If you suffer from mageirocophobia (fear of cooking: it's a real thing), you can still enjoy homemade desserts. Well, at least partially homemade. By doctoring supermarket baking mixes, you can improve the taste tenfold to fool your friends into thinking you're a god in the kitchen.
These tips will give you that made-from-scratch taste with minimal effort:
Use Hot Water Instead of Cold
It doesn't get easier than this. Who knows how long that box has been on the supermarket shelf? Adding very hot water will wake up the flavors. This trick is especially effective for chocolate mixes that contain cocoa powder.
Use Butter Instead of Oil
What good is vegetable oil in a cake? When the box's instructions call for oil, melt butter in the microwave instead, and use a a 1:1 ratio for a richer flavor. That's what the real bakers use, anyway!
Add An Extra Egg
Cake gets a boost from the leavening power of eggs. Achieve a fluffier texture and richer flavor by using two (or three). You can also just add an extra white.
Swap Water for Milk
You can also go nuts and use buttermilk, a favorite of professional bakers. Like eggs, milk will enrich your batter and give it a better flavor and mouthfeel. Add a little extra if the batter seems thick.
Do it All
Butter, extra eggs, milk. If you add all three and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, you're technically allowed to call it homemade.
Throw in Some Spices
Love a pumpkin spice latte? Grab a yellow cake mix and add one teaspoon powdered cinnamon, a half teaspoon powdered ginger, and a quarter teaspoon each powdered allspice, powdered cloves, and powdered nutmeg.
Make the Frosting Yourself
You know what would taste incredible with that pumpkin spice cake or cupcakes? Cream cheese frosting. Making your own icing or frosting is a cinch and completely transforms boxed mix into something special. Here are nine easy recipes.
BONUS: Boost Your Brownies
If you are a fan of brownies, you can give them the makeover treatment as well. The obvious add-ins are nuts or chocolate chips. Add half a cup to your mix. But for real boost in flavor: Use brewed coffee instead of water.
With these simple tweaks, if you can turn on an oven, you can make a fabulous cake from the box. (Your secret's safe with us.)