Boxed Chocolate Cake Mixes Ranked Worst To Best

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As great as it sounds to have freshly baked chocolate cake from scratch available to enjoy all the time, for many, it's simply not feasible. Unless you're an avid baker, throwing together a delicious chocolate cake in minutes can be quite the task. For novices, getting that perfectly moist texture with the most beautiful, airy crumb and great flavor is definitely a challenge.

Luckily, countless brands have taken it upon themselves to offer a quicker solution, boxing up cake mix and selling a huge variety of options on grocery store shelves. There's no shame in grabbing a boxed cake mix, especially if it allows you to bake a cake quicker and better than what your skillset may allow.

But with so many options for chocolate cake mix out there, where's a home baker to start? We decided to do the legwork (and eating) for you. From the wildly decadent chocolate cakes to those that fall a little flat, these are some of the most popular chocolate cake mixes on the market today, all ranked from worst to best.

13. Betty Crocker Super Moist German Chocolate Cake

If you want a chocolate cake that doesn't even really taste like chocolate, then this is the mix for you. And of course, since we're ranking these worst to best, based on flavor and texture, this German Chocolate cake mix is earning the top worst spot.

But that doesn't mean that German Chocolate Cake itself has less flavor than other cakes. German chocolate is typically a mild dark chocolate that's on the sweeter side, but it's still usually packed with flavor. This cake mix is the opposite of full of flavor. From the beginning, the mix is incredibly pale in color, developing into a light batter once the eggs, oil, and water are mixed in.

After baking, a light-colored cake comes out of the oven, and truly, it's just underwhelming. Certainly, the texture is wonderfully moist and fluffy, which is lovely. But, without the final cake even really tasting like chocolate, it hardly deserves any other spot on this list.

12. Kroger Simple Truth Organic Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

It's pretty difficult not to mark this chocolate cake mix as the absolute worst. But, given the fact it's gluten-free and it's trying, it wouldn't be fair to totally knock it. That being said, this is only worth it if you actually have to be on a gluten-free diet and you're literally required to only consume chocolate cake without gluten.

Pouring the mix into a mixing bowl, it has the strangest smell. The mix is a super fine, gritty powder that creates a just-as-gritty batter. And the batter only has a hint of chocolate flavor, with surprising notes of raspberry coming through as well.

When it's baked, it's as dry as can be, even with the eggs and oil used to add moisture. The finished cake crumbles in your hand or once sliced with a knife, carrying on the terrible texture observed in the batter. It's a decent flavor but not overly chocolatey. And really, the flavor certainly isn't good enough to make up for the texture. For those without any dietary issues who can eat whatever they want, this is your warning. Do yourself a favor and just skip this option.

11. Krusteaz Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free baked goods really do get a bad rap sometimes. And this is one of those products, unfortunately. Certainly, it tries, but in the end, it just misses the mark in offering up a delicious cake experience.

The cake uses whole grain sorghum flour and rice flour as its replacement for traditional flour. Once you open the bag, you add two eggs, a cup and a half of milk, and a whole cup of oil to the mix. Considering cake mixes typically call for half a cup of oil, this mix is really relying on the oil, rather than the eggs, to add moisture, and that might be its biggest downfall.

The final baked product definitely has a good chocolate flavor, if you can get past the flavor of the oil coming through. The texture is moist thanks to all of that oil, but once you put a fork to it, the cake crumbles immediately. It could definitely be a gluten-free chocolate cake mix to grab if you're in a pinch, but overall, it's tough to get over the fact that you're adding in one whole cup of oil (or more than 1,900 calories and over 200 grams of fat) to a cake.

10. Walmart Great Value Devil's Food Cake

Walmart comes through with another perfectly workable Great Value product with this Devil's Food flavor. But if you're able and willing to put a few extra pennies toward another brand, it's worth it.

The cake certainly offers up a great texture once baked. It's moist and fluffy, offering an overall nice consistency when you take a bite. It's perfectly smooth with a lovely crumb. But this cake is definitely one that needs a bit of frosting to help its flavor along.

