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How to Make German Chocolate Cake Mix Better? 9 Tips

How To Make German Chocolate Cake Mix Better
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In the world of desserts, people always love experimenting and modifying traditional baked goods. Sometimes, this is because they are tired of the same old taste, but sometimes, it is because they just don’t like the traditional recipe. The appearance of boxed cake mixes made things even easier. So, if you are wondering how to improve German chocolate cake mix, here are some ideas.

To make German chocolate cake mix better, try including different nuts, such as roasted hazelnuts. The other ideas are to add vanilla extract to the batter, add instant coffee, use different kinds of chocolate, or use carob powder instead of cocoa powder. Lastly, you can experiment with different cake mixes.

If you are not sure which idea to consider, I explain each of them in this article. After reading it, you will be able to use some tricks and modify your next German chocolate cake to taste even better. Lastly, I will answer your frequent question – what is the actual difference between German chocolate cake mix and regular chocolate cake mix. 

How to Improve Boxed German Chocolate Cake?

Contrary to many people’s opinions, German chocolate cake is not invented in Germany. The true origin is not clear, but the most common theory is that German chocolate cake originated from the Texas region, United States. 

Since its popularity is increasing, some variations of this cake are appearing. There are also some tricks that you can use and improve the taste of traditional German chocolate cake. Here, I explained them in detail.

Include Different Nuts

Traditional German chocolate cake includes layers of chocolate batter and sugar cream mixed with pecans and coconut. To improve the taste, try using different nuts in the cream. The best kind, in my opinion, is roasted hazelnuts. 

Hazelnuts will give this cake an earthy flavor that will remind you of Nutella when combined with cocoa in the batter.

How To Make German Chocolate Cake Mix Better

Add Vanilla Extract to the Batter

It is known that vanilla extract is one of the best additions you can include to the cakes. It is so simple to use – you just add one teaspoon of it and you made a huge difference. The role of vanilla extract is to enhance all flavors in the cake. So, adding it would just increase sweetness and chocolate flavor. 

Add Instant Coffee to the Batter

Every coffee lover will love the idea of adding coffee to the chocolate cake. It is not a piece of news that coffee and chocolate go great together. So, why not add it to German chocolate cake, too?

Mix two teaspoons of instant coffee with half of the cup of warm water and include it in the unbaked batter. Make sure you add less water in the other step because if you add too much moisture, the batter will fall apart.

Use Semi-Sweet Chocolate 

Semi-sweet chocolate would be a comfortable option for those who do not want their cake to taste really sweet. This type of chocolate would provide you with the balance of flavors you desire in your sweet dessert. The semi-sweet chocolate will provide a more chocolatey taste, but less sweetness, meaning that it will make the cake lighter. 

However, do not expect some big differences in taste. The chocolate might not be the same as in real German chocolate cake, however, there will be no significant differences in flavors. 

Use Bittersweet Chocolate 

Bittersweet chocolate is considered one of the best substitutes for the sweet chocolate used in German chocolate cake mix. This is due to the fact that this type of chocolate provides the balance you need between sweetness and intensity. You will obtain a cake with the same amount of sweet and chocolatey flavors. 

This is the ideal solution for those who want the texture and icing of the actual German chocolate cake, but still do not want it to be very sweet. Therefore, if you are one of those people who cherish the balance of flavors, then it is a good idea to go for bittersweet chocolate in your regular cake mix. You will still get the cake you want, but with slight changes in the chocolate flavors. 

Use Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 

Although using unsweetened cocoa powder might not seem close to the actual chocolate used in German chocolate cake mix, it is a good and efficient substitute. Namely, if you do not have chocolate at your disposal, you can still obtain chocolate flavors using unsweetened chocolate powder. When cocoa powder is combined with butter and sugar, you will achieve the features by which German chocolate cake is characterized. 

Use Carob Powder 

Using carob powder as a substitute in a regular cake mix would be an ideal option for people who are searching for healthier alternatives. 

The carob powder is actually a really sweet ingredient, so you will not have to add any sugar. However, you might want to add a little bit of butter to make the cake batter suitable for baking. 

Use Raw Chocolate 

If you do not have any other type of chocolate at your disposal, you may freely use raw chocolate as a substitute for a German chocolate cake. Raw chocolate will balance well all of the flavors in the cake, i.e. it will make this dessert more chocolatey rather than sweet. For people who do not prefer very sweet desserts, this will be the right substitute. 

Experiment With Different Boxed Cake Mixes

Did you know that you can make German chocolate cake using the regular chocolate cake mix? What is more, you can also use yellow cake batter mix. The thing that makes this chocolate cake different from others is the addition of sugar cream, pecans and coconut. You can easily opt for some regular chocolate cake mix and just make sure you add the same layer of cream that you would for the traditional German chocolate cake.

What Is the Difference Between German Chocolate Cake Mix And Regular Chocolate Cake Mix?

Since you have seen that regular cake mix can be used as a substitute for making German chocolate cake, you might wonder what are the actual differences between these two cake mixtures. 

Namely, there are not many significant differences despite the fact that in German chocolate cake mixture mild-flavored chocolate is the dominant ingredient. On the other hand, regular chocolate cake mix uses milk chocolate which makes the cake stronger in the chocolate flavors.

Whenever you are in no condition to use actual German chocolate cake mix, you can try some substitutes that will be equally beneficial for obtaining German chocolate cake. Even though there might be some slight changes in the flavors, you will still be able to enjoy the kind of dessert you crave at the moment. 

How to Make German Chocolate Cake Mix Better

How to Make German Chocolate Cake Mix Better?

Author: Laura Bais
To make German chocolate cake mix better, try including roasted hazelnuts, instant coffee, and cocoa powder. 
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 348 kcal


  • 1 pack German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup hazelnuts roasted and chopped
  • ½ cup instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees °F. Grease and flour the baking pan.
  • Beat cake mix, water, eggs, oil, cooled instant coffee, and cocoa powder in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, for about 40.
  • Meanwhile, combine sweetened condensed milk, butter, and egg yolk in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened, about 6 minutes.
  • Allow frosting to cool slightly.
  • Spread frosting over warm cake and sprinkle the top of the cake with roasted hazelnuts.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 6gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 340mgPotassium: 495mgFiber: 1gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 2mg
Keyword How to Make German Chocolate Cake Mix Better
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