Looking for the perfect foodie gift? This Homemade Vanilla Cake Mix can be made in minutes! Just add the wet ingredients for a from-scratch cake!
This post is sponsored by Ibotta. All opinions are 100% my own.
Winter is in full swing in Oregon and I have the holidays on my mind. Finding gifts for my kids is pretty easy, but I have a harder time with my friends and hard-to-shop-for family members. Luckily I think just about everyone has someone who likes to bake in their life.
I put together a baker’s gift guide to help you beat the holiday shopping stress and surprise your loved ones with a tasty homemade treat! Pair the items in this gift guide with my Homemade Vanilla Cake Mix for any easy to give gift idea.
HOMEMADE VANILLA CAKE MIX
Like this recipe? Pin it to your DESSERT pinboard!
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During the winter season, when people think baking they usually think about a sugar cookie recipe or snowball cookies. This year, I’m championing the winter vanilla cake! It’s completely delicious and so adorable with easy to make decorations.
It’s also the centerpiece to my baker’s gift guide. I love the idea of gifting someone a premade treat and then giving them everything they need to make it again and share with their friends and family.
I picked up everything I needed for this ultimate baker’s gift at Target. Then I used my Ibotta App to get cash back on my purchase. It’s as simple as taking a photo of the receipt and letting Ibotta find me the best deals.
I can pre-plan and use Ibotta to find the latest offers on my favorite brands. Or just wait until after I shop. Whatever works for me.
Since I can use Ibotta on in-store and online purchased, I’m using the app to get cash back on my Amazon holiday shopping too. I get free shipping with Prime and the Ibotta App makes it easy to earn on the gifts I was going to buy anyway.
Easy is my favorite, especially this time of year.
If you’re a new shopper with Ibotta, you can receive up to $20 in Welcome bonuses! Not a bad way to make a new friend.
All offers were valid as of publish date. Don’t forget to check your app for details as offers change frequently and may not be available in all areas
While I was walking through Target, this cake stand called to me. I immediately thought of three of my friends that needed it too. I starting thinking through everything they would need to make this yummy vanilla cake, and here we are!
Baker’s Gift Guide
- Cake Stand
- Two 9-inch cake pans for yummy layer cakes
- A cooling rack
- Rubber spatulas (bonus points for a fun design on the paddle)
- Good quality metal measuring cups and spoons
- An offset spatula
- A pack of piping bags for decorating
- A mason jar of homemade cake mix
- Cute potholders
Think gift basket style for wrapping it all up. The best part is, your going to hand them the cake stand with this gorgeous cake already made and ready to enjoy. Who doesn’t love a dessert that’s ready to eat? I know I do!
One of my favorite things about this gift is the personal touch. Yes, you baked them a cake. That says “you’re special to me” on so many levels. But this gift is all about the details.
I made a printable recipe card to go with the cake mix. A lovely handwritten recipe card is a really nice personal touch that’s always appreciated.
This printable has 2 pages. One has the front of the card & the other has a lined backside for longer recipes.
Ingredients to make cake mix recipes
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
Take these ingredients and put them in a mason jar for gifting or to have ready-to-go cake mixes on hand. Just store it in your pantry.
What do you add to cake mix?
For box cake mix, the directions say to add eggs, water, and vegetable oil.
For this homemade cake mix, you’ll add milk, egg whites, butter, vanilla, and sour cream.
How do you make a box cake taste homemade?
Store-bought cake mixes can taste more homemade with just a few tweaks to the package directions.
- Add an extra egg to what is listed
- Use milk instead of water
- Swap out the oil for melted, unsalted butter
I’ve done this before and it makes a world of difference if you’re not baking from scratch.
How to Make Vanilla Cake
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Then grease two circular 9-inch pans to keep the cakes from sticking later. Set the cake pans aside while you prepare the cake batter.
- After that, cream together butter, egg whites, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix until everything is smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the side of the bowl if needed.
- Next, add half of the dry cake mix ingredients to the mixing bowl. Beat until the dry ingredients are just about incorporated. Then, add the milk and mix. Lastly, add the rest of the cake mix ingredients and mix until everything is combined and smooth.
- The last ingredient you’ll need to add to the batter is the sour cream. Mix it in using your mixer or fold it in with a rubber spatula.
- Once the batter is finished, divide it evenly between your two prepared cake pans. Give the bottom of the pans a couple of taps on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the top.
- Then, place the cake pans on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 25 minutes. When the cakes are finished cooking a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean.
- Use some potholders to take the cakes out of the oven and place them on a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely before turning the pans upside down to remove the cakes.
- To decorate your cakes, frost the top of one cake layer with vanilla frosting, and then flip the sconed layer over and place it on top. This will help give the top of your cake nice edges. Frost the top and sides and your cake and it’s ready to go.
This cake is perfect just as it is right now, but…
With snow starting to fall, I wanted to give this cake some winter flare. I used some snowman peeps that I grabbed along with my other ingredients at Target.
Then I made some pretzel candy trees and covered the whole thing in coconut “snow.” I even added in some coconut between the cake layers. It was so good!
I think it’s just the cutest cake and it was SO easy! No cake decorating experience needed.
How to Make Pretzel Trees
- Place candy melts into a microwave-safe bowl. Then heat the candy melts according to the package directions.
- Once they are completely melted, stir in green food coloring. Add as much or as little as you like to get the color you want.
- Let the candy cool just a little and then transfer the candy to a piping bag.
- Lay pretzel sticks out on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper. You want at least 2-inches between the pretzels.
- Then use the piping bag to make a tree shape over the pretzels.
- Let the candy set up and carefully peel trees of the paper. Now you’re ready to decorate!
Super easy and really cute right?! You can even add some sprinkles to your trees for texture. I liked mixing up the sprinkled and not sprinkled trees for our cake forest. Seasonal sprinkles will give your trees a fun holiday feel too.
To get the peeps to stand up on the cake I stick a pretzel into the bottom of the peep. Be sure to leave some of the pretzel showing. Then insert the peep on a stick into the cake until the bottom of the peep touches the top of the cake.
What’s the difference between a white and vanilla cake mix?
The big difference is that white cake uses egg whites only instead of whole eggs. This helps maintain the white color of the cake. Skipping the egg yolks does require a little extra fat (like oil or butter) to be added to keep the cake from drying out.
A vanilla cake uses whole eggs or a combination of egg whites and whole eggs which gives the batter a slightly yellow color.
More delicious cake recipes for the baker in your life!
- Red Velvet Cake
- Golden Pineapple Bundt Cake
- Cake Mix Cookie Bars
- Lemon-Lime Layer Cake
- Chocolate Kahlua Bundt Cake
- Classic Carrot Cake
- More DESSERT recipes…
- Stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. (Or transfer to a mason jar for storage or gifting.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
- Cream together butter, egg whites, and vanilla on low speed until smooth.
- Add in 1/2 of the dry cake mix ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the milk and mix again. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Add sour cream and beat until completely mixed together.
- Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool completely. Ice with vanilla frosting and cut into 12 slices.
- This recipe will make two 9-inch cakes or one 9-inch x 13-inch cake.
- Servings and nutrition will vary by how you cut the cake.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
- Then add the egg whites and mix.
- After than continue as directed.