Whenever we have the urge to bake something, a cake mix is a go-to for many due to its convenience and availability. With simple ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter added to the cake mix, you can quickly achieve a well-loved dessert. Many cake mixes cater to different dietary restrictions like gluten-free, vegan, or keto.
But, with a ton of mixes on the market, it can be hard to find a cake mix for your needs. We've researched multiple brands and our favorite is Betty Crocker's Super Moist Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix. Its mild taste and pale coloring make this mix great for using for a wide range of recipes, particularly layered and colored pastries. To see the rest of our picks and for more information, check out our buying guide reviewed by a pastry chef and cake decorator!
I am a pastry chef of 10+ years, classically trained. I'm also the owner and operator of Bleu Moon Bakery - Vegan (2016-2021). My newest endeavor (small business) - Baby Cakes - creates custom cakes and treats with allergy-friendly options.
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There is a question that has sparked a lot of debate within the baking community: to make the batter from scratch or buy it from a box. Each has its pros and cons and based on countless articles, it would seem that the underlying answer is that it depends on preference and what a person got used to.
Yes, a homemade cake mix would be the better option because you can control everything that goes into your recipe, but you might be surprised that many don't care for this type of cake because they're too dense or have a very distinct taste.
The reason for the boom in popularity of cake mixes in a box is because they're convenient, take a few minutes to prep, are reliable in yielding consistent results, and are actually delicious. Plus, cake mixes can easily be doctored to suit an individual's taste and expectations.
Choosing the right cake mix can be challenging. Because we love simplifying things, we've created a buying guide to picking the most fitting cake mix for your sweet tooth cravings based on their flavor, frosting pairing, ingredients, and dietary restrictions.
Firstly, when choosing the best cake mix, it is important to consider what you are using it for. Is the mix for cupcakes, bars, bread, or a traditional cake? Its intended purpose will help you choose what type of cake mix is best.
White and yellow cake mixes are the best to use to make different pastries aside from a traditional cake. These mixes are buttery, sweet, and can be easily adapted for cupcakes, cookies, and even different breads, like zucchini or pumpkin.
Whereas other mixes like Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake, for example, will be harder to use for anything other than particular recipes and traditional cakes because its specific flavoring makes altering its flavor more difficult. Even chocolate cake mixes can be hard to adapt and alter flavors since chocolate is a distinct taste.
Before buying a cake mix, it's important to decide what you would like to make. That can factor into how many boxes you will need as well as additional ingredients. Deciding on cupcakes or a small cake will only need one box, but anything larger will require more. You also need to plan ahead to know what type of filling and frosting you will need.
First up, choose a cake mix to complement your preferred frosting. Not all cake mixes go with just any kind of frosting, with some pairings perfectly complementing each other. With that said, let's take a look at the best match for the most common types of frostings.
Perhaps the most popular and versatile of the frostings, American buttercream is made with butter and icing sugar and is super easy to whip up. It has a few variations such as Swiss, Italian, or French meringue buttercream, which use the same principles but require more ingredients, preparation, and skill in getting the right consistency.
With a buttercream base, you can add literally any flavor, from spices, extracts, chocolate, and even jams. This is why even lemon, strawberry, coconut and ginger-spice cake, aside from the more common cake bases, pair well with a buttercream frosting.
Every cake you can make will go well with buttercream frosting; it is the universal frosting for cakes. With vanilla, you can achieve white for wedding cakes and more, or you can add color to decorate in endless themes. You can also add flavoring very easily to buttercream frosting through extracts like coffee or jams like strawberry.
Cream cheese frosting is typically a buttercream base with added cream cheese to give that addictive sweet and salty taste. When we say cream cheese frosting, it often has red velvet cake accompanying it. These two are a match made in dessert heaven.
Other than red velvet, cream cheese can also accentuate a wide variety of cake bases such as pumpkin and carrot cake with regular cream cheese, banana cake with caramel cream cheese, or chocolate cake paired with mascarpone cream cheese.
This one's for the chocolate lovers out there. Ganache is made with heavy cream and chocolate for a rich-tasting frosting. It's the go-to frosting choice of those who want to seal their cake because ganache hardens into an amazing crisp shell compared to buttercream which can soften at room temperature.
Ganache is best to use with chocolate cake mixes and mixes with a mild flavor so that the rich taste can be brought forward and more appreciated.
Most cake mixes are good to go with a few ingredients such as eggs, milk or water, butter or oil, and vanilla extract. This is their main selling point. Simply mix, pour into a pan, and pop the batter into an oven, and you get yourself a cake!
Cake mixes can also be altered, whether by using more or less of the ingredients stated in the recipe or tweaking the mix completely to achieve the desired result.
Keep in mind that the amount of required liquids, whether it be milk, water, or oil, defines how thin or thick the cake batter is and also alters the flavor of the cake. The thicker the batter, the fluffier and taller the cake. The thinner the batter, the denser the cake and it can have less rise.
Click to purchase
Super Moist Cake Mix
Best Mix for Versatility
Super Moist Red Velvet Cake Mix
Best for Colorful Cakes
Cake Mix Bundle
Best Low-Sugar Mix
Keto and Co
Yellow Cake Mix
Best for Keto and Gluten-Free Diets
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Mix
Best Fat-Free Mix for Fruit Toppings
Funfetti Gluten Free Cake and Cupcake Mix
Best for Warm, Spicy Flavors
Yellow Cake Mix
Best Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
Yellow Snack Cake
Best for Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Muffin and Cake Almond Flour Mix
Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cakes and Muffins
Molten Lava Cakes
Best for Chocolate Lovers
Most customers feel that this mix produces moist, flavorful cakes that are easy and quick to make. They often use this mix for fruit cakes and poke cakes. The Betty Crocker website also features several more recipes for this mix.
