There's no doubt that boxed chocolate cake is convenient. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't taste or feel as nice as you'd like. It's possible to improve the taste and texture of your chocolate cake mix with ingredients you may already have in the house. It will only take a few extra minutes, but the flavor and moisture boost will be worth it. Best of all, you won't have to spend any extra money.
Add 1/4 cup mayonnaise or buttermilk salad dressing to your cake batter, if you've found through experience that the finished cake is too dry. The mayonnaise or dressing helps cakes retain moisture, as well as adding a light tanginess to the flavor profile. Use low fat mayonnaise or light dressing for a healthier option.
Mix 1 tsp. vanilla extract into the cake batter. In addition to its own flavor, vanilla boosts the other flavors in anything you put it in, giving them more depth.
Sprinkle 1 tbsp. powdered instant coffee into your chocolate cake batter. Coffee and chocolate balance and complement each other. The coffee will enhance and add complexity to the chocolate flavor of your cake.
Boost the chocolate flavor of your chocolate cake batter with 1 tbsp. of extra cocoa powder. If you don't have baker's cocoa in your cupboard, you can use powdered hot cocoa mix instead.
- "The Professional Chef," The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- Powdered hot cocoa mixes usually contain sugar. Since you're only adding 1 tbsp. to the batter, the amount of sugar in the hot cocoa mix shouldn't make a taste difference. However, if you or your family are watching your sugar intake, this is something to keep in mind.
- Powdered instant coffee will dissolve in your cake batter, the same way it dissolves in your coffee mug. You can use either regular or decaf instant coffee here. If you use flavored instant coffees, don't use anything that won't go nicely with the flavor of your cake. For instance, a mocha cappuccino or hazelnut instant coffee will work well with chocolate cake. However, if you use an instant coffee with orange flavor, make sure your family likes chocolate and orange together.
Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.