DIY: Homemade Yellow Cake Batter Mix

It has probably been five years since I’ve used box cake mixes with any sort of regularity. Back in the day, I would bake one up in a 9×13-inch pan and then proceed to slather a can of chocolate frosting over the top. I think I’ve made some serious kitchen strides since those days, but leave it to all of those popular “cake batter” recipes to keep me tethered to cake mixes. Between cake batter ice cream, fudge, pancakes, and the zillion other recipe variations, not to mention all of the dump cake recipes that I keep seeing, I can’t seem to escape cake mixes. I haven’t made many of those recipes, mostly because I have really made a conscious effort over the last couple of years to eliminate a large majority of overly processed products from my kitchen. Anything that I can make homemade, I do. That includes cake, of course, but what about all of those recipes that call for cake mix, straight from the box? I was left in a quandary, until I happened upon this recipe. Leave it to the people at America’s Test Kitchens to come up with the answer. This quick, homemade mix is the perfect solution!

This mix takes literally minutes to throw together, and you can keep it in a zip-top bag in your freezer for up to 2 months. I am totally thrilled at the idea of never having to skip past a recipe because it calls for cake mix.

My plan is to use this mixture anytime a recipe calls for dry cake mix. If you’re interested in using the mix to bake a cake, be sure to check out the link in the note below for instructions.

Look out cake batter recipes, here I come!

One year ago: Garden Zucchini Pizza Casserole
Three years ago: Polenta Pizza

DIY: Homemade Yellow Cake Batter Mix

Yield: 5 cups cake mix

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cake flour
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in ½-inch cubes and cold
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sugar, both flours, milk powder, baking powder and salt. Process for 15 seconds. Add the pieces of butter and lightly toss with a fork so they are coated with the flour mixture. Sprinkle the vanilla over the top. Pulse until the mixture is fine and crumbly, about 10 one-second pulses. Use immediately or store in an airtight bag or container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Note: For instructions on how to make an actual cake with this mix, please visit Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Country; originally seen on Pennies on a Platter)

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88 Responses to “DIY: Homemade Yellow Cake Batter Mix”

  1. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective on August 28, 2012 at 12:11 am

    What an amazing idea! So many fantastic creations come from yellow cake mix. :)

    Reply

  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on August 28, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Awesome recreation! I love yellow cake mix. Ironically I just posted a from-scratch cake because I’m trying to use less cake mix – so loving this scratch version of cake mix. Dry milk powder and cake flour – nice!

    Reply

  3. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on August 28, 2012 at 12:51 am

    SO awesome! I was always wondering about trying to make my own for all those cake batter recipes I see floating around out there.

    Reply

  4. Maria Vivian on August 28, 2012 at 3:37 am

    What can I substitute for the milk powder? I am lactose-intolerant.
    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 27th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Maria, I have heard of soy milk powder and rice milk powder. If you can find them, both would be a good substitute.

      Reply

      • Maria Vivian on September 27th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

        Thanks. I’ll try looking for those. Hope it comes out the same.

        Reply

  5. Seima Bakes on August 28, 2012 at 4:08 am

    This is great! In my place its hard to get a good cake mix,despite the fact that I don’t like to use cake mix,making one myself would be a fun change! This would definitely help to make baking a lot quicker in my home. Thanks!

    Reply

  6. Carole @ The Sweet Chick on August 28, 2012 at 6:35 am

    This is perfect. Thanks.

    Reply

  7. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on August 28, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Such a great idea!

    Reply

  8. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on August 28, 2012 at 6:38 am

    What what a fantastic idea! I love this!! Great idea, especially when you need an emergency cake and you don’t have time to go to the store to get the boxed stuff!!!

    Reply

  9. shelly (cookies and cups) on August 28, 2012 at 6:52 am

    This is so awesome! I am totally going to try this!

    Reply

  10. Blog is the New Black on August 28, 2012 at 7:28 am

    GREAT post!

    Reply

  11. Deauna on August 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for this post! I don’t like using boxed cake mixes either so I usually pass up all recipes calling for it. Now I don’t have to do that anymore.

