DIY Brownie and Cake Mixes

Save money and time by making your own brownie mixes and cake mixes at home, from scratch. Whip up a pan of brownies in no time flat on a day that you MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE!

One thing I missed when I began cooking from scratch was the convenience of boxed brownie mixes.

The Chief loves brownies. It doesn't matter what brand, whether or not it has nuts, or if it's chewy or cake-y, he just loves brownies.

In fact, he'll even make brownies himself. As long as it comes from a box, that is.

Maybe I didn't miss the brownie mix so much; what I missed was my husband making brownies. Even though he loves my from-scratch brownies, he won't make them.

We went through a period of brownie-withdrawal until I figured out a solution: made-from-scratch brownies, in a convenient upcycled box. Read on to find out how and why that happened, and how you too can make your own from-scratch brownie (and cake) mixes.

How I made my own brownie mixes

After all, a box of brownie mix is simply a convenient, pre-measured mixture of dry ingredients with mixing and baking instructions.

Right? So why not measure out my favorite from-scratch recipe ahead of time?

This is how I make chili seasoning packets too. And while I have all the ingredients out on the kitchen counter, I measure out several batches at the same time, so that I make half a dozen little jars of chili seasoning to use the next six times I make chili for dinner.

By making more than one batch at a time, I save the time it takes to get out and put away the ingredients, containers, and the measuring cups and spoons every time I want to make chili seasoning or brownies. I make six labels at the same time, and put six little jars of chili seasoning or containers of brownie mix on my pantry shelf.

Making the mix

To make a brownie mix, simply measure out the dry ingredients in the recipe into a mixing bowl. Yep, it's that easy. Don't measure or add any of the wet ingredients.

Save time and money by assembling your own from-scratch brownie mixes. Yes please!

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt (well, that's what's in my favorite brownie recipe. If there are additional or different dry ingredients in your recipe, follow your recipe and measure them into the mixing bowl) just as though I'm making a batch of brownies.

But don't add the wet ingredients.

Instead, stir it all together, and put into a zipper bag. I use freezer bags for the added durability. In other words, when the Chief or I make brownies, the empty bag goes into a drawer so I can refill it with another batch of homemade brownie mix in the future.

Make your own brownie and cake mixes to save money and save time. Brownies in a snap on a frazzled day - yes please!

Label the bag so you won't forget what's in it. Then add another label to the bag with the amounts of wet ingredients (oil, vanilla, egg, etc), and the mixing and baking directions.

That's an important step; it can be easy to lose the directions if they're not attached to the container.

If you'd rather not use plastic, you can pour the dry ingredients into a canning or Mason jar instead, but I prefer the bag because of the next step...

How I package the mixes for the pantry shelf

This might sound like a bit of subterfuge, but I'm not trying to hide anything!

It wasn't long after making the first couple of bags of brownie mix that I realized the Chief still wasn't making brownies. He'd ask if we had a box, but when I said we had a homemade mix, he didn't seem interested.

I finally asked him why. His answer? He doesn't "see" the bags on the pantry shelves. He's not going to dig through a basket of zipper bags looking for a brownie mix. It just isn't the same. He said he wanted a box.

So I gave him what he asked for.

I put a label with the mixing and baking directions on an empty brownie mix box, covering the directions that are on the box. Then the zipper bag with the brownie mix goes inside the box, and the box goes on my shelf. This makes it easy to spot and easy to identify as "brownie mix."

Let's face it, a lifetime of conditioning (looking for a box of brownie mix) is hard to change!

Yes, you might have to plan ahead and save a box, or even buy one last convenient mix from the grocery store, but it was worth it to me.

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You've probably noticed I haven't included a recipe, just a method.

The thing is, I've realized that there are a lot of different brownie recipes and everyone seems to have their favorite kind: fudgy, chewy or cakey, double chocolate, expresso-flavored, and so on.

This way you can use your favorite recipe, your favorite brand of cocoa powder, whole wheat or white or gluten-free flour, and add chocolate chips if the recipe calls for them. Add nuts or not. Or use a recipe for blond brownies or even mint chocolate brownies.

The concept is the same: simply measure the dry ingredients, add a label with the rest of the ingredients and the baking directions, and you're ready to stock your pantry shelves.

But if you insist, you can try my favorite brownie recipe.

Save money by making your own from-scratch brownie and cake mixes.

You can make cake mixes too

It's just as easy to make cake mixes from scratch too. Choose your favorite cake recipe, mix the dry ingredients, package it for the pantry shelf, and add a label with the rest of the ingredients (and their amounts) and the mixing and baking directions.

Here is my favorite cake recipe - chocolate, of course.

If you're into yellow cake, try this one. And did you know that the difference between a white cake and a yellow cake is simply adding or not adding egg yolks?

You'll save money by making your own

Baking from scratch saves money over buying convenient boxed mixes. Once you find a good recipe for brownies or cake, declare it your favorite and stick with it. Then pre-measure the ingredients, package them up with a label and, if you're like me, put the zipper bag inside a box so it's easy to spot in your pantry.

It's so easy to stock convenient "boxed" mixes in your pantry and save money too.

And of course you'll eat healthier too, without the preservatives in those mixes from the grocery store. Wait, are brownies and cake healthy? Well, we all need a bright spot of sweetness in our lives occasionally. Birthdays come to mind...

Because they're made without preservatives, remember to rotate your food storage regularly - as if you'd let a brownie mix sit on your shelves for months or years, right?

How to make your own brownie and cake mixes to save money and skip the preservatives!

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  1. That's such a great idea, your own brownie mix! And the recipe sounds quite straight forward. I will have to try that.

  2. Thank you, Salma. It's a delicious recipe, but your favorite one will do. And there you go, a brownie mix that has no preservatives.


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