Chocolate Durable Cake (Doctored Cake Mix)

I found this recipe on— I really like it for carving cakes….especially cakes that are tapered at the bottom (Topsy turvy cakes, Pillow Cake, etc.).

**** If you are using Betty Crocker or Pillsbury brand cake mix that contain pudding in the mix DO NOT add the additional box of pudding.

***I often double this recipe.

Chocolate Durable Cake for 3D and Wedding Cakes


    • 1 chocolate or Devil’s Food cake mix  ( I like to use Duncan Hines cake mix )
  • 4 egg whites
    1/2 cup water
    1/3 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 small pkg  (3.9oz.)(110g.) of instant chocolate  pudding mix (just add the powder, do not make pudding)
    1 cup sour cream


    Preheat oven to 350 Incorporate all ingredients together one by one on low speed.
  • Make sure to mix thoroughly between each ingredient.
  • Once all ingredients are mixed turn mixer to medium and mix for approximately 2 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes
Category: Cakes and Cupcakes, Recipes


  1. Genelle Grant says: #1

    When you say a small box of pudding mixture can I ask what size box ?

  2. Melissa Diamond says: #2

    Hi Genelle–sorry about that! I buy Jell-o brand and there are only 2 sizes :0) –The small box is 3.9 oz. (110g)

  3. Nona says: #3

    Hi, when you say Jello-o brand those it comes in powder ? sorry…. :(

  4. BeBe says: #4

    Hi Nona, yes, it is a powder

  5. Nona says: #5

    Hi BeBe,
    I will try this recipe soon, Are these ingredients besides the ones from the box?
    Should I follow the box instructions and then add the ones from you recipe?
    Sorry just trying to do it the right way.


  6. BeBe says: #6

    Hi Nona, I see how that might be a question. You would use the recipe above and not the ingredients on the cake mix box.

  7. Stacy Brown says: #7

    I use this recipe all the time. It makes a wonderful cake and perfect for carving. With my busy schedule, it’s great to put the “almost” home-made tricks to use!

  8. hedrindk says: #8

    When I do my recipe I also add to it. 1 cup sugar, 1 cup cake flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 envelope of instant coffee powder…It is awesome

  9. Rachael Pollington says: #9

    Melissa, I used this cake recipe (using the Duncan Hines mix – which I was able to find in our Australian Woolworths supermarkets), and it was amazing!
    My husband doesn’t usually like chocolate cake because it’s too sweet for him, but he ate quite a few slices of this one, with whipped Baileys chocolate ganache filling!
    I used the recipe to make a 3D car cake for a friend’s birthday, and was very pleased at how it carved, and was able to hold the fondant, and was still moist and delicious. Thankyou for sharing your recipe!

  10. Melissa Diamond says: #10

    Rachel, Thanks for your post. I’m so glad to hear it! The Bailey’s chocolate ganache sounds awesome!

  11. Wensday says: #11

    Hi Melissa!

    I already have a favorite Devil’s food cake recipe. Can I use that instead of the cake mix then from there i’ll add the other ingredients? Thanks!

  12. BeBe says: #12

    We have never tried that so I’m not sure if that would work for you.

  13. Sharon McKinney says: #13

    I have two questions. The first refers to Rachael Pollington’s response: she said she tried this recipe with ‘whipped Bailey’s chocolate ganache filling’, I was wondering when and how to infuse flavors with ganache/buttercream. I typically brush my cakes with simple syrup then wrap & freeze a little before I tort/layer. I’ve heard of people ‘enhancing’ their cakes by substituting the simple syrup with a light drizzle of gran marnier, champaign, baileys, etc or infusing the flavoring with their buttercream but never ganache. I probably wouldn’t want to drizzle baileys on my cake, use the ganache/baileys filling, then cover with baileys flavored buttercream :) but I am curious if all of these methods are common practice in the world of cake?
    My second question is about the above recipe (which looks delicious by the way-I plan on trying it soon) do most professional decorators use variations of box mixes these days? For stacking/carving wedding, grooms, and specialty cakes you need a dense cake (like a mud cake, wasc (cake central), or the one above? Until now most of my information has come from several different websites some say must use a dense cake for stacking while others say that’s what the dowels and separators are for. Thanks in advance, having all the info in one spot will make things so much simpler for me!

