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
DIY: Homemade Yellow Cake Batter Mix
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ cups (187.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups (187.5 g) cake flour
- ½ cup (64 g) nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, cut in ½-inch cubes and cold
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Hii, I just made this cake mix exactly as the recipe stated, measuring each ingredient with my kitchen scale and I ended up with 8 cups of cake mix! Lol, I’m not sure what kind of magic I performed tonight but does your recipe maybe make more than 5 cups of the cake mix…? I’m not sure how mine ended up with an extra 3 cups.. still scratching my head on that one.. and also, I was wondering if I can swap out the water for all milk? I used the milk powder in the recipe but just wondering if I can still replace all milk for the water or would that affect or change the recipe too much..? Thanks!
I have left this question in the comment section of your post on Pinterest but will ask directly. Can these cake mixes be made Gluten free? My daughter has a wheat allergy and is now gluten free. Trying to save her some money as Gluten free stuff in the stores is VERY expensive. Thank you in advance
Hi Donna, I haven’t tested it so couldn’t say for sure, but I think it would be worth the try!
Oh my gosh! Brilliant! I have my mom’s pistachio cake recipe that calls for a box cake mix and while it pains me to do so….I use one. This is so much better!
I’d like to use this recipe for a “dump cake” and have everything but the dry milk powder. Is the dry milk powder absolutely necessary for the mix?
Hi Mindy, Yes, the dry milk powder is necessary here.
Can it be substituted with dry buttermilk?
Hi Holly, I never tried it, but I think it should work.
I’m making cupcakes and the recipe calls for one 18.25 box of golden butter cake mix. To that I add 1/2 c. butter, 4 eggs, 2/3 c. water. My first question, do I use the entire amount that this recipe makes to equal my 18.25 boxed cake mix, or do I weigh out 18.25 ounces? My next question, with me adding and additional 1/2 c. butter as called for in the recipe, and with the 1 cup butter already in the “cake mix” will that be too much butter?
Hi Rhonda, You should weigh it out. As for the additional butter, I’ve never made a cake mix with added butter, so I couldn’t say, unfortunately.
Leave it to you to always have what I am looking for! My bf and I are opening an ice cream shop in San Francisco, and I cannot tell you how many times I have relied on your recipes for help and ideas when developing our flavor line. Thank you for all your great recipes and posts! :-)
I would love to make this, but the link to Mel’s kitchen cafe no longer exists. Could you tell me the directions and last ingredients on how to make/bake the cake from this recipe? I love your recipes!!!–Kathryn
Have just seen your post,not sure if we are singing from the same sheet,try this link. http://www.seededatthetable.com/2012/08/08/diy-homemade-yellow-cake-mix/
I know I’m coming to the party a couple of years late but please, I BEG of you, revisit this recipe. Or, tell me where I can find variations. I understand that this is meant for recipes that call for a box mix, not really intended for making cakes, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea that I could have cake mixes ready to go in the freezer. I added 3/4 c. cocoa powder to attempt a chocolate cake mx. Smells good, looks right, will let you know when I bake it. I have a recipe that calls for a lemon cake mix, and here is where I am at a loss. It is NOT a pound cake, so I’m struggling to come up with the amount of lemon extract to add (rather than vanilla). I know people here will probably not understand why I don’t just make things from scratch from start to finish… here’s the best excuse I’ve got: I want to take as many processed, chemical laden foods out of my family’s diet as possible. Problem #1: we moved to po-dunk nowhere and I literally have to order cake flour (etc) online. #2 living in the middle of nowhere means nothing is on the way to anything else… if I’m inspired in the middle of the day to make my grandmother’s lemon cake recipe (the one that calls for the box mix) if I don’t have one… yup, no cake. A trip to the store really is a big deal, so all the so-called “convenience” foods are not so convenient for me. THANKS!!! One brown-eyed girl to another. :)
I would try True Lemon. It is crystallized lemon. I discovered it when trying to make a heavenly lemon bar recipe that was from ages ago and called for a package of powdered lemon frosting mix. If you are unable to find True Lemon in a store near you, try Amazon.com. I did not buy the packets. I have a bottle of the granules. Good luck.
What about chocolate or fudge box cake?
