The Real Reason You Should Add Soda To Your Boxed Cake Mix

We all love to bake special treats from scratch for our family and friends, but sometimes lack of time places a damper on that love. Or, perhaps you just don't keep your pantry stocked with baking ingredients. No oil, no eggs? No problem. Enter the cake baking hack that you can pull off when you are short on time or ingredients. The boxed cake mix and soda baking trick is as easy as they come, and it could become your new best friend the next time you need to whip up some cupcakes for a school bake sale or bring a cake for a potluck.

Before you balk at the idea of using boxed cake mix and soda, we think it is important to point out that even Food Network offers up instructions on how to pull off this hack, and they note it will take just 50 minutes to bake. And per Bon Appetit, these convenient cake mixes, which get a bad rap way too often, have been around since the 1930s, meaning your great grandmother or aunt might have used one at some point.

Soda cuts traditional fat and calories from your cake

Often referred to as simply soda cake, this cake baking hack requires two ingredients: a boxed cake mix and a can of soda. Skip the other ingredients mentioned in the directions on the back of the cake mix box and instead just dump the prepackaged dry cake mix in a bowl, along with a 12-ounce can of soda, and mix. Pour the batter into a pan, pop it into the oven, and bake at the temperature and for the amount of time directed on the box (via HuffPost). 

That's it. Sounds easy enough, right? But, wait, there's another reason you may want to try this hack.

The real motivator that might inspire you to try this hack, even if it is just to say that you did, is this: Using soda with your cake mix can also trim fat from your cake, and if you choose to use a diet soda, it can cut calories too. HuffPost referenced one recipe that combined a super moist white cake mix, with peach mango-flavored carbonated water. This recipe produced a deliciously moist cake that contained just 160 calories per slice, and 3 grams of fat. If this cake had been prepared with the ingredients as the box instructed, the cake would contain 228 calories and 10 grams of fat per slice. Your family and friends won't just be thanking you for the yummy dessert; their waistlines will be saying "thank you" too.

Soda can subtly change your cake's flavor

And if that isn't enough of a reason, adding soda to your boxed cake mix creates lots of cake flavor possibilities. Break out the orange Fanta and vanilla cake mix and you have a creamsicle cake. Add ginger ale to a spice cake mix and you get a ginger spice cake. Let your culinary creativity run wild. Those who have tried this hack say that dark sodas intensify the taste of your cake, while lighter colored sodas like Sprite can add a new flavor component to the cake (via Insider).

Why does this hack work? According to Good Housekeeping, because the ingredients that make the cake rise are actually in the boxed mix, you are only adding the wet ingredients that make your cake moist. And your can of soda pop is perfect for turning the mix into a yummy batter that is ready to bake. Good Housekeeping's test kitchen found that the flavor of the soda is generally only subtly present in the final product. Per Culinary Lore, if you want to add an extra step, you could add some whipped egg whites into your soda and boxed cake mix. This will give your cake a lighter-than-air texture. Sounds heavenly to us.

Other ingredients you can try for two-ingredient cake

Have we talked you out of turning up your nose at this hack? If so, and you like the idea of only adding a single ingredient to your boxed cake mix to achieve dessert nirvana, but don't want that addition to be soda, there are other options that have been tested and proven worthy of your taste buds. Good Housekeeping also found ice cream, sour cream, and mayonnaise to be viable substitutes for the required eggs and oil.

That said, what we love about the soda cake hack almost as much as we love eating it is how much time and money it saves us. Because you get to bypass the oil and eggs, you are actually saving pennies you can spend elsewhere. And not having to break out the measuring cups makes for an easier, and dare we say, almost faster cleanup. That seems like reason enough to try it!