a better box mix

So not every cupcake can be homemade. I said it. I guess it’s possible but I’m not one to frown at someone when I hear they ‘made it from a box’. I used to bake exclusively that way—but it’s hard to go back once you realize the simplicity, unending possibilities, and sheer incomparable texture and flavor of homemade cake. But there is a secret, a way to amp up that box mix that a blessed few (well…many judging by the popularity of the books) have been bestowed the knowledge of. It makes the result more moist and closer to a homemade feel—close enough, in fact, that it’s your choice if you tell people it’s homemade or not.

‘better than box’ cupcake tips
courtesy of Hello Cupcake!

The cupcakes depicted are lemon poppyseed cupcakes made with lemon cake box mix with poppy seeds added in , topped with cream cheese icing (recipe posted with the key lime pie cupcake post) and fresh raspberries.

1 box cake mix (any flavor, just avoid those with pudding in the mix and the lighter ones like angel food)
1 cup buttermilk (in replacement of the water called for on the box)
vegetable oil (the amount called for on the box)
4 large eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)

Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk, and don’t feel like going and buying any, you can put 1 tbs lemon juice in 1 cup whole milk and let it sit for 10 minutes to sour. It’s not as good as the real stuff but it will do the trick.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease well.
  • Beat the ingredients together in a large bowl on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Increase to high and beat until thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Fill the muffin cups 2/3rds full and bake (jumbo: 20-25 mins, standard: 15-20 mins, and minis: 8-10 mins).
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to allow to cool completely before icing.

Tip: To fill the liners, pour the batter into a large, sturdy plastic back (I like the ziploc freezer brand). Clip the corner of the bag–not tiny but err on the side of  smaller because it allows better control over the flow of the batter. If it’s too small, you can always cut it a little bigger. This is a simple tip but it will change your life make a huge difference.


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