17 Cake mix hacks that make creative desserts easier than ever

Mar 2, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. ET

It's something most of us have lingering in our cabinets, but you probably aren't using it to its full potential. I'm talking boxed cake mix, people.

Because other than birthdays, when do you really end up making straight-up cake? Instead, you can use your boxed cake mix to create a variety of exciting desserts, from frozen ice cream cupcakes to a red velvet cheesecake ball that will wow party guests.

So next time cake mix goes on sale, you can feel totally fine about stocking up. The 17 decadent treats below are worth your while (and the pantry space!).

1. Ice cream cupcake recipe

ice cream cup cakes

Cake and ice cream are classic birthday party treats, but this recipe combines the two for a frozen dessert that's really something to celebrate. Best of all, it works with any flavor of cake mix and ice cream that your heart desires.

2. Champagne-lemon mini Bundt cake recipe

lemon champagne bundt cakes

These elegant Bundt cakes get a boost from bubbly and sweet-tart lemon cake mix. Delicate and lemony, these cakes are perfect for tea parties, New Year's and cocktail parties.

3. Slow cooker cake recipes

slow cooker cakes

Did you know you can make cake in the slow cooker? These recipes, including carrot cake, lemon-berry scoop cake and chocolate nut cake, are easier than you would imagine thanks to your slow cooker and carrot, white and chocolate cake mixes.

4. Funfetti dip recipe

funfetti dip

It seems like Funfetti is every kid's favorite cake. This dip reimagines Funfetti as a creamy, sweet dip that's perfect with animal crackers, cookies and fruit, and all it takes is that box of Funfetti cake mix you probably already have in your cupboard.

5. Ancho chili-spiced cocoa porter PubCakes recipe

chocolate chili beer cakes

This PubCakes Ancho Chili cake mix ingeniously combines chocolate, chilies and beer for a truly unforgettable dessert.

6. Maple-pecan bars recipe

cake mix maple pecan bars

Don't waste your time fiddling with pastry crust — you can use yellow cake mix to make these chewy, decadent maple-pecan bars instead.

7. Birthday cake pancakes recipe

 birthday cake pancakes

This fun recipe puts the celebration in your breakfast with the addition of yellow cake mix and a dash of sprinkles. What kid (or adult!) wouldn't love these as their birthday breakfast?

8. Low-fat St. Patrick's Day whoopie pie recipe

st patricks day whoopie pies

Yum! Who knew homemade whoopie pies could be so easy — and relatively healthy? Changing the food coloring you add to the white cake mix makes this recipe perfect for other holidays too.

9. Vegan chocolate cake with fruit recipe

vegan chocolate cake with fruit

If you've ever felt daunted at the thought of vegan baking, you're in luck! It turns out that many chocolate cake mixes, like Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix, are vegan. Using soy or coconut yogurt and applesauce, you'll be able to churn out a dreamy vegan dessert in no time.

10. 2-Ingredient pumpkin cookies recipe

two ingredient pumpkin cake mix cookies

Two-ingredient cookies — what's not to love? All it takes is a box of spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree; you can dust with powdered sugar or slather with frosting if you're feeling fancy.

11. Cake batter blondies recipe

cake batter blondies

This super-fun recipe is perfect for when you're craving the dense, chewy texture of a brownie but only have white cake mix on hand.

12. Funfetti cake waffles recipe

funfetti waffles

And here I thought my mind was blown by Funfetti pancakes! These four-ingredient waffles, flecked with sprinkles, are truly a next-level birthday treat all thanks to Funfetti cake mix.

13. 3-Ingredient grilled peach cobbler recipe

grilled cake mix three ingredient peach cobbler

I think you just found your new favorite summer barbecue treat! It's amazing how a box of vanilla cake mix, canned peaches in syrup and a little butter combine to make this sweet grilled dessert.

14. Red velvet puppy chow recipe

red velvet chex mix puppy chow

The sweet flavors of red velvet cake mix and cream cheese frosting combined with the crunch of Chex cereal make this holiday snack a real standout. Change up the color of the sprinkles for a fun snack year-round.

15. Red velvet cheesecake ball recipe

red velvet cheesecake ball

Savory cheese balls are so last year. This red velvet cake mix version, covered in miniature chocolate morsels and served with cookies for dipping, will totally bring you over to the sweet side.

16. Cookie dough-frosted chocolate cake recipe

cookie dough cake

This decadent cake looks like it took you all day, but with that box of dark chocolate cake mix you have lingering in the back of your pantry, it's ready in minutes. Plus, it's like eating cookie dough with a side of chocolate cake. Winner.

17. Brownie batter milkshake recipe

brownie batter milkshake

OK, technically this is made with boxed brownie mix and not cake mix, but it's close enough because, well, just look at it. It had to go on this list.

More fun cake

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