Our Top 5 Picks for Healthier Boxed Cake Mix

By: Julia Westbrook  |  Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You want to celebrate that special occasion with a homemade cake, but time has gotten away from you. Cake mixes are an easy (and fairly foolproof) way to bake a cake, fast. But some mixes are overloaded with sugar and unnecessary additives. To pick the best boxed cake mix, choose a cake mix with the simplest, most recognizable list of ingredients—close to what you'd see in a recipe.
Related: Light & Luscious Cake Recipes
Of course, that can be easier said than done, so here are some general guidelines when it comes to navigating the ingredient list.
  • Avoid mixes made with partially hydrogenated oils, which contain heart-unhealthy trans fats.
  • If you're avoiding certain coloring agents, be aware that some cake mixes contain Red 40, Yellow 5 and caramel color. There's some limited evidence suggesting that these ingredients could be adverse, but they're used in such small quantities they're not likely to impact health.
  • You might see propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, sodium stearoyl lactylate, and mono- and diglycerides, but don't sweat it. They're simply emulsifiers that help improve batter consistency and make cakes softer. There's no evidence that suggests they're harmful.
  • And finally, consider browsing the gluten-free and natural baking sections. Though these cakes aren't healthier by default, some gluten-free and vegan options met our nutrition standards and we liked their flavor and texture just as much.
Numbers to Look For
Amount Per Serving
Calories = 280
Sodium = 350 mg
Sugars = 22 g
Our Picks
King Arthur Flour Deliciously Simple Chocolate & Gluten-Free Chocolate
Hampton Creek's Just Yellow & Just White
Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow & Classic White
Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow
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