How To Make Boxed Cupcakes Look & Taste Homemade

I’m all about making cupcakes from scratch, but sometimes the ease of a boxed mix is hard to pass up. If you’re short on time or concerned about your baking abilities, it’s still possible to make these cupcakes look homemade. Here are 5 tips for dressing them up:

  1. Use milk instead of water. Most boxed mixes call for water, but substitute it for whole milk to get a denser cake. My one complaint about boxed mixes is that the cupcakes are too light and airy, so this solves that problem and keeps them really moist!
  2. Bake them in cute paper cups. Instead of traditional cupcake liners I like to use paper baking cups. Just place them onto a baking sheet and fill about 2/3 of the way with the cupcake batter. Most of the time I find them at HomeGoods, Michaels or T.J.Maxx for only a few dollars. The pink and white polka dot style is perfect for the bridal or baby shower! I also found some cute red, white and blue ones which I used to make these funfetti cupcakes.
  3. Make your own buttercream. Skip the canned frosting and make your own buttercream. Below is my go-to recipe, which can be made with almond or vanilla extract depending on your flavor preference. It is much fluffier than the store-bought kind and you can’t beat the fresh taste.
  4. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. To frost the cupcakes, transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with your favorite decorating tip. I typically use the open star, closed star or French tip when making cupcakes. Piping the buttercream is really simple and looks way fancier than just spreading it on top with a knife.
  5. Add a cupcake topper. I recently found these Mr. and Mrs. cupcake toppers in the dollar spot at Target. The blush and white is so pretty, plus the rose gold foil adds a fun touch. They would be perfect for a bridal shower or wedding! I also love the Meri Meri cupcake kits, which usually come with cupcake liners and toppers. I used the star kit in this almond cupcake post.

 

Print Recipe
Almond Buttercream
Servings
about 2 cups
Ingredients
Servings
about 2 cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Turn off mixer and add powdered sugar, heavy cream, almond extract and salt. Mix on low for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.