I Tried 21 Different Boxes of Chocolate Cake Mix — Here Are the 3 I’m Buying from Now On

updated Feb 10, 2023
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Various chocolate cakes on table.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Whether it’s because you’ve run out of flour or you’ve run out of time or you just want an easy bake, a box of cake mix can really save the day. But have you seen the baking aisle at the grocery store lately? The shelves are groaning with boxed cake mixes from a ton of brands. So, to cut through the clutter, we baked our way through all the ones we found (read: 21 different boxes!) to determine which one deserves a place on your cake platter.

How We Tested the Chocolate Cake Mixes

Many 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 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, and if we detected any weird chemical aftertaste, it was a hard pass. 

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, but it’s just right. Most of the chocolate cake mixes we tested were either lacking in chocolate 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.

The Best Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix: Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix

Ghiradelli’s cake mix isn’t messing around. Dark, fudgy, and moist, it had the richest chocolate flavor of all 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. 

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix: King Arthur Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix

You’d never know this melt-in-your-mouth cake mix was gluten-free. The texture is luscious, and its deep fudgy flavor was definitely the most decadent of the bunch. It would please anyone (even the gluten-tolerant!). If you can’t find it, the next best option is Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Gluten-Free cake mix. It’s actually quite close in flavor to the brand’s winning Triple Chocolate Fudge cake, just a bit more dense.

What’s your go-to chocolate cake mix? Let us know in the comments below!