Your Boxed Mix Cake Will Taste Like Heaven With One Simple Swap

Your boxed mix cake will taste like heaven with one simple swap

Just because your cake comes from a boxed mix doesn't mean you can't be creative. Many home cooks have found swaps and recipe hacks that can turn your cake mix from a quick dessert to a delicious and infinitely customizable base for many recipes. From cake pops to instant cake mix cookies, there isn't a limit to what boxed cake mix can do, including making a cake.


And using boxed cake mix doesn't mean that you can't exercise a little creativity. There are many ways to customize and improve your boxed cake mix. But perhaps the easiest way to improve your cake mix is by swapping your vegetable oil for other forms of fat, such as butter, ghee, browned butter, coconut oil, or even olive oil. This switch may seem minuscule, but swapping out your oil can actually make a huge impact on your cake's flavor and texture and might just make that boxed cake mix taste almost gourmet. Choosing the right oil, butter, or fat can customize your cake's flavor, amplifying existing flavors or creating a new experience entirely.

Why it works

Vegetable oil isn't exactly the most glamorous form of fat. It is often used for frying and baking as it has a neutral flavor. That neutral flavor also makes it less of a standout in baking projects, including boxed cake mixes. Adding other forms of fat to your cake mix can be a great way of incorporating a new flavor into your baking projects, suffusing the entire cake. A nutty browned butter or ghee, for example, can add depth to what might otherwise be a one-note chocolate cake, or it could be a great pairing for a nutty chocolate cake variety, such as Mississippi sheet cake or German chocolate cake.


But taste isn't the only aspect of your cake impacted by switching out your vegetable oil. The fat you incorporate into your recipe can also impact the cake's texture. Butter, for example, especially when it is creamed, can give your cake a light, airy, and moist texture. While oils, such as vegetable or olive oil, may yield a denser cake. You just want to keep these aspects of your chosen fat in mind when mixing up your cake mix. If you want a light, fluffy cake, then oil isn't the way to go, but a sturdier, denser crumb might be exactly what you're looking for in other cakes.

Another difference to consider, especially when using butter, is water content. Whereas coconut oil, shortening, and oil are all 100% fat, butter is typically only about 80% fat, with the rest being water. This can interfere with gluten formation in your cake and impact texture. You will want to keep these differences in mind when choosing your vegetable oil alternative.


Some oils to keep on hand, and in mind

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all vegetable oil replacement. Rather, choosing a swap is a matter of preference, baking goals, and customization, but swapping out your oil can be the perfect way to upgrade your baking projects, turning them from convenient to gourmet.


If you want to help expand on existing flavors, you can always choose an oil that complements your cake mix. In addition to being a great addition to chocolate or nut-based cakes, browned butter or ghee (which also has a naturally nutty flavor) can also make a fantastic addition to a vanilla cake, adding depth to what would otherwise be a one-note flavor profile. Adding melted coconut oil could compliment the tropical sweetness of a banana cake or amp up the coconut flavor of a coconut cake mix. Even bolder flavors can find a home in a boxed cake mix; sesame oil, for example, could a toasty flavor hint of heat to a bright lemon cake or a creamy vanilla cake. 

Olive oil is another great option that's already used as the preferred oil in a number of cakes. Pair it with lemon cake mix to create the delicious flavor of an olive oil lemon cake but with the convenience of a boxed cake mix. Take this trick a step further by using infused olive oils — which come in many different flavors like orange or basil — to add depth and a delightful twist to your cake mixes. 


Choosing the right oil replacement for your cake mix can take some experimenting as you learn how different fats affect the texture, bake, and flavor of your boxed cake mixes. But all that means is that you'll have a few more cakes to eat as you figure it all out!