Certainly, you get a bit of chocolate coming through, but overall, it falls a bit flat on the chocolate flavor spectrum. And with cocoa, along with natural and artificial flavors on the label, it does make you wonder what's flavoring this mix and why the chocolate isn't shining through. Considering you can pick this box of mix up for under one dollar at most Walmarts, it definitely can curb a chocolate cake craving in a pinch. But if you're looking for great flavor, consider splurging just a bit more.

9. Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil's Food Cake

If you grew up eating Pillsbury Funfetti cakes or cupcakes for every birthday, then Pillsbury is probably one of your favorite go-tos when it comes to cake mixes. And the brand certainly makes a variety of mix options, each offering up a decent finished cake in their own right. But when it comes to Devil's Food, it definitely isn't high on the list of Pillsbury counterparts or in comparison to other brands. 

The mix tricks you right out of the box, as it has the most wonderful smell coming out of the bag. It alludes to a deliciously deep-flavored chocolate cake. But in the end, it all falls flat.

Once baked, the super fluffy and smooth batter turns into the most delightful texture. With an incredibly light crumb, the texture is truly beautiful. But the flavor doesn't do this mix any justice. For being Devil's Food, there's barely any chocolate flavor, and that's definitely not something you can just give up on when it comes to finding the best chocolate cake mix.

8. Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake

It seems like something is just missing from chocolate cake mixes that claim to be devil's food. And this boxed mix is no different. Right off the bat, you get the scent of artificial chocolate when you open the bag. And that's not our imagination. The mix does contain artificial flavor along with cocoa, but it's also surprising to see carob powder listed on the label. Perhaps the mixture of the three, rather than just good old-fashioned cocoa powder, is what seems concerning in this mix.

Moving into the mixture, once you add your eggs, oil, and water, the batter seems super dark and rich. Unfortunately, that's not the same cake that pops out of the oven when all is said and done. Sure, the cake is moist and fluffy thanks to those eggs, but the chocolate flavor is barely there. It's almost as if that all that water completely watered down the flavor of the mix along the way.

7. Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake

Betty Crocker comes in with a solid choice with this Triple Chocolate Fudge option, but we're not really sure it deserves that name.

From the beginning of mixing the batter, this mixture seems a bit off with how much water is added. Typically, cake mixes add half cup of water, but this mixture calls for one and a quarter cups water, along with three eggs and half a cup of oil. Adding so much liquid into the mixture creates a super light and thin batter, which leads to a bit of skepticism as you're putting this cake in the oven. But with surprise mini chocolate chips in the mix and fantastic aromas of cocoa, there's still hope for it to come out perfectly delicious.

Luckily, it will turn out pretty good. The flavor of this cake is truly a nice chocolate and is paired with an incredibly moist texture. But if you're going into this thinking you're getting triple the chocolate fudge, wouldn't you think that means triple the flavor? It's a great chocolate cake mix, but it certainly doesn't pack enough of a punch to live up to its name.

6. King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

It's not hard to admit that those who need to eat a gluten-free diet truly don't have it easy. Sometimes, a gluten-free diet may be a choice just because of how gluten in certain foods like bread or cake makes a person feel. For those with celiac disease, it's a necessity because the protein that's found in grains such as rye, wheat, and barely can cause issues with nutritional absorption that can sometimes be severe.

Because most cakes utilize flour, a delicious chocolate cake might be out of the picture. But not with this mix!

King Arthur has come up with a great mix for those who require a gluten-free diet, utilizing rice flour and tapioca starch. The final baked product offers a great texture, just like a rich, moist chocolate cake. And that's probably all thanks to the four eggs called for on the box. We do wish there was a hint more chocolate flavor to really drive this option home, but overall, it's a great choice for those who need gluten-free, or even those who don't.

5. Pillsbury Moist Supreme Chocolate Cake

If you're going to choose a simple chocolate cake mix from the many options on the grocery store shelf, this mix might just be as basic as it gets. There aren't any grandiose labeling notes like "triple chocolate fudge" or "double fudge." It doesn't claim to be anything it's not. It's just that cute little Pillsbury Doughboy and a chocolate cake. 