Betty Crocker's Super Moist White Cake mix is the best for customizing with food coloring. The pale color of this mix makes it ideal for colorful creations like blue velvet cake. It also pairs well with fruit filling and custards.
Some reviewers claim that the cakes produced from this mix don't rise as high as competing brands and that it is crumbly. Many other reviewers love the moist, fluffy texture, and often order the product in bulk. The company's website offers more recipes for inspiration.
Foodstirs' Organic Simply Sweet Vanilla Cake Mix has 25 percent less sugar. It get extra sweetness from natural sweeteners like stevia and erythritol. There are recipes on the website for substitutes to suit vegan-friendly diets.
Some customers say that this mix is not flavorful or moist and that it requires more ingredients than other cake mixes. However, most customers remark that this cake mix makes cakes that are rich and buttery. Despite having 25 percent less sugar, many customers still find the mix to be sweet.
Keto and Co's Vanilla Keto Cake Mix is the best cake mix for those with dietary restrictions. This product is gluten-free and can also be made vegan by substituting the extra ingredients. It's also keto-friendly, with only 1.8 carbs per serving.
Several reviewers say that this cake mix makes dense, heavy cakes that have a bread-like texture and has a banana flavor instead of vanilla. However, many other customers say that it has a fluffy texture like high-carb mixes, isn't grainy, and was the perfect level of sweetness. This mix is often made into cupcakes and muffins.
Betty Crocker's Angel Food Cake mix makes light, spongy cakes that pair perfectly with whipped cream and fruit toppings with a subtle vanilla and nutty flavor. This mix only needs water and a greased pan to make a delicious cake.
Some reviewers find this cake to be too dense, with little rise, and say it fell out of the pan while cooling upside down. Many other reviewers like that it is simple to bake and only requires water. The company website features multiple unique recipes for this heavenly cake mix.
Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Spice Cake Mix is the best mix for fans of fall flavors. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice mixed in transform it into a great autumn delight that can be enjoyed year round. One box makes two cakes and up to 30 cupcakes.
Some reviewers find that this mix is dry and crumbly, and do not enjoy the added pudding. However, many other reviewers say that this mix tastes great even without frosting. The Betty Crocker Website features several recipes for those looking to try something new or who need ideas for special occasions.
Krusteaz Gluten-Free Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake and Muffin mix has a yellow base with a cinnamon sugar packet to add to the center and top of the cake. The packet allows you to tailor the cinnamon flavoring to your tastes. It comes in a 20-ounce box for large batches.
A few reviewers find this mix to be too dry, grainy, and sweet. On the other hand, most reviewers say this mix is easy to bake and produces fluffy cakes. They feel that it is a great alternative to regular crumb and cinnamon coffee cakes for those on a gluten-free diet.
This Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Red Velvet cake mix has a rich cocoa powder in this mix that gives it a full-bodied flavor that everyone loves. Pair with cream cheese frosting for cakes, cake pops, and cupcakes and you have a perfect combination of texture and flavor.
Several reviewers claim that this mix had an odd taste and smell and that it is flavorless. But, many other reviewers say that it's moist, rises well, and tastes just as great as homemade red velvet cakes. Cream cheese frosting is a favorite to use for a lot of customers.
This Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin and Cake Mix is the best product for healthy chocolate cupcakes. This product is gluten-free and paleo-friendly, using almond and coconut flour.
A few reviewers claim that this mix is dry. On the other hand, many reviewers love that the texture is fluffy and not grainy and the flavor is very chocolatey and sweet.
Duncan Hines's Perfectly Moist Devil's Food cake mix is the best product for chocolate lovers. This mix is made with extra cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate, giving it a strong chocolate flavor.
A few reviewers say that this mix produces dry cakes. Many other customers found this cake to be easy to bake, and love the intensity of the chocolate. One box can make two cakes and 24 cupcakes, so you'll have plenty of sweets to go around.
In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Shayanne also took the time to answer some commonly asked questions about cake mixes.
Shayanne suggests, "Some good hacks for making box cake mixes better are substituting water for milk, as well as oil for butter. Another great hack is adding a small package of instant pudding mix in your desired flavor of cake to the mix. It creates a better texture and less artificial flavor. A simple addition could be to add vanilla or another flavoring extract to the mix."
Shayanne says, "You will need two or three boxes of cake mix to make a 10-inch cake. If you're going with three boxes, you can always bake the extra batter into cupcakes or a scrap cake for just you. If you're going with just two cake mix boxes, you can make a shorter (three-layer) cake."
"You can make pancakes out of a cake mix for a sweeter and fun pancake," Shayanne says. "It's great for special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Here are some tips for making fluffy pancakes: leave lumps when mixing the batter and let it rest for 10 minutes after mixing. This allows the leavening agents to activate and create a thicker batter."
Craving some fresh-baked sweet desserts? Save some time with mixes and kits to make your baking easy.
If you would like to shop for even more cake mix brands, take a look at Amazon's best-selling list of cake mixes below.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
No. 1: Betty Crocker｜Super Moist Cake Mix
No. 2: Betty Crocker｜Super Moist Red Velvet Cake Mix
No. 3: Foodstirs｜Cake Mix Bundle
No. 4: Keto and Co｜Yellow Cake Mix
No. 5: Betty Crocker｜Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Mix
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