Gaming Store-bought Cake Mix

Try these ultimate hacks for winning desserts

Are you the person who always brings wine to the party? We have officially arrived at Holiday Baking Season, which is a perfect time to get over your mageirocophobia (fear of cooking, it's a real thing) and offer up something homemade. Well, at least partially homemade. By doctoring supermarket baking mixes, you can improve the taste one thousand percent to please/fool even the biggest food snob.

These tips will give you that made-from-scratch vibe 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.

Pioneer Woman

Use Butter Instead of Oil

Hmm...would you smear your toast with vegetable oil? I think not. So, it makes intuitive sense that using butter in cake (just melt it in the microwave) at a 1:1 ratio ups the yum factor. (And 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

Or 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.

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. Definitely add a half cup of one or both to your mix, but the real secret flavor booster? 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.)