The surprising secret to the Pioneer Woman's chocolate cake

It's hard not to love all of the Pioneer Woman's recipes, but her twist on chocolate cake is really something to swoon over. Though cakes can get complicated quickly or heavily rely on difficult techniques, this deliciously chocolatey cake is a thing of simplicity. If you're in a hurry to whip up a decadent dessert to share (or not), Ree Drummond has the the recipe for you (via Food Network). 

The biggest and probably most surprising secret to the Pioneer Woman's chocolate cake is that she uses a store-bought chocolate cake mix. While that makes this recipe so much easier and faster, it's the way she doctors up the mix to really turn it into something special. The first easy tip — after not actually having to start from scratch, of course — that Drummond deploys is simply adding a whole tablespoon of vanilla extract to the batter as she mixes it. This small extra step helps make the boxed cake mix taste completely homemade.

Other tricks the Pioneer Woman uses for chocolate cake

But a heaping helping of vanilla extract isn't the only hack Drummond uses to spruce up her shortcut homemade chocolate cake. To make it even tastier, she adds pops of flavor, texture, and toppings, too. Drummond also adds 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips into the batter. The chocolate chips add warm little pockets of melted chocolate to the final product, as well as add a bit of a crunch when cooled.

The last two secrets of Drummond's chocolate cake focus on the toppings. The first is a two-ingredient chocolate ganache that's so easy to mix together. All it takes is 1/2 cup of hot cream poured over  3/4 cup of chocolate chips. Mix the two together until it's a smooth, silky chocolate ganache and quickly pour it over the cake — beware, it will thicken up pretty fast. Finally, top the ganache with sprinkles or chopped nuts to dress it up and add even more crunch. 

These easy tips and added ingredients not only make it an incredibly easy dessert but one that's perfectly suited to your preferences.