Better Boxed Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Every Southerner knows the beauty of a good boxed mix. Cookies, cornbread, and muffins are on the table and ready to enjoy in mere minutes thanks to the genius of boxed goodies. They promise a hassle-free trip to the kitchen and almost taste as good as Mama's homemade recipes (almost). Most folks would agree that box yellow cake mix shines above them all. It's classic, versatile, and oh-so tasty. But have you ever wondered how to make yellow box cake taste like homemade? It's actually as easy as swapping out a few key ingredients. Most boxed cake mixes call for water, oil, and eggs. Substitute the oil for melted butter and the water for whole milk (it's the Southern way – after all), and we guarantee your boxed mix will taste better than ever. Top it off with our homemade chocolate icing for the ultimate decadent dessert. This semi-homemade recipe is the ideal treat to make when you're in a pinch for time.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
Serves: 12 (serving size: 1 slice)



  • Cooking spray

  • 1 box yellow cake mix

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 large eggs

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 8-inch round pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.

  2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, substituting whole milk for water and melted butter for oil. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans and bake according to package directions. Remove from oven and let cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack; remove parchment paper, and let cool completely about 1 hour.

  3. Prepare chocolate frosting: Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat until smooth and just beginning to lighten in color, about 1 minute. Spread frosting on cake layers and decorate as desired.

    Better Box Mix Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
    Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images
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