2 layer white cake

Often the simplest things are just what we need. This 2 layer white cake recipe will win you over with its ease and enjoy the tender moist white cake.

2 layer white cake,easy and delicous super great shortcut recipe, decorated with camomile flowers, naked cake, sour cream frosting slathered on edges and topcreatedbydiane.com

One bite and you’ll be shocked this is made with a box cake mix This may just be the greatest box cake mix hack ever!  It does not taste like it has odd ingredients, no processed aftertaste and it’s not so heavy that it seems gummy. It really is the best white cake!

Starting with a box mix ensure the crumb on this cake is super delicate, but not fluffy… think of the great texture of the best homemade baked cake, with the additions you won’t only be able to make it with ease, but you’ll be putting it in the oven before you would have gathered all your typical ingredients for a totally scratch cake.

This cake recipe is simple and delicious and is sure to become your favorite two-tier white cake that you’ll make again and again. I’ve made many white cake recipes and this takes the stress away… it all starts with a Duncan Hines White Cake Mix, then you add a few times in, and wow… you get a really great cake. 

Now the flavor…

keep it simple with vanilla or add in some almond, or lemon or do what they call Princess Flavor and add all three, vanilla, almond, and lemon. You might recognize that flavor when you’ve had bakery cakes and can’t quite put your finger on the flavor it’s a combination that has plenty of great taste but not one is more overwhelming than another.

Gather the ingredients

why use baking strips? for even baked cakes, for flat cakes, no domb


Why use baking strips?

Because it ensures the cake will bake evenly, nice a flat, no need to trim cakes, no dome, cakes won’t overbake since the edges won’t overbake quickly and the center won’t rise above them, so the cakes are nice and flat and will look great, taste great and easier to frost when stacking cakes. Baking strips can be found here.

Prepare your pans, for even baked layers with no domb, use baking strips and spray pans with a baking spray a mix of oil and flour.

Mix up the batter and pour it into your prepared pans for baking.

Be sure your oven is at the proper temperature so that cakes bake evenly and won’t be too dark.

Allow the cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes then turn them out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

If you like a more dense cake, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze them overnight, the moisture in the cakes will be absorbed into the cake and the cake will then have a tighter crumb. The cake without freezing does have a great texture, I refrigerate the cake as I layer it with the frosting so the cake doesn’t slide.It helps to firm up the cake nicely without a super dense crumb. 


dreamy white cake recipe from a box mix createdbydiane.com

How do you make a box cake taste like a bakery cake?

The addition of sour cream with the box mix gives the perfect texture of the cake to replicate a deliciously fresh baked cake from a nice bakery.

How can make white cake mix better?

The additions in this recipe somehow remove the processed flavor that can come with a box mix, it’s simple everyday ingredients and it’s so great to have a simple recipe to use anytime you want an easy white cake.

How can I make a box cake taste homemade?

The addition of sugar, flour, sour cream, and melted butter gives this cake the perfect homemade texture and taste. 



white cake, made with a box mix with additions for a delicious cake creatdbydiane.com


The frosting I used is Sour Cream Frosting- recipe added in recipe card under cake recipe card


white layer cake, adjusted box cake mix recipe createdbydiene.com

I decorated this cake with fresh camomile flowers.

You can choose to add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon extract for a fresh lemon flavor, but Id omit the almond extract in that case but still add vanilla. Or a great-tasting lemon baking emulsion, which is my favorite to the cake and the frosting recipe for a really fresh lemon flavor.

make a cake mix taste HOMEMADE createdbydiane.com

You can opt to keep it all almond flavor… then add toasted sliced almonds on top or just along the sides of the cake while the frosting is soft so they will stick. Then place it in the fridge to firm up nicely.

white cake 2 layer white almond sour cream cake with camomile flowers createdbydiane.com

Or go with a classic vanilla. Use a delicious vanilla extract for the best flavor. I like THIS vanilla extract best, and their vanilla bean paste is wonderful too. All vanilla extracts are not created equal, they can actually taste very different, some taste like alcohol more than vanilla, they should smell amazing, it’ll really make a huge difference in your baked items.

