Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

In my efforts to eat a less processed diet, I’ve eliminated cake mixes from the lineup. It’s been painful, I can’t lie. There’s something about the no-fail moistness of a boxed mix that is appealing, but I’ve promised myself not to give in although it’s been hard. We’ve been through our fair share of dry homemade cakes as I’ve searched for the perfect replacements for the old boxed mixes.

You can imagine I was overjoyed when I saw this recipe for a make-ahead yellow cake mix! Not only is it  a snap to prepare, but it keeps in the freezer for up to 2 months. Along with that – it tastes fabulous. Buttery, moist and absolutely delicious.

I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow what I made with this delectable mix. So in the meantime, whip some up. Talk about feeling like a complete Becky-Home-Ecky, this cake mix made me happy that I’ve stuck to my guns about giving up the old kind. It is a hundred times more delicious and that’s a fact.

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

P.S. I can’t wait to use this mix for the gazillion recipes I have that call for sprinkling a dry cake mix over this or that to create cobblers and crisps, etc. In fact, I’ll share with you a secret for one of my most favorite peach cobblers of all time. Here it is (and please ignore the fact that I’ve just gone off on a tangent about giving up processed cake mixes since this dessert is far from organic or healthy): lightly spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Layer peaches (canned or fresh) on the bottom of the 9X13 pan close together in a single layer. Sprinkle a yellow cake mix over the top of the peaches. Dot the top of the cake mix with one stick of butter. Open up a can of Fresca (I imagine Sprite or 7-Up would work equally well), drink half and pour the other half over the top of the cake mix and butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Relish in the fact that you are eating vitamin-laden fruit and zero-calorie soda, therefore constituting a healthy dessert. Peace out.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
Two Years Ago: Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

Yield: Makes enough for two 9-inch layer cakes (bake according to recipe), or one 9X13-inch cake (bake for 30 to 35 minutes), or one 12-cup bundt pan (bake for 40 to 45 minutes), or 24 cupcakes (bake for 18 to 20 minutes)

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

Note: the recipe calls for cake flour, which I never have on hand so I substituted 2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and 3 tablespoons cornstarch for the three cups of flour called for in the recipe. It worked beautifully.


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Process sugar, flours (or flour and cornstarch if making the substitution for the cake flour), milk powder, baking powder, and salt in a food processor for 15 seconds to combine. Add butter and vanilla and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you want this much finer than, say, a pie crust). Freeze the dry mixture in a zipper-lock bag for up to 2 months or use immediately.
  2. To make the cake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pan of choice (see the note above the recipe).
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the prepared cake mix, 1 1/4 cups warm water and 2 large room-temperature eggs until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-27 minutes for two 9-inch layer cakes. See the note above the recipe for alternate cooking times with other baking pans. Cool the cake(s) in pan(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country April/May 2010

170 Responses to Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

  1. Maureen says:

    Just made this recipe….turned great and did not have any problems

  2. roxy says:

    Mel, how much cake mix will render just one 9 inch round cake?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Roxy – I’m not sure since I’ve always made it according to the directions but if I had to guess it would be half of the prepared cake mix, one egg and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water.

  3. Dee says:

    Can anyone privide different flavor options you have had success with….maybe strawberry or a lemon? Great idea, definitely!

    • Jillian says:

      I made this with purred strawberries as the liquid instead of water. Just mixed the eggs into the strawberry purée and baked as usual. It was delicious!! Put strawberries and whip cream in the middle and frosted with whip cream. Fab.u.lous.

  4. Sara says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I halfed the recipe and added vanilla pudding mix. I added more water to to account for the extra dry ingredient. It is currently in the oven, so I am hoping for good results. It smells great though!!! Thanks again.

  5. rose says:

    Hi Mel: i have a question here..it’s just the two of us. Instead of using 9×13, I use 8×8 square glass pan. I have been using Trader Joe’s vanilla baking mix, which weighs 1 lb, which calls for 8×8. I want to use this recipe instead of store bought if i can figure out the pan size. Thanks for your response…

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rose – you’d have to experiment a bit but if you used half of the cake mix with 3/4 cup water and 1 egg, that might fit into an 8X8-inch pan. Good luck!

