13 Cake Recipes That Don’t Rely On Box Mix

We all know how easy it is to make a mass-produced tasting cake using a box mix from the store. Sure, it’s fast and easy, but they also all taste the same. That mass-produced, chemically flavored cake that is so sickeningly sweet that you end up with a cavity after just one slice. It’s time to bring dessert back to what it once was. Delicious, not overly sweetened to the point of being inedible, and full of homemade, delicious flavors that only real ingredients can provide. These thirteen recipes will delight and satisfy guests without the use of a box mix.

1. Crazy Cake

Three stacked slices of Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Crazy Cake on a cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Crazy Cake is a combination of a true cake and a pan of blondies. It’s a delicious and simple cake that comes together easily without dirtying too many dishes. It’s great for get-togethers and sharing with friends and family. You can make a single-layer cake or double the recipe to create layers. A great frosting option would be either a chocolate frosting or peanut butter frosting.

2. Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Cake

A slice of Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Spice Cake on a white plate.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Cake is the perfect, small-yield cake for pumpkin spice lovers. Perfect for one or two people, it can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee for a complete experience. While this spice is often used in fall and winter, it’s a delicious cake spice for any time of year. If you serve ice cream with it, opt for vanilla, butter pecan, or pumpkin. This is best eaten the same day it’s made.

3. Whole Wheat Cake

An up close view of a slice of whole wheat cake on a white plate.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you wish you could have your cake and eat it too, this is the recipe for you. This Whole Wheat Cake is a delicious solution that tastes every bit as good as a cake made with white flour. It makes a perfect birthday cake, but can also fit in perfectly with just about any occasion. You can frost it with whatever you like. A wonderful filling is jam or 100% fruit spread. Even some mashed, fresh raspberries would be good between two layers of this cake.

4. Gluten Free Carrot Cake

A hand uses a spatula to lift up a piece of carrot cake from a row of square pieces.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This easy Carrot Cake is a delicious option for dessert tonight. It has all the classic flavors without any gluten. It’s great for the spring holidays or for any special occasion. It’s easy to cut and serve and pairs well with coffee or tea. A scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn’t hurt either.

5. Orange Almond Cake

Sliced almonds and an orange twist added as garnish to the top of the cake.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Something as simple as orange and almonds can make a surprisingly delicious cake. This orange almond cake is light, moist, and refreshing, with a hint of summer from the citrus. It’s a light cake made with almond flour that goes particularly well with a cup of tea or coffee. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would make a great side to this, but you can also try other flavors, such as butter pecan or coffee ice cream.

6. Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Two just-baked Healthy Chocolate Raspberry Cakes sitting on a sheet pan.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

While this was made in the shape of hearts for Valentine’s Day, you can make this Chocolate Raspberry Cake in a round pan for any occasion. Perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or just a fun and tasty Friday night, this cake is sure to make you want seconds. That said, this is a smaller-yield recipe, so it’s perfect for two people (or one if you want to dig in).

7. Blueberry Cake

A blueberry cake sits on a cake stand with one piece removed. That slice sits a white plate next to the cake stand.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This Blueberry Cake is perfect for spring and summer. Made with fresh blueberries and oat flour, it offers all the goodness of cake without gluten. It’s a light cake that is best served in a single layer with glaze. While you could certainly add a second layer by doubling the recipe, this is meant to be a light dessert that won’t overfill you.

8. Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

A slice of Instant Pot Chocolate Cake sits on a white plate with a fork resting at it's side.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you have an Instant Pot, this Instant Pot Chocolate Cake is a fun and easy dessert to make tonight. It has a small yield, so it’s best for one or two people. It’s quite chocolatey and pairs well with fresh berries and some tea or coffee. A scoop of vanilla would be appropriate for this, though you could also have a scoop of chocolate ice cream if you are truly dedicate to a chocalty experience. This is best eaten the same day it’s made.

9. Spiced Apple Bundt Cake

A Spiced Apple Bundt Cake with glaze sitting on a wire cooling rack.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This Spiced Apple Bundt Cake is made with oat flour. It’s a slightly crumbly cake and has a delicious flavor, especially with icing on top. It’s perfect for special occasions and looks quite nice on any dessert table. It’s great served with fresh berries or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and coffee. The spiced apple flavor is great any time of year and is reminiscent of an apple fritter.

11. Cranberry Upside Down Cake

A whole Cranberry Upside Down Cake resting on a wood cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

While cranberries aren’t available year-round, you’ll want to bookmark this one for the holidays. This Cranberry Upside Down Cake is what the holidays were meant for. It’s also a great way to use up any fresh cranberries you tossed in the freezer this past holiday season. It’s a delicious cake that can be enjoyed any time of year, particularly in spring or summer, provided you can get the cranberries, of course. But if you don’t have those, try blueberries or raspberries instead.

12. Blueberry Lemon Mug Cake

A lemon blueberry mug cake in a teacup with a saucer is garnished with fresh blueberries and fresh lemon zest.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If a single serving of cake sounds like something you could go for, this recipe could be perfect for you. Sometimes, we just need a little cake without buying or making the whole thing. This Blueberry Lemon Mug Cake lets you make a single serving of cake without the worry of leftovers staring back at you from the fridge. But be careful. You may want to make a second batch.

13. Chocolate Mug Cake

Chocolate Mug Cake, Homemade Cake on Bright Background
Photo Credit: Julie208/Shutterstock.

Here’s another single-serving cake you’ll love. This Chocolate Mug Cake is what chocolate cake is supposed to be. It’s extra chocolatey to appease that sweet tooth you’ve been struggling with all day. Plus, with a mug cake, you have every reason to keep it all to yourself. There just isn’t enough to share. Darn.

More From The Gracious Pantry

A small white bowl sits filled with strawberry n'ice cream. A used wooden spoon sits in front of the bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

N’ice cream is a fantastically refreshing dessert option. Made with 100% fruit, you never have to feel guilty about enjoying this treat.

This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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