Small Cake From Half of a Box of Cake Mix

Half a Cake
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  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 Cake (4 Servings)

Sometimes you don't need a whole box of cake mix. You can use half of the box of cake mix to make a smaller cake and save the rest for another time.

Cake mixes typically come in 15.25- to 18-ounce boxes. This is enough mix for two 8-inch or 9-inch rounds for a layer cake, a 13-by-9-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes. That can be too much cake if you have a small family. You won't want to waste a full-size cake (or stuff yourselves trying to eat it all). You may only need to make a small cake for another recipe, such as a trifle or cake pops, or you might only want half of a batch of cupcakes.

You can customize this recipe by stirring in a small amount of other ingredients—about half a cup. You could add some chocolate chips, nuts, dried cherries or cranberries, sprinkles, or anything else you'd like.

Be sure to read the instructions on the box if you are using a fancier type of cake mix that already has add-ins or requires extra ingredients. It is usually safe to just use half of the amounts listed.


  • 1 3/4 cups cake mix (half of a 15.25 to 18-ounce box)
  • 2/3 cup water (or milk or fruit juice)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch square or round cake pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour and set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil, and egg; mix until combined, then beat for 1 minute at medium speed. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.

  3. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should also be pulling away from the sides of the pan.

  4. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack, then frost or dust with powdered sugar.


  • The results can vary for different types of cake mix, so check the finished cake to see how it turns out. The baking time will vary depending on your oven—this is always something that requires checking for doneness rather than relying on a timer. You might want to adjust the amount of water, milk, or oil added next time you use the half box of cake mix.
  • The unused (dry) cake mix should be kept in a sealed ziplock plastic bag to keep it fresh until you are able to use it. It is wise to mark a date on the box indicating when it was opened. Try to use the remaining cake mix within a couple of weeks. Even the small amount of air let into the packaging can start degrading the ingredients. This can result in the cake not rising as much. If you see any evidence of mold or discoloration, discard the unused cake mix rather than using it.