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How can I elevate my chocolate cake mix?

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Let's ask Baker Mary!

What an excellent question! Our society can get pretty hectic. Let's be honest, sometimes we want to whip up a quick dessert with minimal effort. There is nothing wrong with that!

Cake mixes are a great alternative to homemade baking. Cake mixes allow you to bake a cake, with minimal ingredients, and effort. There is only one problem with cake mix though...



Yup! You guessed it, basic cake mix gets you basic cake. When you eat a chocolate cake from the bakery, the first bite hits your tongue and you can tell the difference between the two cakes. The chocolate cake from the bakery has a rich, chocolate flavor. The frosting is bittersweet and creamy and it melts in your mouth. The boxed chocolate cake mix tends to be overly sweet with no pronounced flavor. The sweetness overpowers the chocolate flavor. It looks like a chocolate sponge because the brownish color tricks your taste buds.

The real question is "Can you turn a boxed, chocolate cake mix into a bakery classic?"


You definitely can turn a boxed, chocolate cake mix into a bakery classic. Here are 5 simple steps you can do to turn an ordinary, chocolate batter into delicious masterpiece.

  1. Add coffee to your mix. Coffee pairs well with chocolate due to the fact it shares the same flavor profile as chocolate. Coffee beans and cocoa beans are seeds from tropical plants, which is fermented , dried and roasted. The addition of coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor and will add rich, spiced notes to it as well. To add coffee to your cake mix simply replace 50% of your milk/water quantity with strong, English coffee that has been cooled down. High quality coffee will produce a rich and better chocolatey flavor.

  2. Addition of salt will enhance the chocolate flavor and strengthen the gluten development. Salt will bring out the chocolate flavor by mellowing out the overly sweet cake mix. It acts as the Yin to the sweet Yang. For a standard chocolate cake mix, add 2 tsp of kosher salt. Be sure not to add more, because remember, IT'S DESSERT!

  3. Extra dark cocoa powder mixed into your dried, chocolate cake mix will also bring out the chocolatey flavor. Be sure to only use 1/4 cup of extra, dark cocoa powder per a standard sized cake mix (432g). Do not add more cocoa powder because it will make the cake dry, due to the fact cocoa powder is hydrophobic.

  4. Use chocolate milk instead of water when making your "boxed" cake mix. Water is used in cake mixes to form the batter, and activate it. Essentially water brings your batter back to life. Try mixing milk or chocolate milk into your boxed cake mix instead of water. Be aware of sweetened chocolate milk because it can overly sweeten the batter. Only use unsweetened chocolate milk. If this option is not available just boil milk and add bittersweet chocolate. Cool for 1 hour before making your cake mix.

  5. Grate 80g dark chocolate (50% cocoa or higher) into your cake batter for standard size cake mix (432g).

These quick tricks will elevate your batters with zero effort. Now that we elevated a "box" chocolate cake batter. Let's upgrade the frosting too!


Yes! Stop buying the canned, processed frosting. It is nothing but trouble. Well for one thing; the can does not give you enough frosting to mask or decorate a standard 8 inch cake. One standard cake mix will fill two round 8 inch cake pans. One would like to believe a can of store bought frosting will be enough to fill that. YOU'RE WRONG!

The taste of these frosting is overly sweet and taste like artificial fats with sugar. It is hard to decorate cakes with this frosting, because it is not stable due to the processed, hydrogenated fats.

It may seem daunting to make homemade frosting. Creaming fats with icing sugar to get the fluffiest buttercream. You have to remember to add the icing sugar by sifting it slowly into the mix....too much and it becomes sickening sweet..... Lets not forget the addition of JUST TWO TABLESPOONS of heavy cream to thin the mixture out. All chaos will break out if too much was added. Chocolate soup was the end result instead of frosting...

Baker Mary does not want baking to be stressful. This homemade frosting will not require any creaming, or lots of ingredients. Just TWO ingredients are needed. That's it!

Ganache is the answer!

Ganache can be used as a glaze, filling, frosting or truffle filling.


Ganache is chocolate and cream. That is it! Ganache can be made with various chocolates with different cocoa solids, which is mixed with different creams, liquids, fats and flavoring.

Let's focus on a basic ganache recipe that is great for beginners and quick to whip up.

You need 500ml of 35% cream and 500g of bittersweet chocolate.

  1. Chop bittersweet chocolate into chunks, and place in a stainless-steel bowl.

  2. Boil your cream, and pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate.

  3. Leave the bowl unattended for 5 minutes.

  4. Now whisk or stir the mixture until the chocolate is fully melted.

  5. THAT'S IT!

At this stage, the mixture can be used to glaze a cake or pastry. Cool your ganache for 15 minutes. Place cold cake on a sheet tray with a wire rack.

The wire rack allows the baker to coat the cake and allow the ganache to drip down onto the sheet tray.

Pour ganache all over the cake then refrigerate for 1hour. Remove cake from the stainless-steel rack and serve. If you leave chocolate mixture at room temperature for 24 hours....


The consistency of the ganache will firm up and you can fill and decorate your chocolate cake with this sinfully, delicious ganache. If you happen to have extra leftover ganache , try piping the ganache into mounds, refrigerate for 1hour, than roll into cocoa powder for gourmet truffles. Oh-La-La...cake and sweets!


Did you know boxed, chocolate cake mix can be used to create other desserts besides cakes? With one simple, box mix you can create brownies, trifles, whoopie pies, fudge cookies, chocolate cheesecake and upside down cakes. Use the mix as a base for other baked goods.

Here is a quick, fudge crinkle recipe that uses 1 package of chocolate cake mix.



  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 eggs

  • 1tsp salt

  • Dark chocolate chunks

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar

  • 1 chocolate cake mix 432g


  1. Mix eggs with oil and salt.

  2. Add the cake mix to wet ingredients & mix. Add chocolate chunks, mix.

  3. Scoop into 1" balls. Roll in icing sugar.

  4. Place cookie dough balls onto a lined Cookie Magic Sheet.

  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 340F for 10min or until crispy on the outside and gooey in the inside.

"Try baking a chocolate cake mix in a 12" round cake pan. Use this sponge as a base for other recipes like ice cream cake, or cheesecakes. A 12" cake pan will guarantee your cakes to bake up flat with out a massive dome. Make sure to refrigerate the baked cake for 24 hours before using it in a recipe"

Cake mixes are a great alternative to homemade baking. Cake mixes allow you to bake a cake, with minimal ingredients, time and effort. Baking should not be a chore! Using cake mixes alleviates the stress of buying ingredients and following complicated baking instructions. Follow Baker Mary's tricks to elevate your next boxed cake mix.

Would you like to learn more? Follow Baker Mary's blog posts to get more recipes and tricks of the trades. Bake happy with Crown Cookware!

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