out of the box.

Whether it’s making Cake Batter Blondies, Coconut Marble Brownies, or Pumpkin Cake Batter Cupcakes, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of using boxed baking mixes. Sure, I love baking from scratch, but sometimes that’s not always an option.

…like that time I volunteered to bake for the 80-100 people attending the launch of Liberty Sisterhood, I knew it was time to put my “skills” to good use.

So here’s a little tutorial of sorts of how I like to take it up a notch when using boxed baking mixes. There are some simple ways to make the goods just a little more special…and delicious.

First and foremost, no semi-homemade baking extravaganza can be complete without my favorite-ever Cake Batter Blondies. You can find the original post and recipe by clicking here.

Not gonna’ lie…it makes me pretty happy that I “invented” my best friend’s favorite dessert 😀

Next on the agenda was sprucing up regular old brownie mix. To take them to the next level, I used 2 eggs rather than the suggested 3, which lends to a chewy/dense brownie rather than a cake-y one (you can also achieve this by using chocolate cake mix). I also added about a cup of peanut butter chips because…well, no explanation necessary.

For a seasonal treat, I made a cake (seen above on the left) by combining 1 box of yellow cake mix*, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 15 ounces of canned pumpkin (*even better is to use spice cake mix, but the grocery store was out of stock). Bake according to the box and after letting the cake cool, cut it into 20-24 slices, top with cream cheese icing, and the result is what I guess I’ll call Pumpkin Cake Batter Bars. Yeah, that works.

And, last but not least, there were cookies.

Lots and lots of cookies.

To go even more simple than using a boxed mix, grab refrigerated sugar cookie dough and add some pizzazz with decorative sprinkles.

As for boxed cookie mixes, though, I must give a special shout-out to these Betty Crocker gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

All you you have to add to the mix is 1 stick of butter, 1 egg, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract for an out-of-this-world (easy) treat. I can more than attest that the dough isn’t so bad either…ahem…

So sure, baking from scratch may be more fun and oftentimes more delicious, but if you’re in a time crunch or baking for the masses – I wouldn’t hesitate to try some of these tips!

Now pardon me…I have some leftover pumpkin to make use of 🙂

What do you make when you’re baking/cooking for a lot of people?


  1. says

    Um Wow that is an awful lot of people to bake for! I have never had to bake for that many people! The most I’ve ever baked for is a classful of students… and my largest was 27! Cupcakes and cookies is how I go for that.. and that gives one to every student.

    You are making me want to have a baking extravaganza thought!

  2. says

    When I’m cooking for a lot of people (I come from an Italian background), pasta is my go-to for the masses. Make lots of pasta with a few different sauces–it’s on like Donkey Kong!

    When I’m baking, I tend to go for cookies, brownies or breads. They’re easier to handle than a piece of cake and people can grab one of each to squelch their screaming sweet receptors!

  3. says

    I looove making different things with boxed cake mixes. They always turn out so good and are really easy. Everything you’ve made looks absolutely amazing!

  4. says

    That looks like quite fun doctoring up all those cake mixes! Sometimes a good ol’ box mix can really make the best dessert. Usually if I have to bake for a lot of people I simply make a big pan of brownies. If they’re really rich you can cut them into small pieces so everyone gets a bit!

  5. says

    You are like a baking machine! Adding your own personal touch to cake mixes is totally what makes them 10x better. I think cake mixes are good anyways though!

  6. says

    I love using box mixes. Some days it’s just so much easier, especially when I’m low on baking supplies and wouldn’t be able to make a cake or baked good otherwise! I just picked up a spice cake mix and some pumpkin to make pumpkin spice cookies 🙂

  7. says

    Wow that’s a lot of baking but it all looks fabulous–> I’m a sucker for boxed baked goods too! I actually prefer Betty Crocker Devils Food Cake to one made from scratch! Heaven in a box for real!

  8. says

    Wow that’s a lot of baking. 🙂 For work this past week I made pumpkin spice cupcakes w/ cream cheese icing. I used a boxed spice cake mix, subbed pumpkin for the oil, reduced the water a little (less runny) and they turned out awesome! I am a huge fan of using box cake mix when baking for a large crowd!

  9. Hannah C says

    I used your Cake Batter Blondies recipe, but used Duncan Hines’ Quick & Easy Pumpkin Bread box mix instead (no sprinkles). Right after it came out of the oven, I put cream cheese icing on it and let it melt all over the top. DELISH.

  10. says

    When cooking/baking for a lot of people, I usually look for a recipe that says serves blah-blah…lol

    Sometimes I find that doubling/halving a recipe makes it come out different…different meaning not as good!

    I love your way though! No one can beat betty!

  11. Lindsey says

    Thanks for the awesome ideas! I’m in college now so I don’t keep flour, sugar, eggs, etc. in my dorm on a regular basis. I’ve heard of the spice cake/canned pumpkin recipe and I bought the ingredients for it last weekend! I can’t wait to make it!

  12. says

    Oh my gosh, all of these treats look so delicious!! You must have been baking for hours! And thanks for the recommendation on the gluten free cookies! A lot of my friends are g-free so it’s great to know something I can make!

  13. says

    Have you ever heard those Betty Crocker Brownie Mix radio ads? Where the guy is super dramatic and talks about how you can put different things in the brownie mix to make them taste better? Like he’s all, “The brownies are the canvas, and YOU…you are the artiste!” and at the end he’s like “visit bettycrocker.com for recipe ideas…or DON’T!” (it’s like my favorite radio ad ever. SO FUNNY). Anyway, this post totally made me think of that ad 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *