How to Make Easy Homemade Cake Mix From Scratch

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How to make easy homemade cake mix from scratch with just 5 simple ingredients and NO toxic preservatives or artificial flavors that are found in so many store-bought baking mixes. Budget-friendly recipe that makes soft and moist, classic yellow cake or cupcakes in 30 minutes or less!

I've been on sort of a baking mix recipe binge lately; I mean, recently I even made my own homemade pancake mix, and so I thought, why not make a homemade cake mix? Being a type of vanilla cake, this cake is actually fairly similar to my homemade vanilla cupcakes recipe. It's moist and spongey with a light and fluffy texture and a rich, buttery flavor that pairs perfectly with my homemade chocolate buttercream frosting recipe.

homemade yellow cake made from homemade cake mix with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles on a small white saucer

Homemade cake mix is so dang easy to make ahead and store up for future use, and it bakes up the BEST yellow cake with real homemade taste, while yet retaining the convenience of a boxed cake mix. Oh, and this recipe makes a great cupcake too!

What's Is the Difference Between a White Cake Mix and a Yellow Cake Mix?

First of all, it's important to note that both yellow cake and white cake are a type of vanilla cake, since they both contain vanilla. So if you see the name “vanilla cake” thrown around, just know that it can refer to either a yellow cake or a white cake.

As their name suggests, the actual difference between white cake and yellow cake is in the color. Both white cake and yellow cake are pretty similar, but there are a few differences.

This is a homemade yellow cake mix recipe, which is also a homemade vanilla cake mix. It uses whole eggs, with both the egg yolks and the whites, and it uses solely vegetable oil, both of which contribute to the golden-yellow hue and extra rich flavor. Yellow cake is moist and spongey with a light and airy texture; it's also easier to make and work with.

On the other hand, white cake uses only the egg whites in order to gain a more pure white color. Unlike yellow cake, white cake often uses cake flour for a lighter, more refined texture.

Due to the lower fat content, white cake is generally more finely grained and slightly less tender. Some people prefer the more pronounced “vanilla” flavor in white cake, but it is sometimes harder and more costly to make.

Why I Think You'll Love This Recipe

  • This is an easy one bowl recipe for homemade cake mix. It's so convenient to have cake mix lying around for baking up in a pinch.
  • This recipe uses simple, budget-friendly ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry.
  • It bakes up a perfectly moist and spongey vanilla cake that's both light and fluffy, with an addictively rich and buttery vanilla flavor.
  • The crumb of this homemade yellow cake has a beautiful golden-yellow hue that pairs perfectly with your favorite frosting.
  • Homemade cake mix is way healthier than the store-bought boxes of cake mix. No toxic preservatives or artificial flavors– It's nice to know exactly what's in there!
  • This homemade cake mix makes either one large yellow cake or a couple dozen yellow cupcakes. Both are equally delicious.
  • Vanilla cakes or cupcakes make the best birthday cake; in fact, this cake would be perfect for any large gathering, potluck or other special occasions.
  • Homemade cake mix makes a great gift in a jar. Be sure to include a little note with instructions on how to bake the cake!
homemade cake mix ingredients lined out on large wooden cutting board

Ingredients Notes & Substitutions

  • All-Purpose Flour – I recommend using regular all-purpose flour for this recipe. If you want to make this a gluten-free biscuit mix, substitute 1:1 with a cup for cup gluten-free all-purpose flour. You may also need to add a pinch of xanthan gum. If you go this route, be sure to check all of the other ingredients over to ensure that they are truly gluten-free.
  • Cane Sugar – You can use plain old granulated sugar, but I prefer pure cane sugar.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda – I use both baking powder and baking soda as the sole leavening agents for this recipe. Although baking soda lasts almost indefinitely, baking powder can go bad, usually around 6 months after opening. Keep it fresh!
  • Sea Salt – Of course you can use table salt, but I love the flavor of this “real” Redmond sea salt.

How to Make Homemade Cake Mix From Scratch

Homemade cake mix is super quick and easy to make. I can usually have it mixed up in 5 minutes or less…

How to Make the Cake Mix

To make your DIY cake mix, simply whisk together the dry ingredients, including the white flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. That's it!

whisking up homemade cake mix in a medium glass mixing bowl

You'll want to store your homemade dry cake mixes in an airtight container or glass jar at room temperature for up to 12 months. Alternatively, you can also store it in the refrigerator or freezer, but it's not necessary.

