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The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix)

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Whether you’re making a wedding cake, a birthday cake, or simple cupcakes, this delicious white cake recipe is going to be memorable for your family, friends, and party guests. This is my go-to recipe, the one I use most often. I can’t even imagine pulling off a wedding cake project without this one in my arsenal!

I did a recent post chronicling my journey to come up with a homemade white cake recipe. I baked eight cakes before I found even one that came close to this one. It’ll do in a pinch, but this doctored boxed mix will always be my first choice, no questions asked!

It Starts with a Box

I love starting with boxed mixes, and not because I’m lazy. When I’m in baking mode, I’m usually putting together a lot of cake layers at once. Don’t believe me?

I’m all about ease and affordability.

Nearly every cake project starts with a box (and I’m partial to Pillsbury because it’s the right density for stacking).

Want a sneak peek at my baking closet? Here you go! Look at all of those cake mixes!

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Doctor a Boxed Cake Mix?

Yes! In fact, I did a full post on How to Doctor a Boxed Cake Mix. It lays out a plan for a variety of flavors. When it comes to a “typical” white (vanilla) cake, the ingredients are simple, but delicious.

Let’s Take a Poll: Chocolate or Vanilla?

Many love chocolate. (I’m a fan!) But the most popular cake by far, the one you see most often at weddings, anniversaries, or even birthdays, is a simple white cake with some sort of berry filling. (I usually use strawberry preserves.)

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

How do I know this to be true? I ran a cottage bakery for years. I took more orders for white cake than any other. Sure, people loved my Italian Cream Cake. (It ran a close second, along with my Ultimate Chocolate Cake). And yes, my Cookie Butter cake got some rave reviews.

In the end, though? People asked for white (vanilla) cake. They knew that their guests would appreciate the simplicity. (And let’s be honest: it’s a safe bet when you’re wanting to feed a big crowd.)

That said, I needed my white cake to be extraordinary. I needed my cake to be. . .

The Best White Cake Ever (from a box)

I wouldn’t settle for anything less, honestly. So, I kept playing around with the recipe until I came up with the perfect combination. And now that I’ve discovered it, there’s no looking back.

Want to make my perfect white cake? Here’s what you’ll need:

White Cake Ingredients

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • Pillsbury White Cake Mix
  • egg whites, room temperature
  • milk, room temperature
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • salted butter, room temperature
  • almond extract
  • clear vanilla extract
  • instant vanilla pudding

And there you have it! This recipe starts simple–with a boxed mix–but the depth of flavor comes from the additions. And what yummy additions they are!

Note: This is a doubled recipe and will make a lot! Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll get from two boxes of doctored cake mix:

  • TWO 10-inch cakes
  • THREE 9-inch cakes
  • FOUR 8-inch cakes
  • SIX 6-inch cakes

I usually make two 10-inch cakes or three 9-inch cakes.

Let’s Break Down the Additions, One by One!

Salted butter: I used salted in every recipe because salt enhances the other flavors. This particular recipe calls for half vegetable oil, half butter. Why, you ask? Because too much butter would result in a yellow cake. When I’m making a wedding cake I want it to be pristine on the inside. (There have been times when I’ve skipped the butter altogether and used only oil, but I love the creamy, rich texture that butter brings.)

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Egg whites: One way I keep the cake bright white is by using only the whites of the eggs. A box of cake mix calls for three whole eggs. I use four egg whites in place of the whole eggs.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Vanilla pudding: The addition of instant pudding along with the dry ingredients really makes the difference in this recipe. It gives the cake a sturdiness that makes it absolutely perfect for stacking. And guess what? It really enhances the flavor, as well.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Milk: Milk adds additional fat to the recipe, which gives the cake an incredible richness. I use half milk, half water (since I only keep whole milk in my house). It’s critical to use room temperature milk, only. You don’t want the cake to over-inflate while baking and then fall when you take it out of the oven.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Extracts: You can use whatever flavor you like but I’ve learned to combine vanilla and almond. I usually use about a teaspoon of vanilla to a half teaspoon of almond. (Almond is very strong!) This flavor combination is amazing with my Dreamy Buttercream Frosting and the strawberry preserves that I usually use between the layers of my white cake.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

How to Make this Delicious White Cake

Make sure your ingredients are room temperature.

Put the cake mixes and dry vanilla pudding into a large mixing bowl. I use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

Add the butter and oil and mix until incorporated.

One by one, add the egg whites. (It’s critical that they are at room temperature so that the cake doesn’t dome.)