Hey there! I’ve been reading your web site for a while
now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New
Caney Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!
Christy, I know this is over a year old, but I just came across this site today. I just wanted to say “Hi!” from Porter, TX!!! :D BTW, did you try this recipe? How did it turn out?
I wish I had found this recipe earlier today! I was trying to make from scratch a cobbler that my mom makes from canned pie filling and box cake mix as topping. I used your peach cobbler filling with a topping other than the biscuit one…the flavor turned out good but the texture wasn’t quite what I had wanted. Next time I’ll use this and I’m sure result will match the more processed recipe.
Hi, I tried this out today and wrote about it in my blog post. It worked out pretty well!
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!
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…
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).
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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
Ohhhh gotcha. So you can use right out of the freezer? Hmmm. interesting… :D
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!
Hi Lisa, Yes, I would add the additional butter called for in the recipe.
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
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.
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!
Hi Cathy, This is not the recipe I used the homemade pudding mix in; I used it in my homemade rum cake: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/04/18/homemade-rum-cake-recipe/
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!
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!
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.
Hi Rose, You should be able to cut the recipe in half if you are making a cake.
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.
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.
I stay away from cake mixes because it has an ingredient that I causes my hands to break out and I itch all over.
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 Carrot, Grated
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!!
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.
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!
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.
I am curious about making a chocolate cake mix. Can you add cocoa to the mix, and if so how much would you recommend?
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.
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!
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?
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 :)
I have the same question as Elle. I just made the mix and ended up with enough for two 18oz cake mixes with some left over. I made this for a recipe that calls for an 18oz box of yellow cake mix. Am I right in assuming that I just weigh out 18 ounces of the mix for my recipe? Or am I completely missing something?
Hi Sue, Yes, you would just weigh out the dry ingredients and proceed with the recipe.
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.
Hi Kathy, I’m confused. Did you use this mix to make a cake, or did you do something with a box cake mix?
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??
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!
I used this to make Cake Batter Milkshakes for my kids. Fabulous!
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.
Discussions like this about a yellow cake are a good a way to promote and expand the topic. Great information. Nice work Michelle.
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….
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.
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.
I love it… it’s probably better for you too… no secret mystery ingredients!
yay! I would rather have homemade than box mix! Thanks for sharing.
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.
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.
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 :)
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?
Hi Mary, No, this is equivalent to one box of mix. Most mixes yield 4.5 to 5 cups.
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
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.
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!
Brilliant! This is such a cool idea!
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!
Hi Joy, Yes, this is the equivalent of 1 box of cake mix.
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!
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!!
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.
… hmmmm … so, where are the wet ingredients?
See the link to Mels kitchen cafe.
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!
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 :)
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.
Hi Ruth, I posted this as an alternative to box cake mix when “cake batter” flavored recipes call for a mix. However, if you’d like to use it to make an actual cake, see the instructions here: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/06/homemade-yellow-cake-mix.html (I included this link at the end of the post, but you may have missed it.)
What a great idea! I’ll definitely be stocking myself up with this! Thanks!
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 :)
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! :)
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?
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! =)
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!
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.
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
I know this old but wanted to comment as well. I wanted to make a cobbler (family favorite) that is basically a “dump cake”–one that uses canned pie filling topped with one box of yellow cake mix to which extra butter has been added. I enjoy baking from scratch, so I used Michelle’s homemade pie filling and then was trying to re-create a similar topping from scratch. I wish I had found this sooner as it would have been perfect! Instead, I used a topping from another pie recipe, but it didn’t come out quite like boxed cake topping. I plan to make another cobbler soon just so I can try it with this!
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!
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!
Ooooh, I love this! What a great idea!
Love this idea!
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.
This is so awesome! I am totally going to try this!
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!!!
Such a great idea!
This is perfect. Thanks.
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!
What can I substitute for the milk powder? I am lactose-intolerant.
Hi Maria, I have heard of soy milk powder and rice milk powder. If you can find them, both would be a good substitute.
Thanks. I’ll try looking for those. Hope it comes out the same.
SO awesome! I was always wondering about trying to make my own for all those cake batter recipes I see floating around out there.
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!
What an amazing idea! So many fantastic creations come from yellow cake mix. :)