    Reply

  12. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on August 28, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Love this idea!

    Reply

  13. Jill on August 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Ooooh, I love this! What a great idea!

    Reply

  14. Cate on August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I’m so happy you posted this! I haven’t bought a mix in years because of all the additives. This is great to keep on hand!

    Reply

  15. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on August 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

    This is the best thing ever! I love the idea of having this on-hand and ready to use. I’ll be making this tonight!

    Reply

  16. Gail on August 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Call me dense; maybe I skimmed the blog too quickly; but why not just make a cake from scratch, unless this is something you want to make ahead of time? It’s a pretty cool idea, but I can’t get the advantage of it . . . if I’m going to use it right away, why not just pull out the favorite “cake from scratch” recipe? I’m not being sassy or nasty, just dense . . . :-)

    I also don’t own a food processor–would a good stand mixer work if I did try it?

    Reply

    • Virginia on August 29th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      The purpose of the recipe is not to make straight yellow cakes with the mix. Instead, this is for recipes that use “yellow box cake mix” as an ingredient–like cake mix cookies, cake batter flavored ice cream, dessert bars, etc. Many recipes call for “cake mix” with no clarification of a home-made substitute. So now you can truly use homemade, natural, less processed ingredients for each item in your recipes.

      I hope this helps your confusion! =)

      Reply

      • Gail on August 29th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

        Thanks, Virginia! I was out of town for a couple of days, so just catching up. This does make sense to me now. In thinking about it, I was thinking about the “purity” of the cake mix over processed foods.

        I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me!

        Reply

    • heidid26 on September 25th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      The purpose of this is that a lot of fun recipes floating around right now call for dry yellow cake mix from the box. You don’t use the whole cake mix in this recipes and you don’t make up the actual cake. It’s used to add the “birthday cake” flavor to other recipes.
      You’re right, if you’re going to make it right away, why not pull out a from scratch recipe unless you want to have this ready on hand for emergencies.
      This recipe is more for the purpose of adding the cake flavor to other recipes that aren’t for a cake.

      Reply

    • IdaKay on September 13th, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      Some recipes call for adding a dry cake mix batter – so to get the correct item for the recipe you need to have equal ingredients. I regular cake recipe won’t work because you use liquid igredients. I hope I am saying this correctly

      Reply

  17. Nikki @Pennies on a Platter on August 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Yay! Another freezer graced with this lovely cake mix! I seriously have been obsessed with this for the last month and wanting to throw it into everything, so watch out! :)

    Reply

  18. Laura Dembowski on August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I love all your homemade versions of packaged ingredients. I once only made cakes with boxed mix, but now I cannot imagine a day that I would even buy it. Like you, this has left me out of the plethora of cake batter recipes. It’s nice to know there’s a homemade alternative that I can use :)

    Reply

  19. Stephanie on August 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    What a great idea! I’ll definitely be stocking myself up with this! Thanks!

    Reply

  20. Ruth on August 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I really like this recipe and I plan to use it real soon with the holidays soon to be coming up. But I have a question which is do you add the other ingredients to it like it says on the cake box. I will admit that I am new at doing my some of my cooking from scratch. I like cooking that way, it makes me feel that it comes from the heart and not the box.

    Reply

  21. Annie @ Annie's Noms on August 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you so much!! I’ve seen so many amazing recipes, but then when I read the ingredient list it says “box of cake mix” and I’m immediately put off, this will come in so handy :)

    Reply

  22. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on August 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I love this! What a great thing to have in your freezer! It has been years since I have purchased a cake mix also, but you’re right that there are so many recipes that call for funfetti mix or yellow cake mix and this will be so handy!

    Reply

  23. BRIDGETT on August 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    … hmmmm … so, where are the wet ingredients?

    Reply

    • S.Lynn on September 6th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      See the link to Mels kitchen cafe.

      Reply

  24. Annamaria on August 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Great post. Now there’s no need to run out and buy a cake mix if your recipe calls for one – you can just use the ingredients in your pantry.