  6. rose says:

    thank you for your response. i did find another query with similar question. should have carefully browse through it…i will let you know how it turns out. Simply can’t wait. Rose

  7. Bessie Fielding says:

    Hi Mel, I have just. Come across your homemade vanilla cake mix, please can you clarify if the cake mix is the same quantity as 1 box of shop bought?

  8. Mercy says:

    Mel-My best friend has been trying to get me to make cakes from scratch for years. Finally I found your recipe and decided to give it a go. OMG…what a great recipe. It is just the right consistency and tastes OH SO GOOD!! I’ve now used this recipe at least five times in one month..making cakes for two kids birthdays along the way. Thank you so much for your advice and all of the reviews from others who have dared to leave the world of “boxed cakes”!! Your recipe has made me a Believer!! Thank you!!! 🙂

  9. vera says:

    I made a fresh apple dump cake using a yellow cake mix and it was so sweet we could not eat it. I used Stevia in the apples, cinnamon, apple cider & nutmeg that was in the bottom of pan, sprinkled dry boxed cake mix on top, and poured butter over it. I couldnt get pass the sweet sweet cake mix to even taste the bottom portion with the apples. I gave it to the boys next door. So I went looking for a box alternative and found your site. Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe as I am afraid it will turn out like the box mix, just too sweet. We just dont like a sweet sweet cake, I know that is a little odd, but what can I say.

    • Mel says:

      Vera – you can definitely play around with the sugar content. I’ve only made it as the recipe is written so I can’t tell you how it would work out but I’m sure it can be tweaked. For what it’s worth, I think this homemade version is a tad less sweet than boxed versions already.

  10. Shannice says:

    can I use this mix and still follow the directions on a standard yellow box mix?
    Example: 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, 1 1/4 cup water?

    please let me know, I’m so confuse…

    • Mel says:

      Shannice – I’ve only ever made this with the prepared cake mix, 1 1/4 cups warm water and 2 large room-temperature eggs like the instructions call for. It will be different than the ingredients on a boxed mix. Good luck!

  11. Shannice says:

    Hi, sorry again… quick question
    if i want to make 6 cupcakes (which is less than half of the cake mix) do i use one egg or skip the egg?

    • Mel says:

      Shannice – You will have to experiment. I’ve never converted the recipe to make just six cupcakes. I wouldn’t skip the egg altogether though. Another option is to make the full recipe and freeze the extra cupcakes for later. Good luck!

  12. Bessie Fielding says:

    Hi Mel,
    I would like to make a chocolate cake with your cake mix, what ratio of cocoa powder and liquid would I use.
    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, your fluffy wholemeal rolls are to die for, I now make my bread 100% wholemeal.

    • Mel says:

      Bessie – I haven’t converted this to a chocolate cake mix. It is probably more involved than just adding cocoa powder. I don’t want to steer you wrong so you might need to google to find a homemade chocolate cake mix recipe. Sorry I am not more help!

  13. Bessie Fielding says:

    Do you have a never fail chocolate cake recipe for me to try.
    Many thanks.

  14. Bessie Fielding says:

    Thanks Mel, will definitely give this a go.

  15. […] homemade cake mix is adapted from this recipe which she found here.  I’m in no way claiming this as ‘mine’ mine.  I just use the word my here as […]

  16. Bessie Fielding says:

    Hi Mel, I have been looking (with no success) for one of your cake recipes using the homemade yellow cake mix.
    Please can you let me have the names of a few of your recipes.

  17. johnson says:

    Hi mel I to like to make as many things from scratch as I do not like processed foods nor high fructose corn syrup. I am throwing a friend a baby shower and need to make a cake for roughly 50 or more I want to use your recipe to do it. I’m using a sheet cake pan I believe the dimensions are 11× something .
    How many cups of batter do you think I would need for the sheet pan. I’m going to layer the cake by maybe 3 layers

  18. Jillian says:

    Made this as is and loved it. Made more to freeze and left it in the freezer for a year!! Still tasted great. I also made a strawberry version by using puréed strawberries as the liquid instead of water. So yummy.

