Best Box Mix Classic Birthday Cake

This cake is for all the people who had birthdays and couldn’t get out and celebrate the past several months with their friends.  The icing, omg, is for all the young folk who graduated from high school, especially my nephew, Thomas.  He has worked so very hard.  We were to have a little celebration, just the family, here at the house but, once again, because of the corona virus, we won’t get together until Fall.  This is a classic yellow birthday cake and I have to say, y’all, this is the best jacked-up box mix cake I’ve ever tasted.  But really, y’all, the icing is… just wow.  I typically use 1/2 cup regular, unsweetened cocoa but today found I had only 1/4 cup.  What to do?!  I scrounged around the back of my baking shelf and found an almost full container of cocoa but it was dark chocolate… super bitter and a huge disappointment the last time I used it.  We have a massive front which has parked itself over south Florida for the past three days bringing heavy rains, dark skies and blustery winds.  I was NOT about to make a grocery store run for cocoa.  Not happening.  It occurred to me that given the amount of sugar used in the icing, it would probably be okay to make use of a little of the unsweetened dark chocolate.  Wow.  What a discovery.  This frosting is magnificent.  And I don’t even like icing!  Those who know me will tell you I’ll eat a cupcake or slice of cake but only if I can scrape off the icing without offending anyone.  Y’all, I had to fight to keep from eating this deep chocolate icing straight out of the bowl.  Talk about easy.  Although this is a standard yellow cake, the additions of extra eggs, butter, yoghurt and pudding give the cake not only depth of flavor but also lend more of a pound cake texture… more heft.  I’m also not a fan of grocery store and box cake mixes as I find them way too sweet and airy.  There’s just nothing to them but regret and calories.  Not this cake.  I think it will truly surprise you.  Congratulations go to Thomas and all the 2020 graduates!  And a happy birthday to all the Aries, Taurus and Geminis!

The beauty of a box mix is that some substitutions are quite successful.  This recipe calls for sour cream, however, I don’t keep sour cream in my house.  Plain yoghurt is just fine in its place and that is what I always use.  Also, the recipe calls for one 3.4-ounce box of pudding but I only had three 1-ounce boxes.  The cake came out great.  Yay for small triumphs.  In addition, vanilla pudding, white chocolate or any somewhat neutral flavor may be added to the batter.  Apparently I wasn’t paying attention to what I grabbed off the shelf at the grocery store and ended up with a bunch of sugar free, fat free, white chocolate pudding mixes.  Cake came out fine.  No need to overthink it.  Enjoy!

Classic Box Mix Birthday Cake with Homemade Dark Chocolate Icing

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 15.25-ounce box classic yellow cake mix
  • 1 3.4-ounce box vanilla or white chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plain yoghurt or sour cream
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Line 2 9-inch round cake pans and cover lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together cake mix and pudding.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk eggs and yoghurt until smooth.  Add melted butter and vanilla and whisk until completely blended.
  4. Pour egg mixture into dry cake mix bowl and whisk until completely smooth.  Batter will be somewhat stiff.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.  Smooth batter into edges of the pans so the bottoms are completely covered and the tops are smooth.
  6. Bake 23-25 minutes or until cakes are pulling away from the sides or a cake tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes on racks then remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely on racks.
  8. Cool completely prior to icing.

Dark Chocolate Icing

  • Servings: covers 2 9-inch cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa, I use Hershey’s
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  1. To a medium size bowl add butter and beat just to break up.
  2. Add milk, vanilla and cocoa powder and mix.
  3. Add confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time, to avoid a powdery mess, and mix until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Ice cooled cake.


One Comment

  1. Maria

    This is a new go to for me for birthday cakes. It was DELICIOUS!,, easy to make and put smiles on the faces of all who ate it! 💜😊

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