  14. Cathy says: #14

    I only have a question about how many times I would have to repeat this recipe in order to get enough to fill a half sheet cake. I have made this recipe for quarter sheet and circle cakes but never one quite that big. I don’t feel like double would be enough but I don’t know if maybe someone could tell me better. Thanks so much!

  15. BeBe says: #15

    Hi Cathy, this recipe makes 5 cups batter and you will need 13 to 14 cups batter to make a 12 x 18 half sheet cake. You will need to triple the recipe to have the amount you need……’ll have a bit left over for cupcakes:)

  16. Cathy says: #16

    Thank you so much BeBe, I would have never figured that out lol!

  17. fran luparello says: #17

    How far in advance can u make and freeze cakes and cupcakes as well as buttercream and still have a fresh tasting cake?

  18. BeBe says: #18

    Hi Fran, we use ours by the 2 month mark and they are fine. Just be sure to wrap in plastic wrap then aluminum foil . Write the date on the aluminm foil so you will definitely know how old it is. We have eaten layers at 3 months that were fine, we just make 2 months our cut off.

  19. Cindy Christensen says: #19

    If I was to make a topsy turvy the exact size of the tutorial on ur website would I double or triple ur recipe? How long does the batter last outside the oven before it won’t cook properly? I only have one pan for each size so I don’t want to waste batter if it doesn’t last long! Please let me know ASAP! I’m making a topsy turvy cake in 2 days!

  20. BeBe says: #20

    Hi Cindy, You would need to triple the recipe. You will have some unused batter for cupcakes or another layer that you can freeze for later use. I think it can be left out an hour and be ok. You can also refrigerate it for a short while and it will bake up just fine. It is a little more difficult to spread in the pan when cold. Good luck with your cake.

  21. Caitlin Casey says: #21

    Okay, I made this cake, and while the taste is excellent, they came out SUPER flat! Did I do something wrong? I used the Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake mix and put the batter in 2 x 8-inch square (s-inch deep) Wilton Aluminum pans. When they first came out, they were the perfect height and I was super excited, but as they cooled, they shrank to maybe half that (could even have been less…they are about 3/4 to 1-inch thick).

  22. BeBe says: #22

    Hi Caitlin, I’m sorry. It sounds as though they were under baked. Did a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake come out clean? Also, if you lightly press the cake with one finger and it springs back without leaving an indention this also indicates it is done. What do you think about this possibility?

  23. Caitlin Casey says: #23

    I tested with one of the Wilton metal cake testers and it was clean. When I looked at the top, it looked nice and smooth, and it was springy to the touch :( Maybe I just used too little batter in each pan? They did rise in the oven to the upper limit of the pan, but is this recipe for one pan or two?

  24. Caitlin Casey says: #24

    After (much) further research, I am thinking it may have been due to altitude. I made some cookies the other day and they were very flat as well, though obviously well done. I am at 4688 feet above sea level, so I am going to try this cake again but make some adjustments for altitude. I have never done this before, so any suggestions would be useful!! Thanks in advance.

  25. BeBe says: #25

    Hi Caitlin, yes this recipe is for two 8 or 9 inch pans.

    I think you are right, you are going to have the challenge of high altitude baking. I’m sorry that I don’t have first hand experience with this but this is a link that looked like it might be helpful.

    link to

    You might want to post a question about this on the Forum and see of any of our members have helpful information.

  26. Kirsten Clarke-Drance says: #26

    Hi Melissa
    I tried this cake tonight and was very disappointed. I followed the recipe to a tee and even though it gave all indications it was cooked; when I released from tin if caved in and fell apart. I had a bit left over and make some cupcakes and they came out perfectly. Where did I go wrong?
    Thanks Kirsten CD

  27. Melissa Diamond says: #27

    Kristen- I’m so sorry that this happened. How large of a cake pan did you make? Since your cupcakes came out fine, it sounds like it just didn’t cook all the way through. Next time, I would try greasing and flouring a rose nail to use as a heating core. Just place it in the pan upside-down and pour in your batter. You may also want to reduce the oven temperature slightly (for example, bake at 325 rather than 350).

  28. Kirsten Clarke-Drance says: #28

    Hi Melissa – Thanks for the advice. I’ll give it another go.

  29. Shelly House says: #29

    I live in Arizona and I also had the same problem with the cake looking beautiful when it came out and I checked it with a toothpick etc. and it was baked. But when it cooled it sank. I was real disappointed, had to go to the store and get more cake mixes just to get the cakes done in time for the customer. I am thinking about trying it again tomorrow for some cakes that are due on Thursday.

  30. sophiescupcake says: #30

    Hi Melissa – I’m unable to find chocolate pudding mix in my country… would the cake be durable without it? Is there any thing I can substitute with?

  31. Jennifer G says: #31

    Can you use egg whites in a carton for this recipe or will it be too moist? Is it better to stick with the egg whites, au natural? Also, do the egg whites, water and sour cream need to be room temp? Thanks for your advice!

  32. BeBe says: #32

    Hi Jennifer, I haven’t used egg whites from a carton for this but I think it would be fine. I have my eggs at room temp but the water and sour cream are not.

  33. Grace says: #33

    Hi Melissa,

    If I use Pillsbury or Betty Crocker mix, can I omit the pudding mix since it already has pudding in it?


  34. Avril Pretorius says: #34


    Quick question – do you use a fan focrced oven. Just trying to convert temperatures to celsius, but not sure if your 350 is for fan forced or not.


    Avril :)

  35. BeBe says: #35

    Hi Avril, we do use a convection oven (fan forced) so the temperature is 325 degrees for us.

  36. Avril Pretorius says: #36

    Hi Bebe,

    Thanks so much for getting back to me so quick – appreciate it.
    My next qestion might be a silly one, but in regards to the instant pudding, do I only mix the powder in, or do i pre-make it.


  37. BeBe says: #37

    Hi Avril, You just mix the powder in. Do not make pudding. I’ll make that chang to the recipe. If you have that question I’m sure others will also.

  38. Mallory Farrell says: #38


    I need to do a carved sneaker cake, but she wants a Vanilla cake. Can I use this same recipe with Vanilla Cake mix and Vanilla pudding mix?


  39. BeBe says: #39

    Hi Mallory, here is a link to the Durable Cake for Carving from the recipe section. link to

    We like to use Duncan Hines or a brand that does not have pudding in the mix since you will be adding a box of pudding .

  40. Mallory Farrell says: #40

    Thank you Bebe!!

  41. Mallory Farrell says: #41

    Oh I had one more question. Am I right to assume since these cakes are dense enough for carving that also means they are dense enough to withstand fondant?

  42. BeBe says: #42

    Hi Mallory, Yes, it will hold up well to fondant. The White Almond Sour Cream recipe which is also a doctored cake mix with flour, sugar and sour cream added to the mix is also dense enough for fondant and some carving……just wanted you to know.

  43. Mallory Farrell says: #43

    Oh Great!! Thank you so much, I had an experience once with a cake and it buckled under fondant, so I tend to be extra sure so it dose not happen to me again. Thank you!!

  44. patricia reed says: #44

    hi i use this cake add coffee pd. then top it with choc gauche. the pastry pride with coffee pd. Kuala, and pd sugar enough to make a paste whip pastry pride until stiff add rest use 2 d tip and make swirl. so good. i only do cupcakes.

  45. Melissa Diamond says: #45

    Patricia- that sounds wonderful!!

  46. Ardis Neland says: #46

    I am making a 2 teir cake with 6 in. and 9 in. wilton pans. Should I triple this receipe?

  47. BeBe says: #47

    Hi Ardis, you should be fine with doubling the recipe.

  48. Anny bakes... says: #48

    Will this one recipe be enough for two 8 in. cakes?