Combine your milk, water, and extracts. Slowly, slowly, slowly work them in. You don’t want to end up with a runny batter, so hold back a bit on using all of the liquids until you’re sure of the consistency.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

It’s Time to Prep Your Cake Pans

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

I usually coat them in shortening and then dust them with flour. I have been known to use Cake Goop (equal parts vegetable oil and flour, brushed on with a pastry brush).

Fill your cake pans to the halfway point and place in the center of the oven for an even bake. As I mentioned above, this is a doubled recipe so it makes a lot!

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then allow to rest in pans for 5-10 minutes.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Flip them out onto wire racks to continue cooling then begin the leveling process.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Don’t attempt to decorate until they are completely cool.

This cake is great for stacking, as I mentioned above. It’s the perfect density. (A lightweight cake is too weak, but this one is just perfect!)

Use any frosting you like to cover these delicious cakes. My Dreamy Buttercream is what I go with nearly every time. It’s the perfect complement.

What to Expect from this White Cake Mix Recipe

There’s nothing “basic” about this basic white cake. Sometimes these doctored recipes with boxed white cake mix surprise you by being as delicious as homemade.

This is definitely one of those! The texture is perfect, the flavor is amazing, and it holds up well for layering and stacking. That’s why I keep coming back to these white cake mix hacks when I’m baking for weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.

This is truly the perfect white cake!

One Last Thing

People often ask, what’s the best box white cake mix on the market? I’m going to break it down for you:

If you’re making a tiered cake: Pillsbury. I’ve found Pillsbury to be a slightly denser cake with a strong crumb, capable of holding the weight of the cakes above it, (when properly braced with bubble tea straws, of course. You can learn more in my How to Tier a Cake post).

If you’re making a single cake tier and want a soft, fluffy product: Go with Duncan Hines. My mama and I used to argue about which brand was best and she loved her Duncan Hines. I rarely use it because I mostly make tiered cakes, but it’s lovely for a single cake.

If you’re crazy about vanilla flavor: Try Betty Crocker’s French Vanilla. Delicious!

Here are a few white cakes I’ve done over the years.

You can color your batter, as I did in my zebra-striped cakes. Or you can layer in the color, as I’ve done in my ombre cakes. Adding coloring gel to the cake will not change the taste of the cake as long as you use Americolor gels. (They’re the best!)

As you can see, this is a very versatile recipe, perfect for nearly any cake design.

Variations on this Delicious White Cake Mix:

  • Add lemon extract instead of almond.
  • Add chocolate pudding instead of vanilla.
  • Add coconut or nuts to turn this into an Italian Cream Cake.
  • Add chopped Oreos for a Cookies and Cream Cake.
  • Add bananas and raspberries for a delicious tropical cake.

The possibilities are endless! And guess what? This recipe is perfect for cupcakes, like my Lime in the Coconut Cupcakes! Just pull back on the liquid a little, as cupcakes need to be a sturdier batter.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix) from Out of the Box Baking.com

How to Store this Cake

If you use a traditional Decorator’s Buttercream you can cover the cake in an airtight container and leave it out. But if you’ve used a cream cheese frosting or my Dreamy Buttercream you’ll want to cover it tightly and put it into the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to a week.

Ready to dive in? Before you do, check out my post: 8 Cake Baking Tips. You’ll be a pro before long!

While you’re perusing the web, check out Full Plate Thursday on Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for more great baking ideas!

Questions People are Asking

How Many Cakes will This Recipe Make?

In case you missed it above, two boxes of doctored cake mix will make:

  • 2 10-inch cakes
  • 3 9-inch cakes
  • 4 8-inch cakes
  • 6 6-inch cakes

Which White Cake Mix is the Best?

I used to have this argument with my mother. She always used Duncan Hines and I always used Pillsbury (because it had pudding in the mix). I love Duncan Hines as well but it’s a lighter, fluffier cake. This is why I use Pillsbury if I’m stacking cakes. You need a brand with more density for tiered cakes. And I personally love the flavor of Pillsbury White Cake Mix.

Is White Cake Mix the Same as Angel Food?

Not at all! Boxed angel food cake doesn’t require any eggs, milk, or oil. You just add water. Everything else the mix needs is already incorporated into the mix.

Is White Cake Mix Vanilla?

To discover the answer, check out this post titled White Cake vs. Vanilla Cake: Difference and Comparison. I found it very helpful.

Is White Cake Mix Dairy Free?

Many of the boxed cake mixes are dairy free but you will need to check the box, as this will vary from brand to brand.

What can I Make with a White Cake Mix?

I was so excited by this possibility that I spent weeks baking all sorts of “other” things, but starting with a box of white cake mix. You’ll find my white cake mix ideas in my post titled A Dozen Sweet Treats that Start with a White Cake Mix.