    Reply

  25. Dana Smith on August 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Yet another reason you are my hero. I HATE using box mixes and have been looking for a recipe for yellow cake mix. I can use this for cake batter ice cream AND for my gooey butter cake cookies. I can’t wait to try it out! Thank you!!

    Reply

  26. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet on August 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I feel the same way about cake mixes. Haven’t bought one for a while now. But there is a lot of recipes that I want to make and they all use cake mix. THIS is amazing! Nothing better than a homemade! Thanks, Michelle!

    Reply

  27. Joy on August 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve been on the hunt for a great homemade box mix so that I can make all those recipes I’ve shied away from in the past… I like to do all my baking from scratch. But I have a question: Is the recipe as written equivalent to 1 “box cake mix?” Most of the recipes I’ve seen don’t specify a number of cups of mix needed, rather they just say 1 box. If you could let me know whenever you get a chance. I’d REALLY appreciate it. Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 27th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Joy, Yes, this is the equivalent of 1 box of cake mix.

      Reply

  28. Riley on August 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Brilliant! This is such a cool idea!

    Reply

  29. Megan on August 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Yay! I love yellow cake out of the box but hate the idea of eating cake from a box. You have just solved my dilemma!

    Reply

  30. Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} on August 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Love, love, LOVE that you’ve posted a recipe for a yellow cake batter ‘box’ mix without all the over processed crap. Here in the UK, box mixes are a little over priced for what they are and I always have the mentality that it’s just as simple to make your own from scratch. Love that you’ve provided a recipe for this. It’s going to make my life so much easier.

    Reply

  31. Mary on August 29, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Quick question – this recipe makes 5 cups of cake mix, but how many cups usually come in one box? In other words, does this one recipe make more than one box mix?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 27th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Mary, No, this is equivalent to one box of mix. Most mixes yield 4.5 to 5 cups.

      Reply

      • mechellebelle on January 26th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Thanks for answering this one. I had the same question as the recipe I want to try calls for one box of mix. I too dislike box mixes. They never taste anywhere near as good as a homemade scratch cake! I am to the point that if I know a cake is made from a mix and a plastic tub of frosting, I will decline it, saying “sorry, I am full!” haha

        Reply

  32. Tracey on August 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve had this recipe on my to-do list for a while but never seem to get around to it. I’m so excited about it! No more half empty boxes of cake mix in the pantry from all the cake batter recipes I want to try :)

    Reply

  33. shawn on August 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    if you are good at math (i ask my hubby) a regular box of cake mix before sizes changed was 18.25 ounces. a cup is 8 ounces. usually that’s fluid but it does roughly translate to flour and stuff. somebody should measure out a cake mix from the box and do a comparison and then let the rest of us mathematically challenged know the results! i would estimate that you’d need two and a half cups of this to equal one box of mix but don’t quote me.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 27th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Shawn, A cup of all-purpose flour weighs in around 4.5 ounces, and depending on the protein content could be as little as 4.25 ounces or as much as 5 ounces, it all depends. Different ingredients have much different volumes, which can affect weighing and measuring. The 8 ounces = 1 cup measure is only accurate for fluid liquids.

      Reply

  34. Amanda A on August 31, 2012 at 12:03 am

    yay! I would rather have homemade than box mix! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  35. Ardex Cd Fine Concrete Dressing on September 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I love it… it’s probably better for you too… no secret mystery ingredients!

    Reply

  36. heidid26 on September 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Have you tried making it with all-purpose flour only and not using the cake flour? I’m curious if it changes anything, especially if you’re not using it to actually make a cake.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 27th, 2012 at 10:04 am

      I have not tried changing flours in the recipe, although the cake flour will make it a little lighter and not as weighed-down as the all-purpose.

      Reply

  37. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife on September 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    ooo I am so glad I found this! I don’t have a problem with cake mix but when I cake make something from scratch, I always like that better. I’m wondering If I can find a homemade white cake mix…. hummmm….

    Reply

  38. Baker Program on September 28, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Discussions like this about a yellow cake are a good a way to promote and expand the topic. Great information. Nice work Michelle.

