How to Make the BEST Cake EVER (From a Cake Mix)


If you follow this foolproof method, you’ll be making the BEST cakes EVER from any flavor cake mix~every single time.

How to Make the BEST Cake EVER From a Cake Mix
The Best Chocolate Bundt Cake Ever (From a Mix)

This savvy cake making method is one that I’ve used countless times for over a decade. I call it “cake mix magic” because it truly works every time. You don’t have to be a cook or a baker to make a fabulous cake (easily) using this method.

How to Make the BEST Cake EVER From a Cake Mix
Best White Cake With Buttercream Frosting (From a Mix) Tastes Like Wedding Cake

Once you make a cake or two using the “cake mix magic” method, you’ll be a confident cake maker and will always have an easy dessert option in your arsenal. This cake mix magic method has literally been the reason I can make a cake at the drop of the hat (with no pressure). 

Before I share the method, I’ll address commonly asked questions about cake mix magic cakes.

How do you make a box cake mix taste like a bakery cake?

A box cake mix can be “doctored” with certain ingredients that make it moist, delicious, and “from scratch” tasting every time. My method of doctoring is basically the same for every cake mix, with a few tweaks based on the flavor of cake.

What ingredients are in “Cake Mix Magic?”
  • 1 box cake mix 
  • 1 (3.9 oz) box of instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 cup baking chips (optional)
What flavors of cake mix can you doctor to make a bakery tasting cake?

The possibilities are many. One of the most amazing cake mix cakes that I make is the white cake with buttercream frosting (link to recipe below). It is my Easter cake every year; folks rave over it. My favorite bundt cakes are made with devil’s food, strawberry and lemon cake mixes. The cake mix magic method works with any flavor you choose; feel free to experiment.

Do you change any ingredients when you choose different flavors of cake mix?

 The two ingredients that I sometimes change if I change cake mix are 1) baking chips and 2) glaze. Here are my fave combos based on cake mix flavors:

  • Strawberry or Lemon cake + white chocolate chips + water/lemon juice glaze
  • Devil’s Food cake + semisweet chocolate chips + chocolate ganache
  • Carrot Cake Mix + chopped pecans (instead of chips) + buttermilk or cream cheese glaze

In the video below, I share some extra tips on using the “cake mix magic” method to turn cake mix into a company worthy dessert.


How do you make a beautiful cake from a cake mix?

The key to making a beautiful cake from a mix is to use lovely bundt pans (and a pretty glaze or ganache). I share my favorite pans below. You can also do a layer cake along with icing and your choice of cake decor.

In the short video below, I share how easy it is to glaze a cake with my fresh lemon juice glaze.

You can link below to blog posts showing how to make different flavors of cake using the “magic cake mix” method.

The Best White Cake With Buttercream Frosting (From a Mix)

Sensational Strawberry Cake with Lemon Glaze

The BEST Chocolate Bundt Cake EVER

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

Make Ahead: Every cake that I’ve made from cake mix magic freezes beautifully!!! I prepare them (glaze and all) and do a “flash freeze” to get a hard glaze on the exterior. I just stick the cake in the freezer on a plate for about an hour. Then I place it inside a 2 gallon freezer ziplock before returning to the freezer. 

Make 2 cakes from one recipe: In the video below, I share how easy it is to make TWO cakes from this recipe. It is so easy to make one to keep~one to give away. No more wasted cake!!!!

What I Use: You can link below to the exact tools and serving pieces that I use for my cake making. 


If you make one of these cakes, please tell me about it in the comments, below. I try to reply quickly to everyone who posts.

And please visit our Family Savvy storefront to see all my amazon faves and must-haves for you, your home and your loved ones.

As always, thank so much for stopping by. Wishing you a joyful, blessed and savvy day!!!

Sensational Strawberry Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

How to Make the BEST Cake EVER From a Cake Mix

Yield: 14 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

The "Cake Mix Magic" method for making fabulous cakes from a cake mix.


  • 1 Box Cake Mix (see notes)
  • 1 Box Instant Pudding mix (see notes)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 c oil
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c baking chips (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 F; place rack in center of oven.
  • Liberally spray a bundt pan with floured spray (i.e. Baker's Joy).
  • In medium bowl, mix water, eggs & oil until eggs are lightly beaten.
  • Add cake mix, pudding mix & sugar; mix for 2 minutes or until well blended.
  • Stir in sour cream until well blended.
  • Stir in baking chips (if using).
  • Pour batter in well sprayed pan; place in oven.
  • Bake 35-45 minutes or until cake just "sets" and no longer jiggles when shaken,
  • Cool at least 10 minutes in pan before releasing onto parchment paper.
  • Glaze if desired (see notes).


