My 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Boxed Cake Mix (It’s My Favorite Italian Staple)

My birthday is on July 3. I always thought the Fourth of July fireworks were just for me. And every year since I can remember I’ve had a “flag cake” to celebrate: a basic vanilla boxed cake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries arranged on top to resemble an American flag. It’s nothing fancy, but to me it’s perfect. 

The flavor of boxed vanilla cake is so comforting and nostalgic. Try as I may, I’ve never been able to nail the taste and texture with homemade. That said, over the years my preferences have become slightly more sophisticated.

My 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Tender and Moist Boxed Cake Mix

One of my favorite cakes made from scratch is a ricotta olive oil cake. It’s impossibly moist and light and bakes up with a crumb that would make Paul Hollywood proud. A few years back I was baking a flag cake for the Fourth of July and I wanted to make sure it would stay fresh until I was ready to frost and serve it a few days later.

I added a little ricotta to my boxed vanilla cake mix—it was so tender and moist and stayed straight-from-the-oven fresh for days. My kids are more than happy to enjoy this cake plain, or with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar on top. I’ve never looked back.

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

How To Add Ricotta to Any Boxed Cake Mix

The great thing about this tip is it works with all boxed cake mixes, including vanilla, chocolate, and Funfetti. I love to use it with vanilla cake because it enhances the delicate flavor of the vanilla without competing with it. I go with the tried-and-true box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Vanilla Cake Mix, but you can give it a try with whatever box you have in your pantry.

All you need to do is add 1/2 cup of full-fat ricotta into the mix when you whisk up the wet ingredients called for on the back of the box. Add the dry baking mix and fold until combined, then bake as directed. I usually bake it as a sheet cake, but it works well for cupcakes, too. 

To amp up the flavor even more, I suggest adding the zest of one lemon to the wet ingredients. It will perfume the cake with a fresh lemon flavor that works in harmony with the floral notes of the vanilla.

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Cee Gei
Author: Cee Gei

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