box cake mix hack, white cake with sour cream frosting 2 layer createdbydiane.com

Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes

2 Layer White Almond Sour Cream Cake

2 layer white almond sour cream cake, easy and delicious. This doctored up cake mix cake will become your go-to cake recipe. Tender with a great crumb,
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 -12 servings


  • 1 box white cake mix Duncan Hines 15.25oz do not follow the directions on the package
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 4 egg whites from large eggs
  • 4 oz butter, melted which is 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup sour cream which is 8 oz
  • 2 tablespoons oil I use avocado oil, vegetable or canola would work as well
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract or almond baking emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste


  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or lemon baking emulsion


  • Prepare two 8" round cake pans. Use a baking spray or use a thin coating of shortening and flour, then wrap the pans with wet baking strips to ensure evenly baked cakes.
  • In a large bowl with a mixer add all the ingredients in the order they are listed. Cake mix, flour, sugar, salt, water, egg whites, butter, sour cream, oil, almond, and vanilla flavors. For a more intense flavor cake you can use more vanilla or lemon, but with almond more is often too much.
  • Mix on low speed until the mix starts blending, then turn onto medium speed and mix for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl and under the beater after the first minute to be sure they combine fully, then continue mixing until well blended.
  • Pour the cake batter evenly amongst the two pans and tap the pans gently on the counter so the batter is level in the pans.
  • Bake at 335° (not 325° and not 350° for a well-risen cake that isn't dark in color). I have the oven rack set just above the center and it bakes evenly.
  • I start timing the cakes at 30 minutes, then I test them about every 5 minutes until they are just set and a toothpick comes out clean when tested in the center of the bake.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool them completely.
  • Then refrigerate or freeze the cakes so they will stack well and not slide. They don't need to be completely cold or frozen thru, you just want them to be firm so they hold up well when stacked and won't slide.
  • Prepare the frosting, I used a batch of my sour cream frosting, added a thin layer of frosting in the middle, and top, and gave it a thin rough coating around the sides.
Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes

Sour Cream Frosting

A silky smooth slightly tangy delicious flavor, you can add vanilla, almond, or lemon extract to make the frosting just perfect for the cake you really want, it's customizable for all your frosting needs.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Dessert, Frosting
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar add more for thicker frosting
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • In the bowl of a mixer cream butter until smooth and add in the sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and whip until fully combined and smooth.
  • Use more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting or add a little milk to make it thinner.


Sour Cream Frosting createdbydiane.com

best box cake mix hack ever createdbydiane.com

from cake mix to homemade taste in minutes createdbydiane.com

Looking for a chocolate cake…

best chocolate cake mix hack createdbydiane.com

Give this one a try… chocolate cake mix hack, check it out here.


  1. Do you have any recommendations for high altitude baking. I use Duncan Hines whit cake mixes all the time but I add 1/3 cup of flour. I also bake them at 350.

    1. I don’t have high-altitude baking experience, but have heard more flour and less sugar so it doesn’t sink is the trick. It sounds like adding flour or reducing some sugar would help. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. If you figure it out, let me know 🙂 I’m sure there are curious as well who bake at high altitude.
      Good Luck!

    2. The first ingredient in a box cake is always sugar and your recipe calls for adding another whole cup …is that right ?

    3. Yes, this recipe is written correctly. Sugar not only adds sweetness to cake, but moisture as well. I know it might seem like a lot, but the cake is delicious and not overly sugary once baked, you’re also increasing the flour and adding sour cream… it turns out no on thinks it’s from a box mix 🙂 it’s a great hack to use on a white cake mix, I’ve even been asked numerous times to make wedding cakes for people when they’ve tasted it, I decline, and over the entire engagements they continued to ask, and they are also people who prefer homemade (not box cakes) so give it a try and tell me what you think 😉

  2. Could you use this recipe with any flavor cake mix? I did try lemon and it was good! Wondered about chocolate?

  3. I made this cake and icing for Easter and I’m just going to say this is the best cake I have ever had! I received so many compliments!
    Thank you!

