Don't have enough time to bake a cake from scratch during the holidays? Or, not completely comfortable in the kitchen? You can still dazzle friends and family this holiday with a dessert made from some of our recipes that start with a box of cake mix. A luscious layer cake made from one of our enhanced, boxed cake recipes can still turn out as beautiful as a cake from scratch, and it can taste just as good. The secret is to add your own homemade touches to a boxed cake mix, so family and friends can't tell the difference. Sure, grandma says she can always spot a homemade cake from a boxed cake one, but these modified cake mix recipes are so good that even her keen palate won't be able to discern between the two. From a simple sugar-and-spice cake to slow-cooker Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte cake, there will be no shame in your cake baking game after serving up a slice of one of our favorite, personalized cake mix recipes.
The Magic Is in the Cake Mix
Over the years, our readers have shared hundreds of delicious Christmas cake recipes that start with a store-bought cake mix. You'll find their secrets for adding made-from-scratch flavor in these recipes. Some replace water with buttermilk; others call for softened butter or cream cheese. From mile-high layer cakes to quick and easy sheet cakes, each is super moist and delicious. If you're not sure which boxed cake mix to choose, some of our recipes will note what store-bought mix was used for the recipe, and for white cake mixes, Southern Living' s Test Kitchen ranked their top picks in a blind tasting.
Red Velvet Peppermint Cake
Recipe: Red Velvet Peppermint Cake
For a festive holiday dessert, white cake mix is transformed into a red velvet, three-layer cake topped with crushed candy canes. Swirl white and red batter together to create a marbled effect to the layers. Adding peppermint extract to the rich cream cheese frosting and garnishing the cake with peppermint candies completes this cake with flavor and style.
Blackberry-Raspberry Truffle Cake
Lavish amounts of semisweet chocolate and sour cream give rise to these luscious cake layers. No one will ever guess the recipe begins with a mix. A simple coating of coarsely chopped pecans and a handful of colorful berries will send this towering treat to the table in high style.
Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
We replicated the flavor profile of Mexican chocolate using semisweet chocolate and cinnamon. If you prefer to use Mexican chocolate, look for it with the hot drink mixes or on the Hispanic food aisle. This moist pound cake is equally delicious without the Mexican Chocolate Sauce.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
Starting with a boxed cake mix makes this cake both easy and delicious. Kids and adults alike will love the creamy peanut butter mousse between layers of chocolate cake. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
Gingerbread Cake With Stout Buttercream
For this spiced cake, two bottles of stout are needed which gets added to both the batter and the buttercream frosting for a deeper, coffee-like flavor. This batter bakes in two 8-inch cake pans for a square, two-layer cake. Garnish with toasted pecans and rosemary.
Red Velvet Cake Balls
Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Balls
Mini cakes seem more disciplined during the indulgent holidays—if you can stick to eating just one. Red velvet cake mix saves some steps in this recipe that requires the balls to chill overnight. These red-velvet cake balls get dipped in white chocolate and then dusted with red sprinkles for a festive, Christmas presentation.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Recipe: Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Christmas and cranberries always go hand and hand. This simple cake pulls together in the slow cooker with pound cake mix and fresh cranberries. When done, invert the cake and serve upside down with ice cream.
Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake
Recipe: Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake
Unsweetened cocoa, cinnamon, and coffee turn this white cake mix into a special holiday season cake. Even better, it's simply prepared in the slow cooker in about two hours. To up the latte appeal, serve with warm whipped cream or ice cream.
Apple Pie Cake
Recipe: Apple Pie Cake
This dessert mash up mixes white cake mix with Granny Smith Apples and streusel. Milk and butter get swapped for oil and water to make boxed cake mix taste homemade. Vanilla ice cream is the perfect topper when ready to eat.
Recipe: Sugar-and-Spice Cake
Apple pie spice and extracts of vanilla and almond infuse this basic white cake mix with festive flavors. For moisture, we use sour cream, eggs, and butter for a light fluffy cake. Get creative by mixing a few garnishes like sparkling sugar, edible glitter, rosemary sprigs, pecan halves, and cranberries for a beautifully decorated, Christmas cake.