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20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Here at Out of the Box Baking we’re all about starting with a boxed cake mix! Don’t believe it? Check out How to Doctor a Boxed Cake Mix: The Ultimate Guide. That post is incredibly helpful, no matter which boxed mix you’re starting with!

Today’s post will feature 20 great recipes you can make from a simple box of cake mix. You can (literally) tweak and change a simple white cake mix into whatever you like. And these days, when life is so complicated? It’s nice to start with something easy.

Best of all, doctored cake mixes have a wonderful homemade taste. No one will believe it started with a box!

Which White Cake Mix Should I Use? Does it Matter?

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

You can use whatever brand you have on hand! I use Pillsbury when I’m baking a tiered cake because it’s a sturdier cake. I use Duncan Hines when I want a lighter, fluffier cake. I rarely use Betty Crocker, to be honest. (We all have our preferences!)

Several of my friends are gluten free and start with a boxed gluten free cake. One friend always starts with a sugar-free cake mix. (I didn’t even know they made such a thing, but apparently they do!) Anything will work. Just have fun!

Without further ado, let’s dive right in. Most of these are super easy recipes. They are in no particular order. (And trust me when I say there are so many possibilities that I might end up doing a second post at some point in the future.)

Top 20 Cakes from a White Cake Mix

1. Rich Chocolate Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

You’ve got a hankering for chocolate cake but you’ve only got a white cake mix? No worries! The most obvious way to turn it into a chocolate cake is to add 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the mix. If you don’t have that on hand, however, don’t give up! You can add a small box of instant chocolate pudding or even a couple of packets of hot cocoa mix! (In a pinch you might add some Hershey’s syrup.)

You can make the cake according to the box’s directions, but if you really want to know how to dress up a chocolate cake, check out my Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe. Trust me when I say that the addition of milk and pudding gives you a luscious chocolate cake! And best of all, it’s easy peasy!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 1 cup room temperature milk
  • 1 small box instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake spring back from (prepared) pan.

2. Italian Cream Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Have you seen my My Italian Cream Cake recipe? It starts with a white cake mix. In fact, I often use one white and one yellow as a base for this cake. For the full recipe, follow the link. Basically, you’ll add milk, pudding, coconut, pecans, and butter. Yum!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut (flakes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (powder)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back from (prepared) pan. Serve with cream cheese frosting.

3. Carrot cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

You’re dying for a carrot cake but you’ve only got a white cake mix? No worries! Start with a white cake mix, y’all! And trust me. . .these sweet treats will leave you hankering for more!

Start by checking out my Carrot Cake Cupcake post. You will see that it calls for a carrot cake mix, but if you don’t have one, don’t stress! Start with a white cake mix but add more cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. You can also add ginger for an additional kick.

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the recipe, just as it’s written. The orange juice is a perfect replacement for water, trust me. Yum!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil (or substitute 1 stick butter)
  • 1 cup orange juice (or water)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup carrots (finely shredded)
  • ½ cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

NOTE: I can’t add ginger to my personal cakes because I’m allergic. Crazy, right?

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake spring back from (prepared) pan.

4. Spice cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

You’re ready for the warmth of fall and can’t wait to bake a spice cake, but all you have is a white cake mix. No worries! Just make it according to the recipe (or doctor the cake mix by substituting milk or orange juice for water and butter for oil).

Then. . .add the good stuff! A teaspoon of ginger, a teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of allspice and half a teaspoon of ground cloves. You can also add a bit of brown sugar. That’s it! Your white cake will be warm and tasty, loaded with spice!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil (or substitute 1 stick butter)
  • 1 cup orange juice (or water)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back from (prepared) pan.

5. Lemon cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

I know what you’re asking: How do I make a lemon cake out of a white cake mix? Thanks for asking! It’s so easy! Add a small box of lemon instant pudding to the recipe. You can also add lemon juice in place of some of the water or even frozen lemonade (thawed). Some recipes suggest adding the zest of one lemon or a bit of lemon extract. Then just bake according to directions.

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil (or substitute 1 stick butter)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 box instant lemon pudding
  • zest of one lemon

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back from (prepared) pan.

6. Strawberry Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Are you wondering how to turn a simple white cake into a luscious strawberry cake? It’s easier than you think! Add a small box of strawberry jello to the mix, along with 1 cup of chopped strawberries. Then follow the directions on the box for the rest.

Hint: If you make a lemon cake and a strawberry cake you can put them together to make my famous Strawberry-Lemonade Cake!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil (or substitute 1 stick butter)
  • 1 cup water (or room temperature milk)
  • 1 box strawberry jello
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back from (prepared) pan.

7. Golden Butter Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

You want to make a luscious golden butter cake but you’re stuck with a white cake mix. What do you do? It’s simple! Instead of following the recipe on the box, do this: Use room temperature butter in place of oil (1/2 cup or one stick). Use milk in place of water. And use four eggs in place of three. You’ll end up with a rich golden-colored cake because egg yolks add a rich golden color.

