Who has time to make a birthday cupcakes from scratch? Parents who don’t realize that boxed cake mix is just as delicious, less messy, and easier from start to finish. Trust us, nobody is going to notice — if you pick the right mix. That’s right, not all store-bought brands are equal. It’s mostly about the quality of the flour within, but some of these mixes have that extra, je ne sais quois. Which is why we did the hard work for you. Here are mixes that will steer you in the right direction.
For the Purist: Miss Jones Baking Co. Organic Vanilla Cake Mix
The mix that started the company’s empire, each box makes eighteen delightfully moist cupcakes. Organic, vegan, dairy-free, and soy-free (though you can add eggs and butter when you bake them instead of vegan swaps), you’ll probably want to pick up an extra box.
For the Gourmand: Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Bouchons
When your child’s palate is more sophisticated than yours, go for this outstanding “cakelet” mix. Next thing you know, they’ll be swapping Disneyland requests for a jaunt to Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley sweets haven, the original Bouchon Bakery.
For the Chocolate-Lover: Miss Jones Baking Co. Organic Chocolate Cake Mix
For the kid who loves chocolate, this organic, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free mix contains no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, artificial colors or flavors. Slather each cupcake with their decadent chocolate buttercream frosting, or your go-to variety.
For the Health Nut: Kodiak Cakes Double Dark Chocolate Muffin Mix
Yes, we know this is a muffin mix, but you’ll hardly notice, and if you’re trying to lower your kids’ sugar intake, this batter is a godsend. Add regular frosting to a batch after cooling, and the birthday party tray table is good to go. With fifteen grams of protein per two muffins, you may want to bake a few extras for a post-gym snack.
For the Gluten-Free Kid: Simple Mills Almond Flour Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix
For the gluten-free kids in your life, they will be happy campers come dessert with this satisfying blend of almond and coconut flours. Their GF banana bread mix is clutch, too.
For the Aesthetically-Minded: Georgetown Cupcake Red Velvet Cupcake Mix
You’ll have a hard time finding a pair of sticky fingers that aren’t antsing for a second round of this dense delight studded with Valrhona chocolate. Don’t skimp on the cream cheese frosting.
For the Kid in Us All: Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
For the youngster who demands funfetti, let there be cake. 24 ROYGBIV-flecked treats are a cinch to make and camera-ready. They’re also super moist and worth every calorie.