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Whether it’s because you’ve run out of flour or you’ve run out of time, sometimes a box of cake mix is just the thing you need to save the day. But have you seen the baking aisle at the grocery store lately? The shelves are groaning with cake mixes in a wide array of brands and varieties. To cut through the clutter, we baked our way through all the ones we found (yes, all) to determine which one deserves a place on your cake platter.
How We Tested the Chocolate Cake Mixes
Most boxed chocolate cake mixes fall into one of two categories: traditionally moist and fluffy, or fudgy. So we scored those two categories separately. We also baked up all the gluten-free brands we could find and easily zeroed in on a winner.
We judged each cake first and foremost on the chocolate flavor. It had to really taste chocolatey, not just look chocolatey. Many brands and varieties came up short in this department, no matter how over-the-top the name sounded, or how luscious the cover photo looked. We also evaluated for crumb. The cake had to be tender and moist rather than dry and stiff. Super oily was a “no” as well. If we detected any weird chemical aftertaste, it was out.
Many, many bites of cake later, here are the mixes that rose to the top.
The Best Classic Chocolate Cake Mix: Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge
Based on the name alone you might think this cake would be chocolate overload. Instead, it’s just right. Most of the chocolate cake mixes we tried were either lackluster in flavor or had unappealing chemical notes. Some were overly oily. This cake mix tasted very close to homemade, with a soft, tender, fluffy texture, and straight-up classic flavor.
Buy: Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge, $1.49 at Target
The Best Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix: Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
This cake mix isn’t messing around. Dark, fudgy, and moist, it had the richest chocolate flavor of any of the mixes we tried. This is the boxed mix you want when you crave the deep richness of devil’s food cake but don’t want to make it from scratch.
Buy: Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix, $3.08 at Walmart
The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix: King Arthur Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
What’s your go-to chocolate cake mix?