    1. I haven’t yet, but it’ll fill a 9×13 plus have about 2 cups extra batter, you can make 6″ round or a few cupcakes. the cake should be baked for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick. comes out clean. If you bake it in a 9×13 let me know how it goes 🙂
      Happy baking ~Diane

    1. I haven’t used it, and have no idea if it’ll taste more “artificial” but if you use it let me know how it turns out, also white cake uses egg whites, other varieties use whole eggs for taste/ texture, so there may be some additional differences.

  4. I made this cake over weekend and put devinity icing on it and then covered with coconut and it was so good, so most. I wished I had had this recipe years ago when I was decorating and selling cakes. THANKS!!

    1. Sounds like a delicious combo! I love this cake recipe, and yes, I wish I used it years ago as well 🙂

  5. I was taught in a cake decorating class years ago to add vanilla, almond, and butter extract. It’s loved by everyone, tastes just like a bakery that used to be here that was loved by all and still talked about!

  6. Hello! I’m tasked with baking a three tiered wedding cake with 4 layers in each tier. How high is the baked layer in each pan? Is it high enough to torte into at least 2 x one inch layers?
    thank you!

    1. I used 8″ round cake pans that are 2″ high, the cake layers bake up to the top, so they are 2″ thick and can be cut to make thinner layers.

    1. I use salted butter as I prefer it, but use the butter of your preference, if you don’t prefer salt use unsalted.

  7. Can I substitute milk for the water? I’ve heard adding milk makes for a homemade cake taste.
    Or will it change the texture?

    Thanks, Rita

    1. I have not made this recipe with milk. My best suggestion is to make the recipe as written, it’s absolutely delicious, if after that you still feel it need to change then try the milk, milk will change it not only taste but texture, with the added sugar and protein in the milk, it might be “gummy” or heavy, as I mentioned I don’t use milk in this recipe. I bake a lot and have made many cakes, you’d be surprised how 1 change can alter the whole cake. It’s always best to try the recipe as written, then go ahead and test other versions if you don’t prefer the original recipe, but why change the recipe if you haven’t tried it as intended, you may not like the change but won’t know if the recipe was successful if you don’t make it as written. I hope that helps, I get asked these types of questions often. Lots of people change recipes before trying then, then think the recipe “failed” but without making it as written when it comes to baking, there are so many things that cane change with just one adjustment.
      Let me know how you like that cake 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I hesitated at first until I read your recipe and saw DH cake mix, I was sold on your recipe. Over 52 yrs. ago my husband’s next door neighbor’s mother made wedding cakes and she made ours w/ fountain and all (at that time was unique). She only used DH and I started using when baking our children’s cakes. Compliments, delicious tasting, moist – a winner!!!

    1. YAY!!! So happy you liked it, and I love hearing stories like that!
      Happy Baking ~Diane

    1. I don’t prefer lemon and almond together. So if adding lemon to the cake, I’d use all lemon or lemon and vanilla which is delicious.

  9. I have serious reservations about this recipe. I have baked a ton of cakes over the years, many white using egg whites. In my experience, using butter, oil or as you call for sour cream, that won’t make the cake rise. It will fall like a pancake as the grease keeps the whites from giving rise to the batter. Adding flour and sugar will make it heavy and gritty. Is this meant to be a pound cake? It just won’t be lite the way you list those ingredients.

    1. This cake has a great light texture not heavy/dense like pound cake. The recipe may not be what you are used to, but that certainly doesn’t mean it won’t turn out wonderful or have a heavy texture. And many people say this is by far the best white cake they’ve ever had every single time I make it. There is leavening agents in the ingredients in the Duncan Hines Cake mix. This recipe has been tested many times before posting 🙂

    1. I would not adjust this recipe without making it first. This cake is moist and delicious just the way the recipe it written. If you use milk it will be heavy, it also could not rise as well. Always make a recipe as written first before adjusting so you know if you like the recipe, this recipe has been tested many times to ensure a great cake in taste and texture 🙂

    1. Yes, it should be refrigerated. Removing from fridge to bring to room temperature before serving, just as you would a cream cheese frosting.