Another great option would be to add 2-3 tablespoons of dry vanilla pudding mix. You can also add sour cream in place of some of the milk if you want a creamier cake. And if you’re not happy with the color, add a dot of yellow coloring gel to the batter before baking.

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) room temperature butter (you can add an additional stick of butter for a moister cake)
  • 1/2 cup room temperature milk (more or less, until desired consistency)
  • 1/2 cup room temperature sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 dot yellow coloring gel

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back from (prepared) pan.

8. Caramel Banana Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

If you saw my post for Caramel Banana Cake, you noticed that I started with a boxed mix. On the day I made that particular cake I uses a boxed Golden Butter cake mix, but a white cake will work just fine, trust me! Want to know how to make it? Just follow the directions in my Caramel Banana Cake recipe, which you’ll find here.

This is a rich cake batter, y’all!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • FOR THE CAKE: 
  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Simmer filling in a saucepan until butter is melted and bananas are slightly softened. Mix cake ingredients separately and combine with filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in prepared bundt pan.

9. Brown Butter Walnut Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

My Luscious Brown Butter Walnut Cake with Maple Glaze is an easy bundt cake that starts with a boxed cake mix! My recipe calls for a yellow cake, but you can definitely use a white one. Check out the recipe here. The key is to brown your butter before adding it to the batter. For more on how to do that, read the Brown Butter Walnut Cake recipe.

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1 white cake mix
  • 2/3 cup brown butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts
  • FOR THE GLAZE
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • maple extract
  • Caramel sauce (optional)

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes. Cover in glaze and additional walnuts.

10. Trifle

All of my trifles have yummy cake inside. Whether you’re going for a Cookie Butter Trifle, or a Mint Oreo Trifle, you can still start with a white cake mix. Just add 1/3 – 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the white mix before baking!

When I made my most recent trifle with succulents I doctored my chocolate cake by adding milk in place of water and also adding instant chocolate pudding to the mix. (Chocolate pudding is perfect for converting a white cake to chocolate!)

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Note: If you’re making a mint chocolate trifle, you would add York Peppermint instant pudding to the mix. It’s also fun to stir in mint chocolate chips to the batter before baking.

For full details on how I make my trifles, visit the links above.

11. Rainbow Cake (Ombre Cake)

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Any white cake can become a rainbow (or ombre) cake. Just start with a box of white cake mix and then color the layers with coloring gels (darker on bottom layer, lightest on top).

I use Americolor gels. (Water based colors won’t work but gels are perfect!) For more instructions on how to ombre a cake, check out my Pretty in Pink Ombre Cake post. Talk about the perfect birthday cake.

You can ombre the inside of the cake by making the layers varying shades of pink and white. That way, the inside matches the outside!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup room temperature milk
  • 3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract

Divide batter into three bowls. Leave one white. Color one a pale shade of your color of choice. Color the third in a darker shade of your color of choice. (Example below. Obviously I used more than one box of mix for this cake.)

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back from (prepared) pan. Voila! A simple vanilla cake becomes a masterpiece! Talk about taking things to the next level!

12. Zebra Stripe Technique

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Have you seen my Zebra Stripe Cake Technique post? Y’all, it’s so fun and entertaining! When you cut into a zebra-striped cake your guests will be wowed! The colors are distinct yet vibrant and definitely make a statement!

It’s important to start with a white cake mix for these cakes and then add the appropriate coloring gels.

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup room temperature milk
  • vanilla pudding (small box)
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract

Divide batter into separate bowls and color accordingly. Spoon in the batter, one “blob” at a time (each dollop on top of the other, which will force rings of color to form).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.

13. Apple Spice Skillet Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

My Apple Spice Skillet Cake is a favorite with my grandkids. When I made mine a couple of months back I started with a spice cake mix. But we’ve already established that you can make a spice cake from a white cake mix. So, this one should come together easily! It’s a moist cake you won’t soon forget!

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 apples (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • caramel topping

Simmer butter, apples, and spices in skillet until soft. In a separate bowl combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and water. Pour the cake mix over the softened apples and melted butter and cover completely, smoothing out to the edges. Cover with another skillet and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until done (another five minutes or so).

Next time I make this one I plan to serve with a scoop of ice cream!

14. Banana muffins

Close up of large, banana and nut muffin surrounded by shelled walnuts and ripe bananas

I found a great recipe for 4 Ingredient Cake Mix Banana Muffins on this Beat Bake Eat site. It looks easy and yummy. When I make Banana muffins I usually start from scratch but I’ve been known to add over-ripened bananas to my white cake mix.

(Hint: To turn any cake mix into a muffin mix, just cut back on the milk a bit so the batter isn’t as runny. Muffin batter is slightly thicker.)

To get the full recipe, check out the website listed above.

15. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

My Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe starts with a yellow cake mix but you can easily substitute a white mix with no other changes to the recipe. (If you want the cake to be more yellow in color, add a dot of yellow food coloring or an extra egg yolk.)

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can pineapple rings
  • pineapple juice (reserved from can of pineapple rings)
  • maraschino cherries (without stems)

Whipping up this cake is as easy as 1-2-3!

Check out my Pineapple Upside Down Cake post for details!

16. Pink Velvet Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

My luscious pink velvet cupcakes start with a white cake mix. Basically, you take a white cake mix, add softened butter in place of oil, room temperature buttermilk in place of water, and the usual number of eggs. You also add a dot of pink coloring gel.

Note: To turn any cake into a velvet cake, just use buttermilk. (Out of buttermilk? Check out my Pink Velvet Cupcakes post to learn how to make your own!)

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • pink coloring gel
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup room temperature milk
  • 1 tbl vinegar
  • 3 large eggs
  • vanilla extract

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch. (If you opt for cupcakes, bake them for 16 minutes or until done.)

17. Cookie Butter Cupcakes

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Are you a fan of Biscoff Cookies? Have you tasted creamy cookie butter? If so, you’re going to love this (amazing!) Cookie Butter cupcake recipe, which starts with a white boxed mix. Just follow the link to this recipe to discover how you can make this delicious cake (or cupcakes).

I promise, your guests will be swooning! Mine gave this recipe rave reviews! (Cookie butter, anyone?)

Here how I would mix it up:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup crushed Lotus Biscoff cookies
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup melted cookie butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or 1 tablespoon maple syrup/pancake syrup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Additional crushed Lotus Biscoff cookies (to top off before baking)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (for cake) or 16 minutes for cupcakes. This is one of those box cake mix recipes you’re going to use again and again!

18. Butter Pecan Cake/Cupcakes

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

I’m crazy about Butter Pecan cake and have a terrific recipe that you’re sure to love. My recipe calls for a store-bought cake mix (Butter Pecan), but if you only have a white cake mix, don’t fret! Add an extra half cup of chopped pecans to my recipe, along with an additional 1/2 teaspoon of maple extract.

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water (or room temperature whole milk)
  • ¼ cup caramel topping
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (for cake) or 16 minutes for cupcakes. This one’s just as good as a scratch cake, I promise!

19. Mock Angel Food Cake

I have to tell you, this Mock Angel Food Cake is one of my all-time favorites. I couldn’t even believe it was possible to make an angel food cake out of a simple of of white cake mix. I’m so glad I gave this recipe a try!

How I would mix it up:

  • 1 box (15 ounce) white cake mix
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

Fluff up the dry cake mix in a food processor. In separate bowl mix up egg whites and cream of tartar until fluffy. Alternate with water/vanilla into dry mix, placing into a tube pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes.

20. White Wedding Cake

20 Amazing Recipes that Start with a White Cake Mix from Out of the Box Baking.com

Yes, it’s true! I doctor a boxed cake mix for every one of my wedding cake! I did a full write-up on my process in a post titled The Most Delicious White Cake from a Box (Doctored Cake Mix).

This is my go-to recipe, y’all. . .a classic white cake and every bit as good as a homemade cake. Every wedding cake I’ve done starts with a Pillsbury white cake mix and ends with my Dreamy Buttercream Frosting.

Here’s how I would mix it up:

  • 1 box white cake
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup room temperature milk
  • 3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch. If you like, you can add a little lemon zest or orange zest to the batter for an even fresher taste.

Questions People are Asking about Baking with a White Cake Mix

Can I use a Yellow Cake Mix Instead of White?

Absolutely! The only time you want to avoid this is when you need a lighter colored finished product.

Should You Beat Eggs Before Adding Them to the Cake Mix?

It’s not critical but you would end up with baked egg clumps this way!

Do Professional Bakers Approve of Box Cake Mix?

I can’t answer for all of them. Many are put off by the idea. But you would be surprised at how many professionals start with a box of cake mix and then doctor it.

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Cake Mix?

No, the raw eggs and uncooked flour are both big no-no’s.

Is white cake the same as yellow?

They are similar but the white cake is a lighter, fluffier cake. Most professionally baked white cakes use egg whites and yellow cakes use whole eggs. Of course, with a versatile while cake mix you can pretty much turn it into anything you like!


That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoyed these easy cake mix hacks! These tasty dessert recipes should satisfy any sweet tooth!

I was tickled to share these white cake ideas on Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday. Check out the other things she has on her page!

There are a lot of other cake mix desserts we could talk about–like streusels, cake mix cookies, bars, and so on. (Ever made cookie dough from a cake mix? It’s super easy!)

I’m sure I’ll think of a lot more in the upcoming weeks, (along with some yellow box cake mix recipes), but for now, whip out those white cake mixes and get busy!


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.

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