Cake mix should not have pudding mix in it. Duncan Hines is my favorite.

Buy the regular size (3.9 oz) pudding; make sure it is instant.

Confectioner's Glaze is roughly 1 cup powdered sugar to 1-2 TB liquid (adjust to preference).

Nutrition Information
Yield 14 Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving Calories 356Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 63mgSodium 348mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 1gSugar 24gProtein 4g

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  1. I usually use butter for oil and milk for water. Do you think this makes a cake better or not? I am definitely going to try the changes you have. They sound great! Thank you

  2. I made your Bundt cake recipe. I shared it with my mom, as I do many of the desserts I make. My brother dropped by my mom’s and, of course, mom offered him a slice of the strawberry cake. His message to me was, that cake is delicious! I saw him a week later and he said, “That cake is THE BEST cake you have ever made!”(And I’ve baked many good ones.) My husband agrees! Thank you, Family Savvy, for sharing this absolutely superb FIVE STAR cake recipe! I love your blog and Instagram. Your time is not wasted. It’s a blessing!

  3. Can you make this cake exactly as directions above and use a Philadelphia Cream Cheese icing in a heart shaped pan instead of a bundt pan and ganache? I plan to make this for Valentines and decorate with strawberries (chocolate swirled).

  4. Hi Rosetta!!!! I am fine with the yellow (mine does this too), but if you use all whites, I am not sure how to adjust for that. I am sure that a google search would help. BUT…..the yolks add flavor, so maybe having white icing will make the inside not so important?

    I usually beat 1-2 minutes. I wonder if it fell due to oven door slamming or being opened too soon? I almost always have uneven layers that I just try to hide by putting the best one on top and covering it all with icing!!!!

  5. I used a white cake mix, D.H’s without pudding.
    It came out yellow due to the the eggs I’m sure.
    If I only use the egg whites should I add more oil?
    Mine also came out tall then fell after cooling. How long do you beat your cake mix after all ingred are combined? I did this one for 2-3 min on high speed.
    Thanks for your time!

  6. This was really delicious! Used yellow cake mix and butterscotch pudding. No baking chips, just glazed it. Had lots of compliments on the taste and I shared with my daughter how easy it was. Super moist.

  7. Hi there, I love this cake mix magic you have put together! In your video you do not mention the 1/2 cup of sugar. But it is in the recipe. Do you need the sugar in the cake batter? I am about to make cake with white cake mix and banana cream pudding. My husband is saying to try butterscotch chips. Will know more a little later, but the sugar has me wondering. Thanks!

  8. Hi Emily! You might try checking your oven temp for accuracy (with an oven thermometer). Other reasons a cake might fall are: overbeating the batter at the very end, opening the oven door during cooking, slamming the oven door, or undercooking the cake. I’ve had this happen before, and I’ve usually pinpointed the door opening or the oven temp. Give the cake another try; it really is typically foolproof! LMK if you have more questions!!!

  9. This cake tasted wonderful, but in spite of being tall an fluffy when it came out of the oven, it fell. I used a regular size bundt pan. Any ideas for what might have happened? I loved this cake and would like to give it a go again, I’d just like it to be taller.

  10. Hi Andy, I have never used one with pudding in it. I suggest you leave out the extra pudding. You could also try using half a packet of pudding? Let us all know how it turns out!!!

  11. HELP!!! What if my white cake mix already has pudding in it? I am in the middle of no where and can’t get anything else. What do I do???

  12. Hi John, I am sorry that your outcome was not what you had hoped. I’ve only used Duncan Hines, and my chocolate pick is D.H. Devil’s Food. If you end up trying something else, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you!!

  13. Hi Jim, thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve wanted to try the coconut cream pudding. I’ll definitley dd it to my list of things to make. I’d love to get your feedback on any other flavors that you try. It is so helpful to get honest reviews. Blessings to you, my friend!!

  14. I used Coconut Cream instant pudding and added some fresh grated coconut to the batter. It was so amazing !! I made it as a Bunt cake and drizzled coconut flavored icing over the top. This cake was so flavorful and moist. Definitely will try other flavors.

  15. Thank you for your tips. We recently made a Pillsbury “Deep Chocolate” cake mix and it was terrible. very little chocolate taste, not sweet enough. We’re gonna spruce it up next time and make it worth our while.

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