Easy Homemade Yellow Cake Recipe From Homemade Cake Mix

Now that you've made your very own cake mix, let's use it to make the best homemade yellow cake or cupcakes. A full batch of dry mix will make 1 large, single layer yellow cake, or it'll make 24 yellow cupcakes.

homemade yellow cake mix ingredients lined out on a large wooden cutting board

Before getting started, preheat your oven to 350ºF. If you're baking a cake, grease up a 13×9 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. If you're making cupcakes, simply line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners; you can also spray your cupcake liners with nonstick cooking spray, if you're using reusable silicone liners like I am…

  1. In a large bowl, combine one full batch of homemade cake mix with 1/2 cup of whole milk or buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil, 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. You want everything mixed together well, but take care not to over-beat your cake batter; an electric stand mixer on low speed makes this step easier…
  2. If you're baking a cake, pour the batter into the 13×9 baking pan that you greased up in the first step. If you're baking cupcakes, simply divide it into the prepared cupcake liners.
  3. You'll want to bake the cake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes. For cupcakes, that'll be more like 15-20 minutes at 350ºF. You can tell that your cake or cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

How to Serve Homemade Yellow Cake

That's it! For the best results, let your cake or cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating. An offset cake decorating spatula, disposable piping bags and your favorite frosting tips can help with that.

homemade yellow cake mix in a small glass jar on a dark blue tea towel with a small white decorative ramekin full of rainbow sprinkles and next to a small white saucer with a sliced square of homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting

You can use whichever flavor of frosting you want. I'm partial to chocolate, but I also think this homemade butterbeer buttercream frosting would be really good, for all the Harry Potter fans out there!

Alternatively, you can also just serve this delicious cake with fresh sliced strawberries and homemade whipped cream, kind of like an angel food cake. YUM!!

Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's

Why is my vanilla cake dry and crumbly?

This more than likely happened because you overcooked the cake, causing it to overheat and dry out. Some ovens do run hotter than others, so you may have to adjust the baking time accordingly.

My recommendation is to keep an eye on the cake as it bakes, checking it periodically towards the end of its baking time. Use the toothpick test. Your cake is fully baked once a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Why does my cake taste like cornbread?

This usually has to do with the kind of flour used. I use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour for this homemade cake mix. If your cake still tastes like cornbread, you can try using cake flour instead. It's also important that you don't over-beat or under-beat your cake batter, as this can sometimes lead to the cake tasting like cornbread. Mix until everything is just well-combined.

Recipe Variations

Looking for ways to make your vanilla cake just a little bit more interesting? Here are some ideas…

  • Try making homemade chocolate cake by adding cocoa powder to the homemade dry cake mix.
  • Try making this a homemade lemon cake mix by adding a splash of lemon juice and some fresh lemon zest. You can even use it to make my favorite lemon Jello poke cake recipe!
  • Make your yellow cake a funfetti cake by adding rainbow sprinkles to the batter just before baking. Bonus points if you use this yummy homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!
  • Make it a homemade white cake! To do this, you'll need to use only the egg whites, and you'll probably want to use a good cake flour instead of all-purpose flour.
  • Spice things up by making this a homemade spice cake mix with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and even allspice. Simply whisk the spices into the dry cake mix and store it up for future baking!
  • If you're looking for more crunch, try adding chopped walnuts and a hint of almond extract to your cake batter before baking.
  • When you're ready to bake your cake, use a bundt cake pan to make this a homemade yellow bundt cake.
  • Double or triple the recipe and make this into a yellow layer cake, with creamy chocolate frosting in between each and every layer!
homemade cake mix in a small glass jar on a dark blue tea towel

More Cake Recipes You'll Enjoy

Looking for more cake recipes? Here are some of my favorites…

If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. And subscribe to my email list too!

homemade yellow cake made from homemade cake mix with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles on a small white saucer

Homemade Cake Mix

Easy homemade cake mix from scratch with 5 simple ingredients. Makes soft and moist, classic yellow cake or cupcakes in 30 minutes or less!
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Course: Cakes, Cupcakes, Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 Cake
Calories: 1149kcal
Author: Mel Lockcuff

Ingredients

Instructions

How to Mix Up the Cake Mix

  • To mix up the homemade cake mix, whisk together the white flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. That's it!
  • Transfer your dry cake mix into an airtight container or mason jar and store at room temperature for up to 12 months.

How to Make Homemade Yellow Cake with Homemade Cake Mix

  • Before getting started, preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease up a 13×9 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Keep in mind that one full batch of cake mix will make 1 single layer yellow cake.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine one full batch of homemade cake mix with 1/2 cup of milk or buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil, 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.*
  • Pour the batter into the 13×9 baking pan that you greased up in the first step and bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • After baking, be sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting and decorating.

How to Make Homemade Yellow Cupcakes with Homemade Cake Mix

  • Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. One full batch of homemade cake mix will yield 24 cupcakes total, so you'll need 24 cupcake liners total.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine one full batch of homemade cake mix with 1/2 cup of milk or buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil, 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.*
  • Divide the cake batter into the cupcake liners that you prepared in the first step, and bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • After baking, be sure to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Notes

*You want everything to be mixed together well, but take care not to over-beat your cake batter.
How do you store homemade cake mix?
You'll want to store your homemade dry cake mix in an airtight container or mason jar at room temperature for up to 12 months. Alternatively, you can also store it in the refrigerator or freezer, but it's usually not necessary.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 1149kcal | Carbohydrates: 270g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2245mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 150g | Calcium: 319mg | Iron: 8mg
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