The Best Yellow Cake Mix: We Tried Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and 5 More
Pillsbury, Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker: Which brands make the best yellow cake mix? Our team tried eight different boxed mixes to find out.
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Searching for the Best Yellow Cake Mix
This yellow cake recipe with chocolate icing has a perfect five-star rating. However, we know that stirring up a top-rated cake isn’t always in the cards on a busy night. That’s when you open up the pantry and pull out the best yellow cake mix you can find.
How We Sampled Yellow Cake Mixes
For this taste test, our culinary crew gathered up eight different boxes to find the best yellow cake mix. These mixes ranged from store brands to specialty options.
Our team sampled these cakes without knowing which brand was which to avoid any sort of bias. After all, the brand that makes the best chocolate cake mix or the best white cake mix may not necessarily make the best yellow cake mix.
Each slice of cake was judged according to these categories:
- Appearance: Yellow cakes should look tasty with a golden exterior and a warm, yellow crumb inside. The color here shouldn’t look artificial.
- Texture: Our team searched for yellow cakes with a tender texture. The cakes should be moist but not unpleasantly so.
- Flavor: While we know there are lots of tricks to make boxed cake taste homemade, our team wanted to find yellow cake mixes that tasted great right out of the box. Our team searched for cakes that tasted of butter and vanilla with just the right amount of sweetness.
Eight slices later, our culinary team agreed on four brands that deserve to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
Most Like Homemade
King Arthur Baking Company Golden Yellow Cake Mix
Forgot it was your turn to bring the office birthday cake or to stir up some sweets for the bake sale? If you ask our Test Kitchen, no one will suspect that your tender yellow cake came from a box when you use King Arthur Baking Company Golden Yellow Cake Mix.
Yes, this boxed cake mix is that good. “This one really does taste like a homemade cake,” says Mark Neufang in the Test Kitchen.
Taste testers remarked on how this cake had all the classic yellow cake flavors of butter, sugar and vanilla, but it also had a hint of almond to create a more complex taste. Little touches like that can take a cake from plain ol’ box mix into homemade territory.
Yes, this cake was slightly denser than others in our taste test, but our team still enjoyed the moist texture. This cake didn’t crumble very easily and was a really wonderful bite.
Mark summarizes the appeal of this cake best: “Please serve me a piece of this with thick fudge frosting,” he says.
Fluffiest Yellow Cake Mix
Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix
Creating a light and fluffy cake from scratch can be a challenge. But with Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix, you can get a perfectly lofty cake with minimal effort.
“What stands out is the nice height and tender crumb of this cake,” says the Test Kitchen’s Maggie Knoebel.
Betty Crocker makes a yellow cake mix that has lift and a wonderfully light texture. It’s the sort of cake that may have you asking for a second slice.
Besides the texture, our team explains that the vanilla flavor of the cake is prominent and the color is beautifully golden. The fluffy nature of this cake may make it more challenging to frost with thick icing (think storebought frosting), but a super light buttercream would be the perfect match.
Easiest to Frost
Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix
Having a good structure is key, especially when stacking a layer cake or carving cakes into a new shape, like with this classic Easter bunny cake. A cake that’s too soft will collapse under the frosting or will leave crumbs tangled in the icing. Fortunately, this Pillsbury yellow cake mix “makes a sturdy cake that would be easy to frost,” says Shannon Norris in the Test Kitchen.
But don’t let the term “sturdy” scare you! This cake is still springy and tender with a classic yellow cake flavor. You’ll get notes of vanilla without any cloying sweetness.
Best Vanilla Flavor
Baker’s Corner Classic Yellow Cake Mix
“This one has really nice vanilla notes,” explains Mark. “It’s not overly sweet and is just really classic.”
When you stir up this Aldi cake mix, you’ll find that it doesn’t taste artificial. Instead, this cake delivers a smooth vanilla taste wrapped up inside a pale yellow cake. The sponge here is very moist and delicate which can make it more challenging to frost, but our Test Kitchen agrees that the taste is worth a few crumbs.
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing food, kitchen gadgets and cleaning gear looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
If you want to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests: