The Store-Bought Frosting Hack That Will Give You A Burst Of Flavor

Store-bought frosting: Some home bakers rely on it, while others would rather avoid it completely. It can be a great addition to cakes of all kinds (or a tasty treat to lick off a spoon), but some store-bought frostings just come across as sugary (and not much else) to discerning frosting connoisseurs. But if you'd rather buy store-bought frosting than make a homemade version (or you're running out of time and store-bought frosting is all you have), there are ways to make it a more flavorful standout.

According to Insider, one frosting hack in particular requires nothing more than an ingredient that you probably already have in your kitchen. You may not think to add it to store-bought frosting, but it'll bring out the flavors of any frosting you buy (per Cake Decorist). Once you try this trick, you may never see that little frosting container the same way again.

How to amplify store-bought frosting with one simple ingredient

It only takes one ingredient to change a dish (or in this case, a baked good) completely. So, what's the mystery ingredient that takes frosting to the next level and adds more layers of flavor than you'll find in the cake itself? Vanilla extract.

When you're ready to frost a cake, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to store-bought frosting first. And be sure to stir it into the frosting as thoroughly as possible (per Insider). While you might think vanilla extract should be reserved for vanilla frosting, this multipurpose extract will bring out the best notes of any frosting flavor (per Lifestyle of a Foodie). 

The power of the one-ingredient flavor booster is clear. The next time you're looking to add flavor — besides "pure sugar" — to store-bought frosting, add just a little bit of vanilla extract. (A little extract goes a long way.)

Other ways to bring out the flavors in store-bought frosting

Adding vanilla extract can boost the flavor profile of any type of store-bought frosting, but it's not the only way to make the flavors pop. There are plenty of other additions you can add to store-bought frosting, but most are contingent on the frosting already having certain flavors. Although these ingredients may not be as versatile as vanilla extract, they're still commonly found in kitchens everywhere, and they're worth using.

Instead of using vanilla extract, you can use any extract (such as peppermint, almond, or lemon) that complements the flavor of the cake (per Insider). For a flavor boost to chocolate frosting, try adding espresso or coffee — especially if you love that rich "coffee shop" scent or flavor in all of your favorite baked goods. 

If you prefer a boozy twist for an adults-only dessert, add bourbon, Kahlua, or Grand Marnier (per Southern Living). Just a couple of tablespoons will do the trick, so you don't have to go overboard on any of these flavorful frosting additions. Once you try vanilla extract — or any other extract, coffee, or liqueur — in store-bought frosting, you'll find yourself racing to the baking aisle every time you need a quick, flavorful cake frosting.