Doctored Up Chocolate Cake Mix

This is hands down our favorite doctored up chocolate cake mix recipe!! Doesn’t use pudding or coffee which is great. Always get tons of compliments on it!

Ta da!!

You didn’t think we would leave you hanging did you?

When we posted this recipe for a doctored up white cake mix a few weeks ago, we got questions about how to doctor up a chocolate cake mix.

So we’re sharing how you can do that!

The big thing for me when coming up with this recipe was I didn’t want to use pudding mix or coffee as elements to doctor up the cake mix.


There are already a lot of doctored up cake recipes out there that use those things. Plus, a common thing I saw people asking was “What can I use in place of the pudding/coffee?” So we’re bringing you a recipe that doesn’t use those items.

The above image compares 2 pieces of cake – the one on the left is a chocolate cake mix, following the directions on the back of the box and the one on the right is our doctored up chocolate cake mix.

You can see that the left one is pretty airy compared to the right one. The doctored up version is incredibly moist and it’s more dense, like a homemade cake would be. The doctored up one also has a deeper chocolate flavor.

I prefer to use Duncan Hines cake mix (and I’ve heard other bloggers say the same) because they have great balance between flavor and moistness, plus Wilton recommends that brand and I trust those cake people!

This recipe is perfect for all of us who like the ease of a box mix, but maybe want to jazz it up a bit and have more of a homemade taste. Plus, I feel that this doctored up version of a chocolate cake comes together just as quick as the box mix because you can still put everything into ONE bowl and beat it together.

For this recipe you’ll want to use a 15.25 oz box of cake white mix. I know some boxes out there are 18.25 oz, so be sure you’re getting the right size.

And what’s a chocolate cake without chocolate frosting and chocolate curls?!

Want to know my secret for making chocolate curls?

Get a hershey’s bar and use a vegetable peeler to make curls, it’s so simple!

For a step-by-step of how to make this doctored up chocolate cake recipe, watch this short video:

Doctored Up Chocolate Cake Mix

Yield: 9x13 inch cake

Total Time: 1 hour

This is hands down our favorite doctored up chocolate cake mix recipe!! Doesn’t use pudding or coffee which is great. Always get tons of compliments on it!


  • 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix, 15.25 oz
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (can be replaced with butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • dash of milk or heavy cream if frosting becomes too thick


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, devil’s food cake mix, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder, beat with an electric mixer until combined, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and cocoa powder, gently mix by hand with a spatula. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, mixing by hand. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting no longer looks wet and tastes good to you. Then I use my electric mixer one last time to make sure the powdered sugar is really incorporated and ready to go. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk or heavy cream.
  2. Spread on top of the cooled cake, add chocolate curls if desired.