  19. Wendy says:

    Mel, I want to use this instead of a boxed yellow cake mix but so many (Pillsbury) say they “already have pudding in the mix” so how would I adjust this recipe? I actually want to make a Kahlua Vodka cake but it calls for boxed mix with pudding already in it (plus additional pudding). Your thoughts?

    • Mel says:

      Wendy – You could try adding boxed pudding to the mix but I haven’t tried it. It if it were me, I would just make it as-is and add the pudding called for in the Kahlua Vodka cake. Good luck!

  20. Will Marrow says:

    This is the best vanilla cake recipe ever! I use this for everything. I also add an extra 1/4 cup of water. It was by accident at first, but it seems to be a little more fluffy. The only thing I don’t like about this recipe is the use othe food processor… I hate washing all of the parts. I make this recipe in my 6 quart kitchen aid mixer. I add the dry ingredients to the bowl and Mix with the paddle until combined. Add the butter until it is a crumby consistency. While the mixer is running, I slowly add half of the water. Mix that until smooth. Then again with the mixer running, I add my eggs, vanilla, and remaining water. Then I mix it for 1 minute on med-high speed until it’s fluffy and light.

    I hope that helps some of you that don’t have a food processer!

  21. Wendy says:

    The cake mix sounds wonderful and just what I have been looking for as I don’t want to use boxed mixes. Can I substitute oil for butter? I would decrease some of the liquid ( I need to look up the amount). I am also trying to get away from butter also.

  22. Devorah says:

    What do you think about using soy milk in place of the milk in this recipe?

  23. Elwin says:

    Bad idea with the Fresca. If it’s got Aspartame in it, Aspartame and heat together is not a good idea. It’s why you don’t see any commercial baked goods which use Aspartame as a sweetener. Heat makes Aspartame break down and what it breaks down into is even less healthy than aspartame by itself.

  24. Sharon says:

    Ive made this cake recipe a few times and I love it!!! I wanted to use this recipe for cupcakes, which i see is possible from the comments at the beginning of the recipe. However, I want to make chocolate cupcakes. How much cocoa powder should I use in this recipe? Or do you recommend that I use one of your chocolate cupcake recipes instead? Thanks a bunch!!

  25. Rhonda says:

    Hi! My recipe calls for box cake mix, 18.25 oz. golden butter cake mix. Then I have to add 1/2 cup of butter, 4 eggs and 2/3 c. water. If I use this dry mix recipe, would it be too much butter since this recipe already has 1/2 c. butter in it?

    Thank you.


    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure since I haven’t tried a variation/conversion like that but I probably wouldn’t add extra butter and would instead make this homemade cake mix according to the instructions in the recipe since I’m not sure how it will work out using other ingredients/variations.

  26. Cristi says:

    Hi. Any idea how it would turn out with whole wheat flour? Denser I assume. Any idea how to keep it light and fluffy? Just asking since we want to make this tonight and only have whole wheat flour on hand.

  27. Krisen O. says:

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to let you know that we LOVE this recipe. My daughter has some major food allergies and I have been able to make her cakes using your recipe. I have to leave out the eggs; but I just substitute with 1/2 c of plain applesauce and it works like a charm. Everyone always asks for the recipe so I send them the link to your web site. Thanks again,

  28. monica says:

    I never have powdered milk in my kitchen, hard to get in my area, would substuiting 1/2c of whole dairy milk for some of the warm water; when actually making the cake turn out alright? or would it have a neg effect on the cake texture? thank you

    • Mel says:

      Not sure – I haven’t tried using liquid, dairy milk in place of the powdered. Good luck if you experiment.

    • Kristen O. says:

      I never have the powdered milk either. I usually add 1/4C of milk and test the consistency. If it looks like it is still too thick, I add a little more. But I live in Florida where it is really humid so it depends on the day.

  29. Dalia says:

    Thanks Mel! This is exactly what I was looking for! I knew you’d have it on your awesome site! I have a quick question though. When you say ‘chilled butter’ do you mean straight out of the fridge?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *