The from scratch cake mix I like best of all is for an easy but delicious chocolate cake. I double the recipe and make up several bags of this mix at a time. It’s as simple as measuring the dry ingredients — 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 8 tablespoons of cocoa, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons of salt — into plastic bags. To make the cake mix into cake, add 2 cups of cold water, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 3/4 cup of oil, and stir just enough so the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed… and that’s it!

Each bag of this cake mix makes two dozen cupcakes or two eight inch square cakes. I hope you will try this, because although this recipe is simple, the cake is wonderful. It is everyone’s favorite chocolate cake here!

I like to heat-seal or vacuum-seal the bags because then they can be stored flat and don’t take up much space in the cupboard, but of course you could also use ziploc bags or bags with twist ties. I put a label on each bag listing the wet ingredients to be added and the amounts.

Perennial phlox (Phlox paniculata)

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Hi, I was wondering the recipe you gave for the chocolate cake is that for one cake or more?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Laura, the quantities I gave for the mix are actually double the ingredients for the original cake recipe that I posted a few months ago. I bake this cake in an 8-inch square pan. You can find this recipe and baking instructions here. I double the recipe when I make the mixes because it’s just as easy to make a double recipe, and then I have enough cupcakes so I can freeze some. I know you’ll like this cake!


I love this cake! I made it this summer for my hubby and I. Thank you for letting me know that it was for a double batch. I can’t wait to mix it up and have it ready for when the urge for chocolate strikes.


Oh, I can’t wait to try this! Sounds wonderful.

mahmooda awan

i,I like to bake a cake from any cake mixes without eggs.Can you give me a recipies please.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

This chocolate cake has no eggs, and the applesauce spice cake also has no eggs. Both of these cakes are really easy to make, too.

Grazyna Paul

Is it O.K to use an electric mixer when mixing dry and wet ingredients. In fact I ask myself this question making other cakes and never found an answer anywer. Is it good to use electric mixer when mixing chocolate cakes or shoul I avoid them and use wooden spoon?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Grazyna, when I make the mix-in-the-pan cakes, I use a whisk to mix the ingredients together. The chocolate cake especially needs to be mixed just enough so that the batter is smooth. You could use a spoon, but the whisk does a really good job. For other cakes that I mix in a bowl, I do use a mixer. Usually most cakes (except sponge and angel food cakes) should be mixed about two minutes with a mixer, or about 300 strokes by hand once the dry and wet ingredients have been combined.


This recipe doesn’t require ANY eggs??????? What a money saver!!

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

No eggs, and also no milk. It’s a really nice cake… I think you will like it!

Lori Pendergraft

oh boy!!!!! A chocolate cake. I have been looking for a good cake mix that’s not a big fuss. Too many birthdays coming up and can’t do boxed any longer. Thanks for the info.


Hi I have a question what kind of flour do you use? All purpose or self rising.I am dying to try this.Thanks

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Marsha, I use an organic all-purpose unbleached flour for this, but you could use any all-purpose flour. This is a wonderful cake… I know you’ll like it!


This is exactly what I was looking for! I have a family party to attend tomorrow and I COMPLETELY forgot! Between mommying and working and graduate school something finally slipped my mind. Thought I’d make my delish Black Russian cake, but alas, not a cake mix to be found! Coincidentally the brakes are out on my car so no option there either. This recipe saved my bacon! thanks so much!



hi – does it matter which kind of vinegar is used? i have both white and cider…thx much!!

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Keri, I almost always use cider vinegar, but there have been a few times when I discovered I was out of cider vinegar and I used white vinegar instead… and there didn’t seem to be any difference in the cake. If I have both white vinegar and cider vinegar on hand, I would use the cider vinegar, but I’m not really sure if there is a valid reason for that.


My sincere thanks for this recipe and for your wonderful blog. I keep at least 2 of these mixes made up and ready to go all the time and I can’t imagine going back to commercial mixes. This is so much better. I love your blog!


Just a suggestion: I frequently substitute the same amout of applesauce for the oil in any baking I do.


Shirley, this cake is amazing!! And I’m vegan, which I find it is hard to come by a good cake recipe. Thanks for posting this recipe!

