Boxed Cake Mix Into Gourmet Cupcakes

The video showing how to make perfectly moist and delicious cupcakes from a cheap boxed mix currently has more than 7 million views.

As someone who bakes all the time, I'll be the first to admit I keep a stash of boxed cake mix in the pantry for when I'm time-crunched and want something sweet. I mean, they're usually only around $1 and come in delicious flavors like lemon and red velvet. In the most recent TikTok recipe video going viral, baker Karly Stoddard showed quarantine bakers how to doctor up a cake mix. By simply swapping the called-for water and oil with milk and butter, you can apparently have bakery-style cupcakes in no time. Even though Stoddard owns her own baking business, she understands not wanting to pull out the ingredients to make cupcakes from scratch. Since I already had a cake mix on hand, I had to try this recipe hack. The little beauties turned out pretty amazing and I think you should give them a try.

cupcakes with white buttercream
Katlyn Moncada

Easy Cake Mix Upgrade

I used a French vanilla cake mix to make cupcakes, but you can use any flavor and size you want. I assume gluten-free mixes would work well here, too if you have allergy restrictions. Basically you'll follow the directions on the box replacing the 1 cup of water with milk, adding two extra eggs, and swapping the ⅓ cup oil for double the amount of melted butter. Here's how I doctored up that boxed mix based on Stoddard's recommendation.

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix, any flavor
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅔ cup butter, melted
  • 5 eggs
  • Frosting of choice

Method

  1. In a large bowl add your cake mix and the rest of the ingredients (well, except the frosting). Stir or mix on low until it's moistened. Tip: Make sure you're not pouring super hot butter into your mixture, or you'll end up scrambling your eggs. If it's too hot, allow it to cool until it's at least lukewarm.
  2. Follow your cake mix instructions for how long to beat the batter. Mine said 2 minutes. This is important to get the ingredients incorporated, but not overmixed, which could cause a dense or sunken cake.
  3. Bake according to the package. For my cupcakes, I baked in a 350ºF oven for about 16 minutes until a toothpick inserted came out clean.

Test Kitchen Tip: Since I'm in self-isolation, I didn't want to make the full two dozen cupcakes this box yields. After consulting the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen, they suggest freezing already-baked cakes rather than chilling and freezing the batter, which can affect the leavening ingredients.

After baking, I went for a long walk around my neighborhood while I anxiously awaited for these gals to cool completely because my apartment smelled too amazing to stick around. Upon my return, I whipped up the almond variation of this buttercream frosting recipe and got to piping with a star tip. If you don't have pastry decorating tools, fill a resealable bag and snip off the tip for a makeshift piping bag (or just slather on frosting with your spatula!). I only got a few frosted before I had to give myself a sample. Wow! They were perfectly moist with a tender, airy crumb. I knew adding a bunch of butter could make anything taste better, but these were delightful. So yes, I believe this hack is definitely worth it. Use whatever your favorite frosting is (purchased or homemade), but my decision to make almond buttercream was a good one because it reminded me of wedding cake.

Want a vegan version of doctoring up your cake mix? Stoddard also recently shared a video on how to easily hack your cake mix with soda. The two-ingredient soda cake is also a classic recipe here on Better Homes & Gardens and includes a ton of variations such as "chocolate supreme," which simply uses a chocolate cake mix and cola carbonated beverage. If you're like me and don't keep soda around, you can use your favorite sparkling water for the same effect! I recently made a vanilla cake mix with a can of peach sparkling water and it turned out fluffy and delicious.

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