The Perfect Cupcake Recipe (using a mix)


This is my all time favorite, go to “recipe” for cupcakes. You can use this “trick” to make a box cake mix taste like “from scratch”

How to make cupcake from mix taste like scratch

The Perfect Cupcake Recipe (using a mix)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 24

The Perfect Cupcake Recipe (using a mix)


  • 1 box mix (any flavor*) – but get the good kind, Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (use butter not margarine….trust me on this!)
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  2. Add cake mix, eggs and water to the butter in large bowl.
  3. Mix on low for 1 min. Then mix on high for 1 min.
  4. You will be amazed that your batter is nice and thick and creamy - not thin and runny like it is when you follow the box instructions.
  5. Fill cupcake papers – tip: use an icecream scooper! – One scoop is just the right amount per cupcake!
  6. Pop them in the oven on 350 for 20 minutes.
  7. Let cool.


I use this 99% of the time when I make cakes and cupcakes and I always get lots of compliments!

*Because I get so many emails asking…….YES you can use this to make a cake too! Cupcakes are just mini cakes

MORE  Cupcake Recipes

TidyMom Cupcake Recipes






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Cheryl Sousan

A self-proclaimed neat freak, Cheryl chronicles her journey through homemaking on her blog,, where she shares recipes, tutorials, crafting and her ever-growing love for photography. This St. Louis mom juggles her passion for life, her daughters and her tiger-loving husband, all while her obsession with tidiness cleans up the trail blazed behind her. Google+

194 Responses to “The Perfect Cupcake Recipe (using a mix)”

  1. Amber posted on September 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm (#)

    I’ve been using this technique for years only using milk instead of water. It adds a denseness that holds up well to cake decorating. I do also switch out…on special occasions, olive oil for the melted butter.

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  3. angelle posted on November 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm (#)

    Will this work with a triple chocolate fudge mix? It’s Duncan Hines . . . But there are chocolate chips in the mix . . .

  4. Ratherbebaking posted on December 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm (#)

    I followed the recipe to a T, even using the timer on my mixer. They looked fine when I took them out of the oven, after they cooled they are half the size and all sunk in. They look pathetic. Glad I have an extra mix to make another batch using original box directions.

  5. Lauren posted on January 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm (#)

    What about if you only have medium eggs then how many eggs would you use then?

  6. Lauren posted on January 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm (#)

    What about if you only have medium eggs how many eggs would you use then?

    • TidyMom replied on January 12th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      I’ve never bought or used medium eggs, most all recipes call for large eggs. I googled it to find out that it’s usually 1.5 medium = 1 large, but sometimes 2 medium = 1 large. So my recipe calls for 3 large eggs, I would probably try 5 medium eggs

  7. ilse posted on January 23, 2014 at 9:09 am (#)

    Hi, I want to try this for a cupcake order I have coming up but don’t want it to taste too box mixish, would it make a difference if I try this recipe with milk instead of water?

  8. Pataricia posted on February 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm (#)

    Could this recipe be half? If so how many eggs,margarine, and other
    would you add.(Thanks)

  9. Courtney posted on February 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm (#)

    I love this recipe! My grandfather has a sweet tooth, and I bake cupcakes for him every other week. I’ve been using this recipe for months now, and it’s great! I haven’t branched out and tried different kinds of cake mixes, I always use the same one. I use the Betty Crocker yellow mix and it turns out perfect each time! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe :)

  10. Annette posted on March 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm (#)

    Can you use 1/4 cup of oil instead of the 1/2 cup of melted butter. I don’t have butter on hand.

  11. Annette posted on March 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm (#)

    Can I use 1/4 cup of oil instead of the 1/2 cup of melted butter. Will that work to make it less liquid as the oil maybe a bit more liquid than the melted butter. Has anyone tried this?

    • TidyMom replied on March 7th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      well, oil is what the box calls for – sure you can use it!! – the butter is just part of what makes it taste richer and more like from scratch

  12. BB posted on March 30, 2014 at 10:20 am (#)

    I made these last night desperately looking for a moist easy to make cupcake. They came out dry I have no choice but to take them to the baby shower but I wonder what went wrong.. Any suggestions I used Duncan Hines moist chocolate cake mix..

    • TidyMom replied on March 30th, 2014 at 10:50 am

      I’m sorry, I’ve made them this way for years and never had them come out dry. are you sure you followed the directions/ingredients exactly as posted and didn’t over bake? I always bake my cupcakes 20 mins.

  13. Jason Hester posted on June 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm (#)

    You should really write it up a little differently, especially for guys. I’m doing thing now and I’ve got a BIG mess to clean up. You said mix on low for a minute and then high for a minute. I did, or tried to. I turned the mixer up as high as it would go. Now I’ve got cake mix all over the kitchen. What didn’t fling everywhere is in the oven and looks pretty good so far.

    • Jason replied on June 20th, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      It ended up making 23 and a small one. I made Giada’s Strawberry Cupcake Icing to put on ’em. GOOD! Taste like I bought ’em from somebody’s Mom.

  14. cece posted on November 24, 2014 at 10:04 am (#)

    Could i use milk instead of water.

  15. Meg posted on January 31, 2015 at 8:50 am (#)

    what size boxed cake mix is recommended?

  16. Linda Hoopet posted on March 5, 2015 at 12:42 pm (#)

    Could you tell me how long to bake and what temperature to use when using this recipe  for a cake (2-9 inch cake pans).  Thank you, Cheryl!!

  17. Ann Merhall posted on June 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm (#)

    This looks divine!  What I do for chocolate cake recipes from box is replace the water with coffee!  Really amps it up several notches!

  18. Robin posted on June 27, 2015 at 7:10 pm (#)

    I am making a cake recipe and I used this recipe instead of what’s on the box and let me tell you the cake rose high and the cake mix was thick. Will tell you tomorrow how it taste.

  19. Ashley posted on October 27, 2015 at 4:40 pm (#)

    I made these! I guess they were just so amazing because I didn’t get ANY of the 24! Lol

  20. Andrea posted on December 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm (#)

    I love baking- but when there’s just 2 of us- I don’t like to experiment too much – well- not a matter of like… it’s more my waistline. lol  So I figured the doctored box mix was the way to go. These turned out beautifully.  Like little light puffs of chocolate cake.  Not fussy at all. I even made them in mini cupcake size  (I had one 12 count regular tin and 2  mini pans) and those are even more dangerous. lol     For what it’s worth- I use an additional oven thermometer.  I learned (finally) several years back it’s soooooo worth it.  None of the ovens I’ve had- old, apartment, new house are ever up to temp when it beeps it does. ( I think you can calibrate some of them)  For mine- 20 minutes longer than the beep seems to be the magic time. Which makes sense- because it always seems I was baking stuff that much longer or more- depending on how many checks I made.   Now to go find a frosting recipe. 😀

  21. KRISTINE CRAIL posted on January 1, 2016 at 11:36 am (#)

    The recipe calls for 3 eggs already.  Am I adding 3 large eggs on top of that to equal 6 or just the 3 large eggs per your recipe?

    • TidyMom replied on January 1st, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      The recipe is just for 3 eggs, not quite sure where you are seeing 6?  Enjoy!!

  22. Linda posted on January 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm (#)

    Clear, informative, simple. Love your post!


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