One of my proudest couponing moments (before we switched to real food, and obviously before I quit couponing) was buying boxed cake mix for 25¢ each. I stacked e-coupons with paper coupons on top of a great sale and filled two cabinets with all sorts of flavors.
Then I remember the day when I cleaned out the kitchen of hydrogenated oils (both partial and fully) and every single one of those boxes of cake mix had to go.
Fortunately, making homemade cake mix isn’t hard at all. I made homemade yellow cake mix last year, and now I’m adding homemade chocolate cake mix to the cabinet too!
When you think about it, cake is nothing more than a particular combination of a few ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, leavning, eggs, fat, liquid and flavoring (which is optional).
The tricky part though, is replicating the super-moist cakes that we’ve come to know and love from boxed cake mix.
Well there’s no need to learn by trial and error when it comes to chocolate cake anymore, because this homemade chocolate cake mix recipe will make THE BEST chocolate cake and you can say good-bye to those boxed mixes forever!
My taste testers for this recipe is a bit out of the norm. Typically, I make a recipe several times at home before sharing it with you guys. My husband and I are on the Whole30 right now, and that means no sugar, no flour and no butter. So… no cake for us.
Instead, I used this homemade chocolate cake mix recipe to make 26 cupcakes for both of my kids classes. That’s 20+ taste testers all at once!
Here’s how I know this recipe is a winner. First, my daughter said these cupcakes were the best cupcakes she’d ever had. This is a HUGE compliment coming from her, because she’s my sugar queen. She LOVES sweets and the sweeter, the better.
Most parents in her class bring store-bought or professionally made cupcakes for school parties, and my daughter gobbles them up every time. So my homemade chocolate cake mix recipe isn’t being tested against my own dessert recipes (like black bean brownies or chocolate hummus), but I’m being compared to PROFESSIONALS.
And according to my daughter, I win!
Then there’s my son. He told me that every single one of the kids in his class told him that the cupcakes were the best they’ve ever had. He even said that a few of his boy classmates wished I was their mom because of my cooking!!
Finally, a fellow mom gave me a compliment as we were leaving the school that afternoon. She said, “By the way, I had one of your cupcakes and it was delicious!”
So 20+ kids and parents alike have loved the cupcakes that came from this homemade chocolate cake mix recipe. If that’s not a winner, I don’t know what is!
Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe
Let’s talk about this recipe for a moment, shall we?
One of my goals for this year are to stop using all-purpose flour and switch to whole grain flour. We’re doing really good on this front, especially since my husband and I aren’t eating flour at all right now!!
Seriously though, I could have made this flour with white whole wheat flour or whole wheat cake flour, or any other whole grain flour, but the odds of you having specialty flours in your pantry are slim. I don’t want special ingredients to get in the way of you making something from scratch.
Most people have all-purpose flour in their pantry, so that’s what I used for this recipe. You can substitute up to 50% of the flour with whole grain flour, but note that it will likely cause the finished cake to be a bit denser and dryer.
It’s taken us two years but we finally quit processed white sugar. We currently use Turbinado sugar for all of our baking needs, including healthier sugar cookies and this homemade chocolate cake mix recipe.
Turbinado sugar is less sweet than white sugar, and the granules are larger. This means that you’re actually getting less sugar in a ½ cup when you use Turbinado sugar compared to white sugar. This is a double win, because I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe too!!
If you make this recipe and make a cake or cupcakes and find that they’re not as sweet as you’re used to, that’s my goal. These are sweet enough to be considered dessert, but not so sweet that they’ll put you in a sugar coma.
If you want them to be sweeter, you always have the option of icing them!
Avid bakers will likely have Dutch-process cocoa on hand, and that’s what this recipe calls for. It’s darker in color and is mellower in flavor than natural cocoa.
If you’re not sure what type of cocoa you have, check the label. Most Dutch-process cocoa will say so, where natural cocoa will likely just say “cocoa.” Natural cocoa is typically found in grocery store aisles, under brand names like Hershey’s or Ghiradelli. Dutch-process cocoa is often found in a specialty or natural foods aisle.
If you want to use natural cocoa, reduce the baking powder to 1 ½ tsp and add 1 ½ tsp baking soda to the mix.
The homemade chocolate cake mix recipe is below, but if you want to make it into a cake or cupcakes, here’s how you do that:
Chocolate Cake Using a Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe
- 1 batch homemade chocolate cake mix recipe (below)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled slightly to room temperature
- 1-1/4 cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (make your own)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare the homemade chocolate cake mix recipe as directed in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until JUST combined. Do not overstir the batter. A few lumps are fine.
Butter and flour two 8″x8″ cake pans, one 9″x13″ cake pan or line two 12-cup muffin pans with liners.
- for two 8″x8″ cake pans: divide the batter evenly between the pans
- for one 9″x13″ cake pan: pour the batter into the pan
- for cupcakes: fill the muffin tins HALFWAY full
Bake for 13-15 minutes for cupcakes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Check the cakes at this time too, adding additional time as necessary. Allow to cool completely before icing and/or decorating.
Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe
- Yield: 1 "box" of chocolate cake 1x
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used Turbinado)
- 3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa*
- 1 Tbsp baking powder*
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Alternatively, you can layer the ingredients if you’re giving this as a gift.
- This mix will just fit into a quart glass jar. Store with a lid in the pantry and use anytime you want to make chocolate cake!
* If your cocoa does not say “Dutch-process,” it is likely natural cocoa. If you use natural cocoa, reduce the baking powder to 1 1/2 tsp and add 1 1/2 tsp baking soda.