Easy Box-Mix Makeovers | Midwest Living

Easy Box-Mix Makeovers

Easy Box-Mix Makeovers

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  • Prep 20 mins
  • Bake according to package instructions

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    Start with a mix:
  • 1 2-layer-size cake mix of your choice OR
  • 1 family-size brownie mix (19.5- to 26-ounce package)
  • Add seasoning to batter (pick one)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ground ginger, apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper (for some heat)
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • Mix liquid flavor into batter. Replace 1/4 cup of the water in the box mix with one of these:
  • 14 cups coffee liqueur
  • 1/4 cup melted ice cream
  • 1/4 cup flavored coffee syrup
  • 1/4 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
  • Swirl a flavor into batter (pick one)
  • 1/3 cup ice cream topping (choose from caramel, fudge or marshmallow flavors)
  • 1/2 cup cherry pie filling
  • Top ready-to-bake batter (pick one)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries or raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped smoked almonds or other nuts
  • 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut (toast coconut, if you like)


  1. Prepare mix as directed on package, customizing as you go according to suggestions above. Add one or more toppings from steps 2 through 6.
  2. To top a hot cake after baking: Sprinkle on 1/2 cup chocolate, peanut butter and/or butterscotch pieces; 1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate-covered raisins and/or peanuts; or 1 cup coarsely chopped candy bars and/or unwrapped caramels.
  3. To flavor canned frosting: Fold in 1/4 miniature semisweet chocolate pieces, 2 tablespoons chopped maraschino cherries or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel.
  4. To make whipped topping: Mix 2 cups whipped cream or thawed frozen whipped dessert topping with 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Or top with melted ice cream.
  5. To top a just-frosted cake: Add broken peanut brittle, honey-roasted peanuts, toasted coconut, broken cookies, grated chocolate, chopped candy, animal-shaped cookies (stood up in frosting), miniature semisweet chocolate pieces, candy-coated chocolate candied, colored sprinkles or edible glitter.
  6. To create a cream layer: Beat together a jar of marshmallow cream and a 1/4 cup orange marmalade, peanut butter or ice cream topping. Spread over the top of your baked brownie, cake or cupcakes, and stick in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove and frost as you like. Or fill with pudding, then frost.
  7. To create two-tone frosting: Put both colors in a frosting bag. Pipe frosting in swirls using a star tip.


  • Cupcake Ideas: Fill slightly hollowed brownie cupcakes with a small spoon of gooey marshmallow cream and top with drizzles of melted chocolate chips. Pipe mini dollops of canned pink frosting (or white frosting tinted with red food coloring) over the top and sprinkle with edible glitter. Frost a chocolate cupcake with canned chocolate frosting, then sprinkle on chopped candy bar and chopped chocolate bar. Decorate a cupcake with white canned frosting tinted with orange food coloring; snip a large marshmallow to form petals and dip in colored sugar; add gumdrop to the center. Roll the edge of a pink-frosted cupcake in multicolored sprinkles.

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