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A large slice of 3 layer vanilla cake with the full cake frosted in mint green buttercream with spinkles

The Best Vanilla Cake Mix Recipe

  • Author: PattyMac
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


My personal recipe for hacking a Vanilla Cake Mix.



For the Layer CAKE

  • One box Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp Butter Flavor Extract

For the Layer Cake FROSTING

  • 3 sticks or 345 grams of salted butter  
  • 6 cups or 750 grams of powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp flavoring. I used butter extract in this recipe.
  • Up to 1/4 cup milk to thin as needed
  • Food color if using. I used one small dab of Royal Blue by Wilton and got this lovely pale green. Not exactly what I was going for, but very pretty.


For the Layer CAKE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Make sure all ingredients are room temperature.
  2. Mix buttermilk and oil until well combined.
  3. Mix in Butter extract.
  4. Add Cake Mix.
  5. With mixer on low, add eggs one at a time making sure to combine each before adding the next.
  6. Run mixer on medium for a full 2 minutes once everything is in. The mix time is key to a successful box mix.
  7. Divide Cake batter evenly across prepared cake pans. About 330 grams per pan.
  8. If baking 6″ pans, bake cakes 28-32 minutes or until done. Mine are done at 30 minutes. If baking in a different pan, follow the instructions on the box.
  9. Allow cakes to cool in pans on cooling racks for 10 minutes.
  10. Once cool, remove cakes from pans and allow them to cool completely before decorating.

For the American Buttercream Frosting:

  • Whip the room temperature (67-68 degrees) butter until smooth.
  • Add flavoring while butter is whipping.
  • Add sifted powdered sugar in two additions whipping thoroughly in between each addition.
  • Add milk in 1 tablespoon increment until frosting is a spreadable consistency. It varies due to climate and temperatures, so add in small additions. 


Here are the big secrets about making the cake using my method:

  • Use buttermilk instead of water.
  • Use Grapeseed Oil for the Oil
  • Add the butter extract for flavoring instead of vanilla. It already has vanilla flavor. We don’t need to add anymore vanilla, but the butter flavor really adds.

I used a food scale to divide my batter at about 330 grams per pan, but you can put about a cup in each pan and then even it out from there.

For the Frosting:

Please note that this tiny cake uses a LOT of frosting. To be honest, I think it actually needs more. I had a little trouble smoothing the frosting how I wanted on the cold cake, and I think it’s because my decorative layer was too thin. My crumb coat was also quite thin. So the next go round, I will go up on the amount of frosting I make. This still made a very nice cake! But let’s see how it is to decorate with a thicker layer of frosting the next go around. Also, I have a full post and video on making American Buttercream, so I will include that as link for you by clicking here.


Keywords: Vanilla cake mix hack