  49. BeBe says: #49

    Hi Anny, yes, two 8 inch layers

  50. Nadeen says: #50

    would you say this recipe is enough for a sheet cake size 9 x 13?

  51. BeBe says: #51

    Hi Nadeen, you would need to double the recipe to have enough for your 9 x 13

  52. Nadeen says: #52

    thx for the quick reply :)

  53. Nadeen says: #53

    one more question: this may sound stupid. to double the recipe that means to use two cake mixes and two instant pudding mix, right?

  54. BeBe says: #54

    Hi Nadeen, yes that is right ………everything twice. I prefer to use Duncan Hines for this because it does not have pudding in the cake mix.

  55. Nadeen says: #55

    would it be ok to use Betty Crocker though?
    i couldn’t find Duncan Hines

  56. BeBe says: #56

    Hi Nadeen, yes, it will be fine to use Betty Crocker cake mix but since it has pudding in the mix, do not add the box of pudding or you would have double pudding.

    You could also use the Chocolate Sour Cream Cake recipe (a doctored Cake Mix) in the Recipe Section. It would be dense enough for carving and fondant. I like it very much.

  57. renee Mikulin says: #57

    Is this recipe for the old- 18.25 ox boxes of cake mix or the ones with less ?

  58. BeBe says: #58

    Hi, Renee, we use the current cake mix weight without any changes in the recipe. We do have members who like to add cake mix from a second box to bring the amount used back to 18.25 ounces.

  59. bequi cakes says: #59

    Hi Melissa and Bebe I would like to try this recipe but can you please tell me which instant chocolate do you use?

  60. BeBe says: #60

    Hi Bequi Cakes, we use JELL-O instant pudding and pie filling, the chocolate or chocolate fudge flavor.

  61. Joelma says: #61

    Could I use whole eggs (whites and yoks)? how many?

  62. BeBe says: #62

    Hi Joelma, Two egg whites equal 1 whole egg so you would use 2 whole eggs.
    The egg whites help to add structure to the cake, but I think you will be fine unless you are doing a lot of carving such as a topsy turvy cake.

  63. Joelma says: #63

    Thanks. Just pulled a batch out of the oven. Baking my second batch now as I need 3 layers. I added 4 whole eggs :) It worked. It is a fluffy cake but I changed my mind about carving so it will be fine.

  64. BeBe says: #64

    Great, thanks for letting us know.

  65. Rachel says: #65

    I am going to use this recipe in a Wilton ball pan – is 1 quantity of the mixture sufficient or should I double it? Many thanks.

  66. BeBe says: #66

    Hi Rachel, this recipe will give you 4 to 4 1/2 batter and that will be enough for the Wilton ball pan. Here is a link to ball pan instructions, link to

    Have you used the ball pan before? I bake at 325 degrees and use a rose nail in the pan. It takes a long time to bake so toward the end of baking I cover with aluminum foil to help prevent it from becoming too dark.

  67. Rachel says: #67

    Thanks so much!

  68. Fran Gentile says: #68

    Hello BeBe & Melissa, I’ve never made this recipe before, and I know I would need 11-12 cups for an 11×16 pan. How much batter does this recipe make? Do you think double batch is enough? Thank you!

  69. BeBe says: #69

    Hi Fran, I think this recipe makes a little over 4 cups batter, so you would need to triple the recipe.

  70. Fran Gentile says: #70

    Thank you, BeBe!

  71. Stella Brown says: #71

    Hi Ladies
    With this cake recipe, one doesn’t have to add cake flour to it to make dense enough to carve? I was asked to make a 3D cake and it calls for 2 -9×2 inch rounds, would I have to double this recipe to fill that amount? thanks for your help

  72. Stella Brown says: #72

    I re read my question and I meant to ask not state the following:
    does one need to add cake flour to this recipe to make it dense enough to carve? Can I use boxed white eggs? not to sound cheap but I hate wasting eggs if I’m only using the yolks or whites, so I was wondering if by using pure egg whites from the carton would be ok, I would just measure enough for the 4 whites called in this recipe… thank you

  73. Alberta Mote says: #73

    I have another question for you although someone kind of asked earlier I didn’t see a reply to her. Why use a cake mix with out pudding when you are going to turn around & put a box of pudding in the mix. It can be difficult to find cake mix without pudding in it especially since I have to send my husband or daughter & son-in-law shopping for me. They said they didn’t even know anyone ever made cakes without pudding in them. Thank you.