You’re in luck! Here is my Doctored Cake Mix Recipes – Master List!! I cannot wait for you to try these recipes out!

For more on how to make White Cake Mix better, see my Jazz up a Boxed Cake Mix post.

Learn more about doctored cake mixes, the theme of this blog. 

For the master list of all doctored cake mix recipes on this site, visit Doctored Cake Mix Recipes, Master List. 


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box

The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Whether you're making a wedding cake, a birthday cake, or simple cupcakes, this delicious white cake recipe is going to be memorable for your family, friends, and party guests. This is my go-to recipe, the one I use most often. I can't even imagine pulling off a wedding cake project without this one in my arsenal!

Ingredients

  • 2 Pillsbury White Cake Mixes
  • 8 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1 large box (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding

Instructions

  1. Make sure your ingredients are room temperature.
  2. Put the cake mixes and dry vanilla pudding into a large mixing bowl. I use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the butter and oil and mix until incorporated.
  4. One by one, add the egg whites. (It's critical that they are at room temperature so that the cake doesn't dome.)
  5. Combine your milk, water, and extracts in a separate bowl. Slowly, slowly, slowly work them in. You don't want to end up with a runny batter, so hold back a bit on using all of the liquids until you're sure of the consistency.
  6. Prep your pans. Fill them to the halfway point and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cakes are golden in color and spring back to the touch.

Kristy

Saturday 13th of April 2024

What happens if I used 8 whole eggs instead of 8 egg whites?

Kristy

Saturday 13th of April 2024

@booksbyjanice, also it seems too be way too much batter for 2 - 10x3 fat daddio pans I can’t seem to get the middle cooked I cooked it at a lower temp 325 now going on 90 mins and still the middle is gooey i did 4 boxes total since its 2 boxes for a 10 inch pan but something isn’t right maybe i should have used 3- 10x3 pans not sure

Kristy

Saturday 13th of April 2024

@booksbyjanice, ok great ya color change is ok as long as it taste great! Thank you !

booksbyjanice

Saturday 13th of April 2024

You will have a very yellow cake! It's fine to use whole eggs and to add an extra one (per box) if you don't mind the color change.

Brooke

Friday 1st of March 2024

Thank you for this amazing post! I’m always nervous about leaving my eggs, milk and butter out too long at room temperature. So how long do you leave out eggs, butter and milk for them to be ready to use in this recipe?

booksbyjanice

Friday 1st of March 2024

Just until they reach room temperature. And many times I cheat. I’ll pull eggs from the fridge and place them in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll add a bit of warm water to my milk to take off the chill quicker. And you can stand sticks of butter up on their ends at room temperature for quicker softening. Sometimes I put them in the microwave for about 20 seconds to get the same effect. Hope this helps!

Bonnie

Saturday 17th of February 2024

I make cakes just for my family so I usually just use box mix. I was making a castle cake which I knew I may need a recipe that holds up under the layers. I came across this recipe which I followed exactly. I love how the cake turned out. It was very moist and held up well. The only problem was the cake itself was really sweet. Then with the addition of frosting it was sugar overload. The pudding definitely adds more sugar to it. In all fairness I did use Pillsbury confetti mix which may have added to the sweetness. I will try it again with another flavor that’s how much I liked the texture of the cake and how well it held up. I laughed about the cake mixes with you and your mom. My mom use to say whatever was on sale works for her. I always use Pillsbury for frosted cakes and Duncan for pound cakes.

booksbyjanice

Saturday 17th of February 2024

Hi Bonnie! A couple of thoughts: You could use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream next time to cut back on the sweetness. American buttercream is the sweetest of them all, for sure! I find that most of the "sugary" sensation comes from the frosting, so the type of cake probably isn't as important. Another frosting you might try is the white chocolate buttercream. I tried it awhile back and thought it was milder in flavor. (I would love to see your pictures!)

Jessica

Sunday 7th of January 2024

Good evening. I hope you are doing well. I wanted to ask how many cupcakes does this recipe generate? Also, what would be the actual regular measurements of just 1 bat h instead of the double? i want to make sure i do this the right way. This recipe is delicious.

booksbyjanice

Thursday 11th of January 2024

I usually get 17 cupcakes out of one box of mix (made up). Just cut the ingredients in half for one box!

Carole

Friday 29th of December 2023

If you put the vanilla extract into the milk and water but don't use all the liquid, that means you don't get all the vanilla into the cake. You didn't address this in the instructions or your comments. To get around the problem, I will add the vanilla separately when I add the first "pour" of milk and water. Just sayin'... :)

booksbyjanice

Friday 29th of December 2023

Good point!

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