How To | Make Gluten Free Box Cakes Taste like Bakery Style Cakes

Everyone loves a beautiful cake. If you have celiac disease or any type of gluten intolerance, going to a birthday party or any special occasion event involving a gorgeous cake is torture. We all know Bakery style cakes are so much richer, denser, and frankly, amazing. But if you are one of the select few who have found that bakery style cake that is Gluten Free you know what I mean when I say it’s like winning the lottery.

I have a friend, two friends really, who are amazing cake bakers. They have been tackling the gluten free cake baking field for me for several years now. This dynamic cake duo can make any gorgeous idea you throw at them. If you can find it on Pinterest, they will make it equal in grandeur, perhaps even a little better! Once, I gave them an invitation to my daughter’s baptism and they replicated the cake to match the design of the invitation! They have also mastered the art of gluten free baking.

If you follow any of my social media feeds, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, (yes I have twitter too; however, I haven’t tackled that beast yet…) you will see all too often my daughters and I in the kitchen baking cookies, cakes, cupcakes, you name it! We love to bake! But the reality of making a cake from scratch on every baking whim I have, with two toddlers, is so unrealistic. So today I present you with a couple simple hacks to improve your typical gluten free boxed cake mixes to give them a rich bakery taste.

My cake mix of preference is Pillsbury; however, I have to credit Betty Crocker for breaching the name brand gluten free products way before anyone else in the market. My particular reason for choosing Pillsbury is the equivalent size factor. Betty Crocker cakes are great tasting, but do not come out to standard boxed cake sizes.


I start out with one boxed cake mix and one small box of jell-o brand pudding mix. I typically use either the white chocolate or vanilla with a fun-fetti flavored cake. Cheesecake is also a good flavor to add.


Next, add in 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of oil and 1 1/4 cup water. Using a stand mixer mix until well combined. The mixture will be thicker than a standard cake.


The girls typically feel the mixer will not work if they do not hold on to it while blending. I think they also believe it gets them closer to paddle licking once it’s finished.

Be sure to stop mixing once or twice and really scrape down the sides well to ensure all of the mix is incorporated. Your finished mixture should look something like this:



Next you will want to prepare your cupcake tins. If it was up to the girls, every single cupcake would have a hot pink wrapper. Since we were preparing ones for a green event, we came to a mutual agreement with silver wrappers and green icing.

The box says you can get 24 half filled cupcakes; I disagree. I always place 24 cups but never get more than 20 cupcakes from one batch. I like my cupcakes to puff a little  above the wrapper, so I fill my cupcakes around 2/3 full.

This particular time I ended up with 20 cupcakes and just enough batter on the paddle to split between two cute and very anxious little girls.


I then bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20 minutes removing from the oven to cool slightly, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.


There is nothing I am more disappointed in than an over-baked cupcake. They should never be brown around the edges. Dry cupcakes are gross. The pudding mix helps to add moisture and density to the cupcakes giving a slightly bakery feel, and I love t!

You can also follow these instruction with the gluten free Pillsbury Devils Food cake mix combining with a chocolate pudding mix.


I have not tried it yet, but I think a chocolate strawberry cake would be amazing if you added Strawberry Cream Pudding into the chocolate cake mix.


Always remember to transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack just moments after removing form the oven to allow them to coo completely before icing.


My favorite recipes to make with these cupcakes include a White Chocolate Buttercream I came up with, Strawberry Buttercream, and of course my ultimate favorite, Auntie M.’s Gob Icing.

If you have an apple corer like The Pampered Chef’s The Corer it is a great tool to hollow out the center of a cupcake just slightly to make room for an additional filling or just a secret hiding spot for more icing! Check out my friend Kathy’s page and splurge on these amazing stackable cooling racks that I couldn’t live without! My first home-show business was The Pampered Chef and let me tell you, that is an amazing little business to get into. Not only did I make money while finishing my graduate degree, but I completely stocked our kitchen when my husband and I were just starting out. Check in with her if you think it might be something you’d be interested in!

Keep checking back as you will find all three of my most favorite icing recipes including the Best White Chocolate Buttercream, in the very near future! Have a great week!


  • Whitney

9 thoughts on “How To | Make Gluten Free Box Cakes Taste like Bakery Style Cakes

    1. Thank you for your comments and concerns however, when this post was written the “barley” ingredient was not included in the packaging. That is a more recent development during this calendar year. 😊


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