And that's what you get with this mix. Once you add in the water, oil, and three eggs as the box calls for, you end up with a supremely moist cake. It's rich, light, and fluffy — all characteristics a good chocolate cake should have. And the flavor doesn't miss the mark either. With this mix, you're not expecting any too over the top. You're just expecting a nice, balanced chocolate cake that can be paired with a delicious frosting, and the Doughboy certainly delivers on that.

4. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cake

This is definitely a solid choice if you're hoping to whip up a chocolate cake to impress all of your friends. They don't need to know it was from a box mix, right? Once you dress it up and present it to those you're sharing it with, you won't even care it was a dollar more than the other options on the shelf.

This mix smells like chocolate heaven right out of the bag. Once the fine powder is poured into a bowl and paired with two eggs, oil, and water, the texture seems a bit gritty. But with this mix, it's all about having faith. It comes out to bake the loveliest chocolate cake that is totally moist, gooey, and presents a perfectly fluffy crumb. The flavor is incredible, but given the name "double chocolate," we do wish the flavor were a bit stronger. The surprise chocolate chips in the mix certainly help to up the chocolate ante, but it's not as incredibly chocolatey as the words "double chocolate" on the box allude to.

And if you're baking a larger cake, serving it up to those aforementioned friends, you'll probably need more than one box. One box of this mix will produce a beautiful nine-inch square or round cake, but if you're looking for multiple layers, you should definitely buy additional boxes.

3. Open Nature Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This just might be the most surprising box of cake mix on the market. Gluten-free baking is an incredibly tricky skill, and it's even more difficult to do it well. But this mix pulls it off flawlessly.

From the moment the bag is opened, truth be told, the chocolate cake mix has a bit of a funky smell to it, but it's not too off-putting. Putting together this cake mix is a bit different than the process you'd expect from its typical counterparts that call for eggs and oil. For this mix, water and eggs are utilized to add moisture, but butter is brought into the picture instead of oil. Whipping the mix with softened butter, water, and eggs creates a super dark, thick mixture that resembles brownie batter more than it does cake mix. But just wait for it. Everything that seems off when putting together a cake from this mix all comes out perfectly in the end.

The finished cake is the most incredibly moist treat. And we're not just saying that for it's moist for a gluten-free cake. It's just moist ... period. It's moist, fluffy, gooey, and has the most delightful crumb. Considering it's gluten-free, it's ridiculously impressive, and we couldn't be more pleased.

2. Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake

This is definitely another mix that just might surprise you if you let it. The mix comes out of the bag super clumpy, so from the get-go, you might be a bit worried. And it smells artificial, but honestly, it's kind of artificial in a good way.

Assessing the color of the mix, it's super light, which definitely presents the question of how chocolatey it really might be. It's certainly not that deep, rich chocolate cake color like you would imagine devil's food to be. Once the eggs, water, and oil are mixed in, the batter is super airy and fluffy. You can just tell the texture is going to be perfectly smooth once it's popped into the oven.

After baking, this cake comes out of the oven with the most perfect crumb. Seriously, the texture is spot on. It's slightly gooey and deliciously moist. If you wanted, you could even skip the frosting here. Though, we're not sure why you'd ever want to do that. Overall, the cake is delicious with a good, rounded-out chocolate flavor. For devil's food, it's not as jam-packed with rich chocolate flavor as one might expect, but it's still so incredibly good.

1. Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake

Get ready to be introduced to what might just become your new favorite cake mix. This mix, just like other Ghirardelli brand options, is available at a slightly higher price point than brands such as Pillsbury, Duncan Hines, and Betty Crocker, but it's absolutely worth it. Wouldn't you want to pay an extra dollar for a whole cake if you knew it would rock your world?

From the get-go, the smell of this mixture is absolutely unbelievable. Pouring it out of the bag into a bowl is an experience itself with its deep, delicious chocolate aromas. And just like with the Ghiradelli's Double Chocolate version, you'll be delighted to find those wonderful surprise chocolate chips in the mix.

Adding in water, oil, and only two eggs results in the most beautiful rich and flavorful batter. So, you can tell right away that this cake is going to be a good one. And pulling it out of the oven, it doesn't disappoint. It's not a bitter, dark chocolate flavor. Instead, it's a deep, dark flavor with such an incredible chocolate punch in every bite. Paired with a deliciously moist texture, it's just about perfect in every way.