Techniques for Moist Chocolate Cake From a Box


A box mix cake takes the guesswork out of measuring or even finding the perfect chocolate cake recipe. Though box mixed cakes are relatively flawless, there are ways you can dry out a box mix cake. When working with a chocolate cake mix there are a few techniques you can use to moisten up a chocolate cake mix to have a rich and decadent cake.


  • The average chocolate cake mix calls for eggs, oil and water. Rather than use water in your cake mix, use an equal amount of milk. Milk will add a slightly denser texture to your chocolate cake, but the added fat will provide a rich and moist texture to the overall cake. Use 2-percent or whole milk.

Sour Cream

  • Sour cream can work just like milk to add a richer texture to the chocolate cake as well as moisture. Add the same amount of sour cream to a cake mix recipe as you would water, or use half sour cream and half water. The sour cream taste will come through slightly in the cake after it is baked, but the chocolate flavor will still be the main thing you taste.

Lower Temperature

  • There is a reason for the saying "low and slow" in the cooking and baking world. The higher the temperature of your oven, the faster the outside of your chocolate cake bakes before the inside. This leaves you with a dry texture on the outside of your cake and a moist center. Avoid this by baking chocolate cakes at lower temperatures and for a longer time. Decrease the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when you bake your next chocolate cake. Baking times will vary depending on your oven, but expect the baking time to increase 10 to 20 minutes for smaller cakes and more than 20 minutes for larger cakes.

Avoid Over-Baking

  • Baking a chocolate cake requires the center to be fully baked before you remove it from the oven. You can test a cake for doneness by placing a toothpick in the center. A toothpick should never be completely clean when it comes out from the center of your cake, but it should not have a layer of batter on it, either. A toothpick needs to come out of the center of your cake with a few chocolate cake crumbs attached to it. Remove the cake when this occurs to prevent over-baking.

Simple Syrup Coating

  • Often, a chocolate cake mix cake will bake up just fine, but as it sits out it becomes dry. Using a simple syrup coating over your cakes can prevent the cakes from drying out as well as add flavor. Mix 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan. To increase chocolate flavor while keeping the cake moist, mix 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 cup freshly brewed coffee. Heat the mixture on the stovetop over medium heat and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Apply a coating of the simple syrup to the top of your cake with a pastry brush as they are removed from the oven. Poke holes at the top of the cake with a toothpick to allow the simple syrup to seep deeper into the cake.

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