    Reply

  39. Turtlegirl73 on November 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I did change it up bit and used Splenda sugar blend to make a dump cake for my diabetic dad. It worked perfectly.

    Reply

  40. Jocelyn on December 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I used this to make Cake Batter Milkshakes for my kids. Fabulous!

    Reply

  41. Susan on February 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Have you used this so far in any of your own recipes? I want to use it in a recipe for pumpkin bars that calls for yellow cake mix to make the crust and the topping. I am wondering if you used it, and what for. Thanks!

    Reply

  42. Anik on February 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m understanding your frustration when you say you’ve looked for a “from scratch” recipe and all you get are recipes that call for a cake mix!! grrrrr!! Why don’t people want to bake from scratch anymore??

    Reply

  43. Kathy on February 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Unfortunately, I have made these substitutions twice now and both times the cake came out of the oven looking fabulous and immediately fell and caved in. Any ideas on what went wrong? Made all the substitutions as suggested. First time was using a yellow cake box cake and second time a french vanila box cake.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 26th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Kathy, I’m confused. Did you use this mix to make a cake, or did you do something with a box cake mix?

      Reply

  44. Holly on February 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I found this recipe on pinterest. I made it exactly as you listed, but it looked like so much more than the equivellant of one box of cake mix, so I weighed it. As it is written, I was able to make two 19 oz mixes, with a scant two ounces remaining. I can see me having a bit more or less flour in each cup, but having twice as much weight as a single box is leaving me puzzled a to how you think this one recipe equals one box of mix. Thoughts?

    Reply

    • Ellie Robinson on April 28th, 2013 at 9:26 am

      This mix was perfect. Thank you, Michelle for sharing. Thank you Holly for the tip on making two mixes!! 1/2 the recipe is enough for dump cake and 1/2 for crust for a cheese cake I found on pinch it. I like the results of the mix bcz you can add more or less to the recipes out there that call for cake mix :)

      Reply

  45. Heather on March 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Thanks Michelle for posting this recipe! I re-posted it on to my site, bostongirlbakes.blogspot.com, and made some yummy cake batter blondies with it. It’s so nice to know I don’t have to go out and buy those preservative-laden mixes anymore!

    Heather

    Reply

  46. Abbey on March 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I am curious about making a chocolate cake mix. Can you add cocoa to the mix, and if so how much would you recommend?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 24th, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Hi Abbey, I haven’t tried doing this yet, so unfortunately I don’t have a recommendation as to the amount of cocoa powder to try to make a chocolate mix.

      Reply

  47. BakerGirl on March 27, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Ok, have any of you actually USED this recipe to bake anything? Also, I’m a little confused. Does this substitute boxed cake mix or is this just for giving recipes that “birthday cake” taste? I have a recipe for a “Sunshine Cake” Ingredients as follows:
    1 Lemon
    1 Orange
    1 Carrot, Grated
    3 Eggs
    I 160z Sour Cream
    1 Package Yellow Cake Mix

    ***Can I use your recipe instead of the yellow cake mix and how much of it would I use?*** Thank you!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 28th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Yes, you could use this recipe. There are approximately 3 cups of dry mix in a box of cake mix, so that’s how much of this you would use.

      Reply

      • jo on March 26th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

        I’m confused. In an earlier comment you said this recipe is equivalent to one box of cake mix, about 5 cups. I looked at Mel’s page and she gives contrary advice, too. She says Cook’s Country used this recipe for 1 cake, but she recommends half the recipe for a plain cake, and about 3 1/2 cups if a non-mixed application like a cobbler…I have no idea what to do. Just keep reading comments I guess and see if anybody’s figured it out!

        Reply

        • Michelle on March 29th, 2014 at 1:05 pm

          Hi Jo, The yield of batter that comes from a box cake mix is 5 cups; that’s prepared batter with the eggs, oil, water, etc. added in and mixed. The amount of dry mix is around 3 cups.

          Reply

  48. Mary Lou Craig on July 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I stay away from cake mixes because it has an ingredient that I causes my hands to break out and I itch all over.