  10. 5 stars
    I just finished making this cake and it is incredible!! Mine had a slight texture of angel food cake but it was so delicious!! I would definitely recommend this one!!! Thanks!!

    1. I’m happy you mentioned trying the recipe AS written first. It drives me crazy when I see people leaving reviews for recipes ( good or bad) that they added this or that or reduced this or that …”sorry but you just reviewed an entirely different recipe.” 😂 great cake btw thank you

  11. Do to dietary restrictions, can apple sauce be substituted for sour cream? Do you have another recommendation aside from sour cream? Thanks

    1. The baking. Time will take longer to bake in a bundt, start testing at 50 minutes.

  12. Made the cupcake version of this recipe, making again this week for daughter’s any shower. Loved the texture and flavor. It’s a girl! White cupcakes with pink vanilla buttercream roses, making these for that special an event proves how confident I am that they will be delicious!

  13. I’m excited to try this recipe, but what are “baking strips” mentioned in step one to prep the pans?

    1. Baking strips ensure the cakes bake evenly Ana fla, you wet them, then wrap and secure them sound outside baking pans. Here’s a link to them https://amzn.to/3wFzjVW
      Alternatively you can cut strips of a terry cloth towel wet and pin them. It’s a game changer since without them cakes often get a round dome in the center and quick over bakes edges. The cake will be more evenly baked.

  14. 5 stars
    Loved this cake. Don’t make my mistake and try to go triple layer. Mine completely fell apart AFTER it was frosted and decorated. Flavor was still outstanding and we all just grabbed bowls My question is : can this basic recipe work for all flavor box mixes? How would you adjust the recipe?

    1. Hi, I’ve made this cake into 5 layers without any issues. When making layer cakes, it’s best to prepare the cake ahead of time and freeze the layers so they stack nicely and the cake hold together, room temperature cake crumbles easily. I’m assuming that is what happened as cakes don’t fall apart on their own, unless not completely cooled, chilled and then stacked.
      This recipes doesn’t work all all varieties of cake, as this recipe is specific to the white cake, no egg yolks. I’m working on a chocolate version and other varieties to follow soon.
      Here is the link to the 5 layer version. https://www.createdby-diane.com/2022/04/white-sour-cream-cake.html

  15. My triple layer error was probably due to the fact I make( tried) it Chantilly style. I think the fruit layers were too much weight. Every other box checked. I call it correctly on a rack and I also had layers it in the fridge overnight covered in Saran wrap. Anyway would really love to be able to incorporate this recipe into an apple cider cake (something with fall flavors). ❤️

    1. Yes, fruit can really effect cake and how stable it is.
      To make this into an apple cider (or apple juice) flavor cake, use apple cider in place of water, add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or pumpkin spice flavor, give it a taste and add more if needed.

  16. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    My mom made wedding/special occasion cakes when I was growing up. She always used DH mixes and embellished them. So my sister and I have done the same.
    I made this cake for my daughter’s baby shower in October. It was received with rave reviews. I’m making cupcakes for the second shower this weekend. I’m so looking forward to it.
    Thank you again!!!

    1. I love hearing all the food memory stories, and I’m so glad everyone like it 🙂
      Happy Baking!

  17. I was intrigued by your recipe. Each, chocolate and white, sound simply delicious. I plan to make the white/vanilla first. I would’ve signed up for your newsletter in a heartbeat, but I can’t take all the advertising. Jumping and rolling all the time make it somewhat difficult to read. But thank you in advance for what I think is going to be a keeper of a recipe. K

    1. Hi, hope you enjoy the recipe. As far as ads go… keep in mind that is how the recipes are offered to you for free/no charge. This is a business and ads are how I am compensated. Working without compensation is not a business, it’s more like a hobby. Which this is certainly not! I’ve been creating recipes and sharing them for more than 14 years on my website, so there will be ads. And while you may feel jumping and rolling all the time makes it difficult to read, so be it. Lots of people don’t prefer advertisement, but without it you’d be paying directly (like cable, streaming services or resort to watching ads) I have no intension to charge people to visit my website to view and print my recipes. Each blog post has a recipe that can be found at the end of each post. In the middle there is information and photos, all you have to do is scroll past any information you don’t need. Welcome to the internet 😉 Happy Baking!

