Bakery Style Cupcakes From a Box

Posted : June 8, 2020

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  • 1 box of cake mix
  • ½ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Next, pour your dry cake mix into a mixing bowl, and add your ½ cup of flour. *The addition of extra flour gives the cupcakes more structure, they won’t be as delicate as box cupcakes typically are.*
  • In a separate bowl, add the eggs and oil. *Box cake mix usually calls for 3 eggs, so by adding extra eggs you are adding to the structure, much like the flour.*
  • Then add your sour cream and water. *The recipe on my box called for 1 cup of water, but by substituting half a cup with sour cream, the cupcakes will have more moisture, and gives it a bakery style finish. Depending on your flavour of cake mix, you can add vanilla to pack in some flavour.*
  • Mix wet ingredients with a whisk or fork until smooth.
  • Pour into your bowl with the dry mix, and whisk or stir together until batter is smooth, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl. (No dry lumps left behind!) *I used a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, but any kind of hand mixer or even just a wooden spoon should get the job done.*
  • Once your batter is ready, spoon or scoop it into the cupcake liners. Make sure not to overfill the liners, only fill about 1/3 of the way up. *Box cake mix likes to expand and bake big! (I got 22 cupcakes out of my batch. Not quite 24.)*
  • Next, bake the cupcakes for around 18-20 minutes, or follow the baking times provided on your box. *You can check to see if the cupcakes are done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, with no sticky batter on it, your cupcakes are ready!*
  • Let them rest for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Bake Three Fifty’s Vanilla Buttercream


  • 1 lb unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 900 g sifted icing sugar
  • 60 ml milk
  • 15 ml vanilla
  • food colouring or food dye gel (optional)
  • sprinkles


  • Take the unsalted butter and whip it on medium-high until it is fluffy and white. *You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer, just make sure your are pausing every few minutes or so to scrape down the sides of your bowl. Any leftover chunks of butter can ruin the texture of your buttercream.*
  • While your butter is whipping, take a fine mesh strainer or sifter and sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
  • Once the butter is fluffy, turn your mixer down low and add your icing sugar. *Do this in three parts, making sure to pause and scrape down the sides again, letting the icing sugar fully mix in before adding the next part. Any leftover icing sugar can also ruin your texture. Once all the icing sugar is incorporated, the buttercream may feel very thick and difficult to whip. This is where the milk helps. It loosens the buttercream enough to get it back to a creamy texture and helps it fluff up.*
  • Add your milk 1 tbsp at a time, making sure to fully mix it before adding more. *You may not need all of your milk, sometimes the more your butter is whipped in the first stage of mixing, the less milk you need.*
  • Add the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  • If you want to add a flavour to your buttercream, now is the time!

Chocolate Buttercream: Melt chocolate and wait until it is cool enough to touch. If your chocolate is too hot, it will melt your buttercream. Pour into your buttercream with your mixer running and whip until there are no streaks left. You can always add strawberry jam for strawberry icing, or lemon zest to brighten up any cupcake flavour you chose!

For the true bakery style cupcakes, transfer to a piping bag to decorate. I used a Wilton 1M tip and a 16” Wilton featherweight piping bag for my buttercream. I separated my icing into three bowls and used Wilton gel food dyes to match the colours of sprinkles. Fit the tip into your piping bag and place into a tall glass to help hold it up. Spoon your icing colours into the bag and make sure to twist the bag at the opening, so nothing comes out when decorating. Go wild with the colours and sprinkles, and make it as fun and as colourful as you want! This is a great excuse to have a cupcake decorating party at home.


Make sure to capture your creations and share by tagging @bakethreefifty and @shopmarketco!

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