    Reply

  49. Aysha on September 3, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Will this work with dump cake? I want to use this as a substitute for the dry cake mix that goes on the second layer of dump cake, but is this recipe truly a dry cake mix? I guess the adding of the butter and liquid vanilla extract throws me off.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 5th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Aysha, I’ve never made “dump cake”, but you can substitute this mix for any recipe that calls for a yellow box cake mix.

      Reply

  50. rose on October 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    hi: how can i convert this recipe to fit 8×8 square pan? there’s only 2 people in our household and i don’t want to freeze leftover if i can. thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Rose, You should be able to cut the recipe in half if you are making a cake.

      Reply

  51. Annette on October 15, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I hate box cake mixes due to the processed oils and excess sugar,etc. Thanks for bringing a bunch of us back to “Scratch City”. My question…I am very curious as to the amount of Sugar in this mix…(2 cups of Sugar to the 3 cups of Flour) it just seems like a lot to me. Is there any way to use less or a healthy substitute? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 15th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Annette, I always recommend following the recipe as written, as omitting portions of ingredients can definitely affect the final outcome. I have not played around with any type of sugar substitute, so I’m not sure how it would work. If you have success with something, please feel free to stop back and share!

      Reply

  52. Cathy on October 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Hi-I saw your instant pudding mix recipe and there was a nite to check back tomorrow to see the cake mix recipe you use with it. Is this that recipe? Do I add a half cup of pudding mix to this cake mix or does this already incorporate the pudding mix to make it more moist? Thanks!

    Reply

  53. Bronwyn Samuels on October 28, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Hi I live in South Africa and we do not have All Purpose flour as stated in the recipe what and how can I substitute for AP flour. Many thanks in advance. Bronwyn

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 28th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Bronwyn, Without knowing what your options are, I wouldn’t be able to say. You want to use whatever flour is standard for “regular” baking – nothing too fine, like a cake or pastry flour, and nothing high-gluten like a bread flour.

      Reply

  54. Lisa Smith on November 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I love this idea. My question is: I have a receipe that calls for the topping to be a box of yellow cake mix with a cube of softened butter blended together. I notice this recipe already has butter. Do I add more for the crumble topping effect? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 4th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Lisa, Yes, I would add the additional butter called for in the recipe.

      Reply

  55. Rachel on November 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    As far as storage goes though – do you HAVE to keep it in the freezer? Or do you mean that you can keep it at room temperature airtight OR in the freezer two months? Would you have to defrost it? Thanks. :) I’d really like to try this one!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 14th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Rachel, Because there is butter in this, you should not keep it at room temperature. It will not actually freeze in the freezer, but rather kept fresh, so there is no need for thawing.

      Reply

      • Rachel on November 15th, 2013 at 8:57 am

        Ohhhh gotcha. So you can use right out of the freezer? Hmmm. interesting… :D

        Reply

  56. Kathya on December 19, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Im glad that i found this recipe, will make it right away, but is that okay if i use full fat dry milk? Because the low fat is kind of rare and sometimes expensive. Also can i use blender instead of food processor?

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 19th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Kathya, I’m not sure how it would affect the taste, but you could give it a try. If you use a blender, be sure to just pulse, you don’t want to turn it into a paste.

      Reply

  57. jo on March 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you! I googled “yellow cake mix” because I want to make a dump cake but didn’t want to use a box mix. I’ve been making most of my own food for a while now, and the thought of going back to those mixes is unappetizing! I’m going to try this. Yay!

    Reply

  58. Shannice on April 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

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

    please let me know, I’m so confuse…

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Shannice, I would recommend using the directions provided on Mel’s website (the link is in the note at the bottom of the recipe).

      Reply

  59. Kloe's Kitchen on April 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Michelle,
    I just made this and I loved it! It tastes even better then the store bough one, yet still has that gooey, yummy flavor of the cake box mixes! Thanks soooo much for sharing. Now I can make those recipes that call for the mixes without feeling guilty!
    -Kloe ♥♥

    Reply

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