  18. 5 stars
    This cake is very moist and delicious. I made this for my daughters birthday and it was a bid hit! Thank you for the recipe!

  19. 5 stars
    Hello Diane, I’m a huge fan of this cake recipe but wondering if you have a version for carrot cake or even any suggestions. Thank you

    1. I haven’t made this recipe into carrot cake, but you can add 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon,
      3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger and 1 1/2 cups grated carrots should work well. If the carrots seem really wet, squeeze them in paper towels so the aek isn’t too heavy and wet. The baking time should be similar.
      Happy Baking!

  20. Hi, I haven’t made this yet because I have a question. I see cartons of egg whites in the grocery, can these be used in cake recipes?

    1. I haven’t used carton egg whites, if you do you’ll have to let me know what you think.

  21. 5 stars
    Hello….I made this cake following the recipe and it was amazing. Love the texture and the flavor. I am going to making an 11” x 15” double layer for my husbands club and wonder if I can double the recipe for each layer? I will use a 4” cake jest core as well as baking strips to ensure even cooking.

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.


  22. Since the box cake mix is already supposed to fill two round cake pans, doesn’t adding all the extra ingredients make too much batter to fill the two pans? Won’t you have extra batter leftover?

    1. The pans will be “fuller” than how they are with just the cake mix from the box with regular ingredients added. They may bake and puff up over the rim, when they cool, they will be at the rim of 2- 8″ round cake pans that are 2 inches high, the cakes will look a bit higher, the texture of the cakes will be more dense (not heavy) instead of cake mix/fluffy cake how they bake with regular instructions. I have made this recipe many times and it might be surprising but the cake don’t over-flow… good news there.
      I hope that helps 🙂

    2. I would love to make this into a strawberry cake could I just add some fresh puréed strawberries to this would that work and do everything else the same what do you Diane

    3. Hi, I haven’t made this into “strawberry cake” adding puree or fruit will change the structure of the cake and make is soggy without testing it, more than one item would have to be changed.
      Here’s my suggestion. Use the white cake recipe and fill the cake with strawberry curd (I’ll give the link at the end, and top it with fresh strawberries.
      2nd option buy freeze dried strawberries and grind them into a powder to flavor the cake. This will give the best flavor without making the cake soggy.
      Here is a recipe I found using strawberry cake mix if that is of interest to you https://sugargeekshow.com/news/strawberry-cake-mix-recipe/
      Here is my recipe for strawberry curd if you need it https://www.createdby-diane.com/strawberry-curd/
      Hope that helps, I’m happy to answer any questions if you have more.

  23. Can you please confirm the amount of melted butter used in the cake recipe? Is it 4 oz equals 1/2 c of butter or total of 8 oz butter? Apologies if I missed some instruction around this. Thx.

    4 oz ½ cup butter, melted

  24. Just realizing my mistake. I think I was thinking tbsp when I said 8. Just to confirm, you are saying 4 oz equals 1/2 cup, so one 4 oz stick of butter (8 TBSP).

    1. sorry for any confusion (we added a new recipe plug in to the website and I can now see some catagories are not as clear)
      1 stick of butter is 4 oz.
      4 oz of butter is 1/2 cup.
      1 stick of butter is 8 tablespoons, which is 4oz, which is 1/2 cup. Do not double the butter.
      In the cake recipe, you’ll only use 4 oz of butter, melted.

  25. I am such a huge fan of this cake. Do you think it would be possible to make it into a pineapple upside down cake?? Any thoughts or tips?

    1. I’m sure it’s possible, make a brown sugar syrup, add the pineapple to the pans, then pour on the cake batter and bake 😉 you can use this cake recipe as you would any other, to fit your needs.
      Happy Baking!

  26. I will be baking this in my 13×17 in. sheet / jelly roll cake pan
    Thanks so much for the recipe

    1. 5 stars
      Instead of making into layer cake or into cupcakes, I made a jelly roll cake.
      Turned out fantastic

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