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Hi Emily, glad you tried the cake and like it. It is amazing, isn’t it, that it is so easy and so good? Have you tried the mix in the pan applesauce cake? That’s vegan too and just as easy.


hi thanks for the recipe…i just wanna ask if its ok not to put vinegar in this mix????will it affect the taste of the cake……just wondering……

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Vhann, why do you want to leave out the vinegar? It is absolutely necessary for this cake… without it, this cake is nothing because the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to make the cake rise. If you’re thinking the cake will have a vinegar taste, it does not… but if you don’t want to put in the vinegar, there would be no point in using this recipe. It just would not work.


I just made a large sheet cake using this recipe, and I must tell you it is absolutely marvelous!! It has an incredible silky texture. I have already planned on using this for my birthday cake in February. I just want you to know how much I love your website, and I dearly enjoy each of your articles. I find what you have to say interesting, informative and entertaining. Thank you for the terrific work that you do on this blog! Your words are a joy!

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Thank you so much for the encouraging comments about my blog and articles… your very kind words made my day! Lisa, that’s great! I’m glad you like the cake.


I saw this recipe and can’t wait to try it. Do you have one for a yellow or white cake. I make coconut cakes for the ladies aux for their monthly luncheon and would love a good scratch yellow or white cake recipe to use.


Great recipe. I used lemon pudding the kind that you have to cook instead of the cocoa powder to make a lemon cake. It came out great. I did increase the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and decrease the salt to 1/2 tsp. Thanks


Thank you for this recipe. A friend made this cake for my family because my son is very allergic to dairy and eggs. It was delicious and Ryan, my 4 year old son, was so excited because he could eat something that someone made for our family.

Dale Lindamood

Well,I’m looking forward to giving this a try, for a number of reasons. One is that I’m continuing to try to consume only actual foods, unadulterated with msg, high fructose corn sugar and so forth, and have been looking for a VERY chocolatey home-made cake, so this is another one to try. (I may just need to double the chocolate and sugar in whatever recipe I use.) Another reason is that I love the idea of making several ready-to-go mixes to have on hand, and/or to make a batch of cupcakes as well as a cake, because you’re right, it takes almost no extra time to do so, with big time benefits later. A third reason is that the other from scratch cakes I’ve made have used eggs, which I’ve even separated and whipped to peaked whites and gently folded in, but still the cake seems to end up more like brownies — compressed. I’m hoping this one will stand a little taller. But even if it doesn’t, the rave reviews are worth the try. Thanks for sharing your recipe and insights. dl


I made the cake and it turned out great. Thank you for sharing. I tried turning it into a vanilla cake and I didn’t get it to work. It was dense, heavy, pancakey and just didn’t taste good.
do you have a recipe for a white cake like this one?


What is the shelf life of the homemade prepared mix. I love the idea of being all natural ingredients.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Diana, it would depend mostly on how airtight your packaging was. All of the ingredients are dry, so I would think it would be the same as for each individual ingredient before you combined them as a mix.


It was very good. I am very happy that I don’t need to buy cake mix anymore.

Deb in Indiana

This is a great cake — I have made it over the last 30 years, and it was all my kids’ birthday cakes for many years.

One suggestion: if you are making the mix to store, try storing it in a canning jar. I just like them better than baggies, they can be very airtight, and you can use them forever.


Shirley, I could kiss you! This is the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever tasted. I made mine into cupcakes. Talk about moist and rich. Hmmm!! Good!!

Thank you so much for this recipe!!!


Just wanted to drop a line to let you know how much I enjoyed finding your site. Living here in NYC it is hard to meet and find people who want to live “Voluntary Simpliticy” lifestyle. I have been a stay at home mom for 5 years and have enjoyed it very much. Reading your articles,advice, recipes, comments, help me to feel connected to a community (albeit) so far and wide as this blog,and a little bit closer to the simplistic lifestyle I feel is pulling at me everyday. Thanks for providing the place I come to at the end of the day to catch up with likeminded people, and to refresh and get more ideas on how to improve in my simplistic approach. I appreciate you and your hard work to keep this blog up to date and full and informative. God bless.

katie and yazmin

at home i love to cook and share my talent of cooking in the house and this is the website that inspired me .