Doctored Chocolate Cake Mix

Learn how to take a Chocolate Cake Mix and make it taste like it's made from scratch with this easy Doctored Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe. It's moist, fluffy, incredibly fudgy, and only requires a few additional ingredients.

slice of cake on a white plate with the rest of the cake behind the slice on a white surface


Want to know the secret on how to make box chocolate cake better? Follow this Doctored Chocolate Cake Mix recipe and transform a boxed cake into a bakery style dessert that will wow anyone.

With a few extra ingredients, you will find you can totally transform your cake into a whole new flavor.

Why Make This Recipe

  • Simple Ingredients
  • Completely Transforms the flavor of a chocolate boxed cake
  • Easy to Make
  • Decorate with your favorite frosting

As you will find this recipe is crazy simple, and the flavor is incredible. I highly recommend trying out this cake, for birthday parties, a weeknight dessert, summer cookout, or even take to a potluck.

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Ingredients for the Best Doctored Chocolate Cake

Most of the ingredients being listed are actually part of the regular cake mix ingredient list, but there are a few simple additional ingredients that will enhance this cake.

  • chocolate cake mix - I used the Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge, but any boxed chocolate cake mix will work.
  • unsweetened cocoa powder - This ingredient is what puts the chocolate back into this chocolate cake recipe.
  • granulated sugar - This helps sweeten the cake up again after adding the cocoa powder.
  • instant chocolate pudding mix - This can be left out, but it really provides moist chocolate cake and keeps the cake soft.
  • freshly brewed coffee - Coffee always enhances the chocolate flavor, so you can't go wrong with adding it to a cake. You can substitute it with just water if you don't have coffee on hand.
  • vegetable or canola oil - Either oil works great in this recipe. I don't recommend substituting it with butter in this recipe.
  • large eggs - I always use large eggs in my recipes.
  • full-fat sour cream - Sour Cream makes the cake moist and adds a little tanginess.
  • vanilla extract - vanilla extract is just another way to add extra flavor to make the doctored chocolate cake mix taste more homemade.

What Brand of Cake Mix to Use

You can use any brand of cake you would like. For me, I used Betty Crocker, but feel free to buy your favorite brand or what is on sale at the time.

showing a slice of cake slightly overhead on a white plate with a white background

How to use Doctored Cake Mix

  • Cupcakes - You can make full-size, or mini cupcakes to then decorate as you would like.
  • 8-inch layer cake - If you want to create a layered cake, go for it. Just grab your round cake pans and bake.
  • 9x13 Pan - A classic cake is another option. Grab your 9x13 for baking up a delicious cake for birthday parties and more.
  • Bundt cake - Just adjust the cooking time to fit the thickness of the cake. It will take a bit longer to bake but will be delicious.
chocolate cupcake on a white cupcake stand with a chocolate cake behind it and cupcakes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze this easy chocolate cake?

You can freeze this chocolate cake. Allow the cake to fully cool, and then place in a freezer container. Freeze the cake whole or opt to freeze the cake sliced if you prefer.

Freeze the cake for 3-4 months. Go right ahead and freeze and then thaw in the fridge overnight. Or do a quick thaw on the counter if you want.

How long with this cake last?

Cake last for around 5 days when stored properly. Cake though will dry out after a few days, so I recommend eating the cake for before day 3. The first few days will give you the best flavor and moist texture.

Does this cake dome?

I didn't notice either my cupcakes or 8-inch cakes doming but any cake can dome. If it happens when you're planning to do a layered cake, just make sure to use a knife or cake leveler to cut off the excess top.

More ways to use boxed cake mix

square image of a slice of cake on a white dessert plate with a white background

Doctored Chocolate Cake Mix

This Doctored Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe is moist, fluffy, incredibly fudgy, and only requires a few additional ingredients.
4.75 from 315 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 36 cupcakes
Calories 134 kcal


  • 15.25 ounce box chocolate cake mix I use Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3.4 ounce box instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 ¼ cups freshly brewed coffee
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If making cupcakes, fill a muffin pan with cupcake papers. If making an 8 inch layer cake, grease two 8 inch pans with nonstick baking spray and place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of each pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the chocolate cake mix, cocoa powder, sugar, and instant pudding. Stir with a spatula until combined.
  • Add in coffee, vegetable oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract, Whisk until the eggs are incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  • For cupcakes, fill about ⅔ full with cake batter. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 19 minutes or until done. Insert a toothpick in the center of one of the cupcakes that's in the center cavity of the pan. If it comes out clean or with moist crumbs, they're done.
  • For 8 inch cakes, divide the batter into the prepared pans. Spread the batter out evenly. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Place a toothpick in the center of the cakes and if it comes out clean or with moist crumbs, it's done.
  • Let the cakes cool in the cake pan for about 20 to 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The top will be sticky and may stick to the wire rack.
  • Once cooled, place on a cake board that has about 1 tablespoon of frosting spread on it and frost.


Calories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 150mgPotassium: 84mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 67IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

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  1. the Betty Crocker Cake mix was only 13.25 oz? another downsize, can I use this without changing the recipe. waiting to make it

  2. This cake is insanely delicious! It is a rich chocolate flavor especially when topped with chocolate buttercream, but it is oh-so-good! This will be my chocolate cake recipe going forward!5 stars

  3. Truly the best chocolate cupcake recipe I have tasted! Soft, tender and moist! Followed the recipe as is. Thank you soo much!!5 stars

  4. I found this recipe a year ago and it has become a family favorite. I have made it at least 10x. This recipe is perfection and needs no tweaking! I frost it with homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. Everyone needs to make this cake!!!5 stars

  5. I left out the pudding because I didn't have any on hand but it was super moist and delicious. I'd give it a 10 out of 10!!5 stars

    1. The hot water is going to "bloom" the cocoa which will enhance the flavor of it in the cake! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  6. I absolutely love this recipe and it is my go-to chocolate cake! However, can I ask what brand of jello mix you’re using that is 3.4 oz? The jell-o and Hershey brands come in 3.9 oz, and dove comes in 3.03. The only one that comes in 3.4 oz is the cook and serve variety, which I’m assuming won’t work as well. I usually just use the jello brand and withhold .5 oz, but am I doing this wrong? The cake always comes out great, I just want to check!5 stars

    1. No that all sounds great Sarah. I know that there are changes in sizes but if it comes out good you are all good in the recipe!!

  7. Fantastic cake! I baked this for a Birthday Party of 8 adults, and everyone raved about how delicious it was!5 stars

4.75 from 315 votes (281 ratings without comment)

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