Use these easy boxed cake mix hacks to make the most delicious bakery style honey vanilla cake with honey buttercream. No one will ever know that this beautiful, tasty naked cake is not from scratch!
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Look, I adore baking but I have young kids.
Sometimes (read most of the time) I don’t have it in me to put together a completely from scratch cake.
Most of the time when I do bake a cake, I make the most of every boxed cake mix hack I can think of so I get a cake that tastes scratch made.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I do bake from scratch when I can.
Beyond that though, I will hack anything I can.
See also: Store Bought Sugar Cookie Dough Hacks: Dipped Sugar Cookies and Store Bought Cookie Dough Hacks Stuffed Cookies to name a few.
But cake is my nemesis.
It’s so involved. Just no.
Besides I get joy in hacking the heck out of boxed cake mix to create a cake that tastes homemade and sounds fancy af.
I mean tell me vanilla honey cake with honey buttercream frosting doesn’t sound like some impressive dessert you’d find at a restaurant I can’t go to these days because they don’t allow small children?
How to Make Box Cake Mix Taste Better
There are so many simple ways to turn an average box of cake mix into something extraordinary!
My favorite ways are just tweaking the recommended ingredients.
I like to:
- sub milk, cream, or in this case, flavored coffee creamer for water for moisture
- use half melted butter for half of the amount of oil
- add a little extra vanilla extract for deeper flavor
- depending on the cake mix, adding an extra egg yolk can make for a richer cake (we don’t use this hack here)
- use homemade buttercream frosting always!!
All of these ideas require no or very little extra work at all and vastly improve the end result.
Ingredients and Kitchen Supplies
You’ll need a set of ingredients for the cake itself and another set for the honey buttercream.
For the cake you’ll need:
- Cake mix– Your favorite white or yellow cake mix.
- Coffee creamer– Look for a honey cream flavored or use vanilla and add add a tablespoon of honey.
- Butter– In this recipe, I used all butter for the fat.
- Vanilla extract– Use real vanilla and imitation vanilla extract.
For the buttercream you’ll need:
- Powdered sugar
- Butter– Softened but not melted
- Coffee creamer– Look for a honey flavored creamer or use the same amount of half and half
- Raspberries– for garnish
Kitchen supplies you’ll need include:
How to Make the Best Boxed Cake
1. Get the oven and cake pans ready.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 round 8×8 or 9×9 by cake pans on the sides and bottom thoroughly with butter or oil. Set aside.
2. Make the cake batter.
Mix cake mix, cream, vanilla, butter and eggs in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium until combined.
3.Divide the batter and bake.
Pour the cake mix into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from cake pan and let cool completely prior to frosting.
How to Make Honey Buttercream Frosting
While the cake cools completely, make the frosting.
To do it:
1. Cream together the butter, sugar, and honey.
Make sure the butter is soft but not melted before doing this step.
2. Beat in the creamer.
Add in creamer one tablespoon at a time. You may only need 2 tablespoons, but you may need more depending on the humidity, etc.
3. Avengers assemble the cake.
Frost one layer of cake. Stack the second layer on top of the first. Frost the top layer of cake. I just spread the frosting with a frosting spatula but feel free to get fancy and pipe if you desire. Finish the cake with a smattering of berries for garnish.
Store this cake in a cake saver.
It will last one the counter in a cake saver for 3 days.
If you refrigerate it , you can enjoy this cake for 5-6 days.
Tips and Tricks
- For a rustic feel, there’s no need to pipe the frosting on or doing anything fancy. You can just spread it out with a butter knife or a frosting spatula in a thin layer.
- I like to soften my butter by pulling the sticks out about an hour or so before I make the cake and letting them sit on the counter. Forgot to do that? Pop the stick of butter in the microwave for 10 seconds or let them sit on your preheating oven, turning the sticks every so often so all sides melt.
- Mix the batter until it is smooth but do not over mix. If you mix it too much, the cake will be tough.
- For more frosting tips and tricks, check out my Creamy Vanilla Buttercream Icing. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about making frosting.
- If you don’t want the naked cake look, double the frosting recipe and you can cover the whole cake.
Other Recipes that use Boxed Cake Mix
- Easy Pumpkin Donuts (from Cake Mix)
- Adorable Easy Easter Peeps Cupcakes Egg Nest Cupcakes
- Easy Gingerbread Donuts
- Easy 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins with Cake Mix
- Boozy Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Easy Ghost Cupcakes for Halloween
- Easy Spider Cupcakes for Halloween
- Shortcut Bailey’s Cake with Bailey’s Chocolate Frosting
- Shortcut Boozy Kahlua Brownies
And check out all the ways you can dress up storebought cookie dough:
- The Best Cute and Easy Sprinkles Sugar Cookies
- Store Bought Sugar Cookie Dough Hacks: Dipped Sugar Cookies
- Easy Giant Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookie for Valentine’s Day
- Store Bought Cookie Dough Hacks Stuffed Cookies
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For the cake
- 1 package of vanilla cake mix*
- 1 cup of Honey Cream coffee creamer
- 1/2 cup of softened butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
For the frosting**
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened, but not melted butter
- 2-3 tbs of Honey Cream coffee creamer
- 1 tbs Honey
- Raspberries for garnish***
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 round 8x8 or 9x9 by cake pans on the sides and bottom thoroughly with butter or oil. Set aside.
- Mix cake mix, cream, softened butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium until combined.
- Pour cake mix into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from cake pan and let cool completely prior to frosting.
- While cake is cooling, in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter, powdered sugar, and honey. Add in creamer one tablespoon at a time. You may only need 2 tablespoons, but you may need more depending on the humidity, etc. If you go past 4 tbs, the icing will be more of a glaze than an icing. When ingredients are thoroughly combined and peaks form, icing is done. Spread on cake.
To assemble cake
- Frost one layer of cake. Stack the second layer on top of the first. Frost the top layer of cake. I just spread the frosting with a frosting spatula but feel free to get fancy and pipe if you desire. Finish the cake with a smattering of berries for garnish.
*The cake mix box will tell you how much water is needed. Simply sub the same amount of cream for water to make this cake. Water needs may vary based on brand of cake mix.
**If you don't want to make a naked cake like I did, double the frosting recipe.
***Raspberries optional, but any berry would be lovely on top.