Large Layer Cake Instructions

 Please check out the revised version of this recipe here:

*Note, Duncan Hines has decreased the amount of cake mix in their boxes! Buy two cake mixes, and use your kitchen scale to weigh out 18.5 oz of mix (one mix plus about 1/5 of the second mix. Store the extra mix in a zip-type baggie in your freezer to supplement future cakes. (Thanks Emily, for the tip!)

Sometimes you need to make a cake for 12 or more people. Sometimes you need to make a cake for a big event. And sometimes you need to make a wedding cake. These instructions will help you to make a large layer cake that will taste like a bakery cake instead of a mix cake.

These instructions are for Duncan Hines Cake Mixes. These instructions won't work with any other brand of cake mix. Apologies to anyone who adores whatever brand (or bakes from scratch), but in my experience Duncan Hines brand cake mixes taste better and bake better. It's not a cake from scratch, but it's easy to bake with these instructions that they used to print inside their cake boxes. And apparently don't post online, as far as I could find.

The ingredients include less oil than the standard box recipe. The cake will be more dense and hold up to the weight of multiple layers. If you want to make a stacked wedding cake, find one of the many helpful tutorials online, or get a book to help you learn how to build the cake. There is a little engineering involved!

Large Layer Cake Instructions

One cake mix makes 5-1/2 cups of batter. Check the chart below to see how much batter you will need to fill your pan. If your pan is not on the chart, fill your pan with water, counting how many cups it takes to fill just over halfway.

Preheat the oven to 325° F. You will bake all pan sizes at this temperature. Grease and flour the pan well, including the sides. Pans deeper than 2 inches are not recommended.

Chocolate or Flavored Cake Large Layer
This recipe is for a Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix (Devil's food, Dark Chocolate, Swiss) or any other flavor (orange, strawberry, lemon, etc.) but not white cakes. They do not recommend using the Golden Butter, Fudge Butter, or Angel Food cakes with these instructions.
For each box of chocolate or flavored mix add the following:
1-1/4 cups water
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil

White Cake Large Layer 
This recipe is for a Duncan Hines white cake mix. For each box add the following:
1-1/3 cups water
3 egg whites
1 Tb. oil


Add any flour for needed for high altitude cooking. If you are making a big cake, you can use two mixes at once, but don't combine more than two mixes at a time, unless you have a big commercial-type mixer (or a Bosch).

Blend at low speed until moistened. Beat at medium speed for two minutes.

Pour batter into pan (just above half full – no more than 2/3 full) and bake immediately (very important to the texture of the cake). Don't under-fill your cake pan, or your cake will be a skinny-inch thick on the sides, and three inches tall in the middle. If you have extra cake batter left over, put it in the fridge, and after your cake is done baking, re-beat the batter for two minutes and make cupcakes. They still turn out fine, just not as good as if you had baked them immediately.

Bake using time on the chart below, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool 15 to 30 minutes in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Cut the top off evenly with the top of the pan to level the cake if you want to. Remove from pan using the wire rack to support large layers.

Pan sizes and baking times

Pan Size Pan Volume (amount of batter) Bake Time
6" x 2" round pan 2 cups 30-40 minutes
8" x 2" round pan 3-1/2 cups 35-45 minutes
10" x 2" round pan 5-1/2 cups 40-50 minutes
12" x 2" round pan 7-1/2 cups 40-50 minutes
14" x 2" round pan 10 cups 45-55 minutes
16" x 2" round pan 13-3/4 cups 45-55 minutes
18" x 2" half round pan 10 cups 50-60 minutes
11" x 15" x 2" rectangle pan 11 cups 45-55 minutes
12" x 17" x 2" rectangle pan 9 cups 35-45 minutes

Melinda's Notes: When I actually do make a birthday cake, I use these instructions, because I like the texture of the cake better. I like the 10 inch round, because it uses one box of cake mix for each layer. So, two boxes of mix, and I have a two-layer cake that will feed 18-20 people. Frost using decorator's icing, mousse, ganache, etc.


  1. ok these measurements work entirely fine as long as you add 1/3 cup additional dry cake mix per box. so….. if you need 3 boxes of cake mix, buy 4 and take 1/3 cup additional mix out of the 4th.

  2. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post. bakeries in conway ar

  3. Thank you. I've bee looking for this recipe. I couldn't even find it on the Duncan Hines web site.


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