  74. BeBe says: #74

    Hi Alberta, When you add pudding mix to a cake mix (that does not have pudding in the mix) it will be more dense than using a pudding in the mix cake mix. Duncan Hines brand does not have pudding in mix. Is it unavailable in your area? It is fine to use Pillsbury or Betty Crocker brands that have pudding already in the mix, just do not add extra pudding. It will still give you a cake dense enough for carving.

  75. Stella Brown says: #75

    Hi Ladies
    I just wanted to say that I used this recipe to make a 3D Dinosaur, it was my first attempt at this and for a newbie it didn’t come out too bad.. The decorating part I mean…….. BUT THE CAKE………OMG….. I had a couple of pieces left and decided to try it, (I’m not a chocolate fan) It was the best I’ve ever had… Im sooooo glad I only had scraps left cause if given the opportunity I would have eaten the entire Dinosaur… The only thing I did different was substitute the water with semi strong coffee to enhance the chocolate… I just may become a chocoholic after sampling this cake…… I did use egg whites from a carton and that worked out real well….. Im sure the kids that dig into Dino will like the cake as well…….
    Thank You

  76. Lucille C. says: #76

    If you use Betty Crocker cake mix do you add pudding to it?

  77. BeBe says: #77

    Hi Lucille, When using Betty Crocker or Pillsbury brand I do not add the pudding mix.

  78. HollyLE says: #78

    This recipe had an outstanding flavor and will be my go to recipe for chocolate cupcakes. Unfortunately, I baked 7 layers overall and had the same results as many others. The cakes were fully cooked, looked perfect coming out of the oven, but collapsed as they cooled. I used 8 x 3 pans and thoroughly checked for doneness. I baked the cakes the day before attempting to assemble. The next day, I used bubble tea straws for support between the cake boards, but when I began icing, the layers, they began to crack beyond repair. I ended up cutting the cakes up and leveling them into a large rectangular baking pan. I served it on the side as Chocolate Pan-Cake! The whole pan full of cake was devoured! I was wondering if there may be something missing from the recipe? There has to be a good explanation, because everything else I’ve ever followed on My Cake School has been superb! ❤

  79. HollyLE says: #79

    I used Duncan Hines btw…

  80. Elizabeth Bryant says: #80

    OMG! I used this recipe for the first time today and everyone couldn’t stop raving about the cake. Most said it was the best chocolate cake they have ever had. Thanks so much!

  81. Melissa Diamond says: #81

    So glad to hear that, Elizabeth!!

    @HollyLE, I somehow missed your message a long time ago! So sorry you had trouble with the recipe. Really not sure why it didn’t work out for you. Sometimes inaccuracy with liquid amounts, or even with your oven temp (you can use an oven thermometer to double check) can be the culprit. I hope you’ll try it again!

  82. Linda Billingsley says: #82

    Can you use part veg. Oil and part butter? Thank you linda

  83. Alison Mathiebe says: #83

    Hi, I would like to make a three layered chocolate cake with buttercream icing for my daughter’s Frozen birthday. I can’t freeze the layers before icing them as I live in Europe and have a tiny European fridge. The freezer compartment is not big enough for the cake layers. Should I therefore
    use the durable chocolate cake receipe? I am going to be putting shards of hard candy into the top of the cake.
    Thanks in advance,

  84. BeBe says: #84

    Hi Alison, Freezing before you ice your cake layers is optional. We only use the durable recipe when we are going to do a lot of carving on the cake because it is more dense recipe. You will be fine to use any of the chocolate recipes (doctored or scratch) from the recipe section. The shards of hard candy will “hold” fine with those recipes. Let me know if you have other questions. Good luck with your cake. Post a picture of your cake to the gallery, if you have time.

Leave a Comment