One Cake 5 Ways

This moist, sweet and tender cake is easy to make with homemade vanilla cake mix. This decadent dessert can take on different yummy flavors like pistachio, coconut and more. Learn how to make One Cake 5 Ways – and they’re all delicious!

A Collage of Slices of Cake in Vanilla, Lemon, Banana, Pistachio and Coconut Flavors

One Cake 5 Ways

Today’s recipe takes one super easy cake and shows you how to mix it up into five different flavors! Each is delicious and super moist. Pistachio, banana, lemon, coconut and vanilla – take your pick!

So you may remember the Homemade Vanilla Cake Mix I shared with you a few weeks ago. Well, I expanded upon that today and added pudding mix to the batter!

Like most cake mixes you buy at the store that come with “pudding in the mix!”, I decided to add some pudding to the mix. It not only adds moisture to the cake that lasts for days, it adds some fun and different flavors without having to change your recipe. I’m loving it! I’ve also included a couple different frosting options that are easy to adjust to the cake flavor you choose. One is a more standard buttercream and the other is a cream cheese frosting.

So to start, we’ve got our standard vanilla cake. You could certainly leave out the pudding mix, but it totally amplifies the vanilla flavor and adds moisture that lasts and lasts. I paired it with a vanilla buttercream, but you could change it up for the cream cheese frosting – or add some flavored extract.

A Plate Holding a Slice of Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Sprinkles

Next up is the coconut. Again, so much amped up flavor and moisture. And with a coconut frosting – summer in a cake pan!

A Piece of Coconut Cake Topped with Frosting and Toasted Coconut

I also tried one of the new JELLO “Simply Good” pudding mixes in the banana flavor. I considered using the regular banana pudding flavored mix, which would totally work too, but I loved the idea of a more natural banana flavor. It was perfect in this cake! And when paired with the cream cheese frosting – it’s the jam!

A Slice of Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a Plate

Another delicious option is the pistachio pudding. Such a great way to give a cake some pistachio flavor! I topped it with some cream cheese frosting with a little honey mixed in and some chopped up pistachios. I’d be lying if I said I’m not slightly in love with pistachios these days, and this cake just made them even better!

A Piece of Pistachio Cake Topped with Crushed Pistachios on a Plate

And last, but not least – lemon! Citrus can be tricky when baked into a cake, so this is a great, easy way to make a moist and easy lemon cake. It’s perfect with a cream cheese frosting – yum!

A Slice of Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Lemon Garnish

I did try a few other pudding flavors, but these were the ones I found to be most successful. One I really wanted to work out well was the butterscotch and sadly, even though it baked fine, the flavor didn’t come through. 🙁

All five cake options are delicious and super easy to make! It’s such a great way to mix up a cake flavor without a lot of fuss. Plus, the cakes are super moist! I hope you have fun switching it up!

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A Slice of Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a Plate

One Cake 5 Ways

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This moist, sweet and tender cake is easy to make with homemade vanilla cake mix. This decadent dessert can take on different yummy flavors like pistachio, coconut and more. Learn how to make One Cake 5 Ways – and they’re all delicious!



  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3.4 oz instant pudding mix*
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot water


  • 3/4 cup (168g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp flavored extract
  • 3 tbsp (34ml) water or milk**


  • 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (57g) butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups (518g) powdered sugar
  • 23 tbsp (30-45ml) water or milk**



1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and grease a 9×13 inch cake pan.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pudding mix in a large mixer bowl.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
6. Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
7. Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.


1. Combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
2. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add the flavor extract of your choosing (vanilla, coconut, etc) and the water or milk and mix until smooth.
4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
5. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake.


1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
2. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add the water or milk and mix until smooth.
4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
5. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake.


Feel free to use the pudding mix of your choice. I used Jello brand and found vanilla, coconut cream, banana, pistachio and lemon to work the best.

The milk or water can be replaced with another flavoring, such as honey, lemon juice or something else to add additional flavor to the frosting.

Makes 12-16 servings.

Nutrition info is for any flavor of cake with buttercream frosting.

Keywords: vanilla cake recipe, easy vanilla cake recipe, coconut cake, coconut cake recipe, lemon cake, easy lemon cake recipe, banana cake, banana cake recipe


One Homemade Cake Mix - 5 different flavors! Easy to make and switch up!

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Recipe rating

  1. Kelly

    Hi I love this cake recipe so much I have made it a lot,but yesterday I made this cake for a lady and she told me it was really gummy, didn’t taste l8me it was cooked and tasted like cake pop consistency? I don’t know what I did wrong?

    1. Lindsay

      Unfortunately this is a result that some people seem to get (check out the comments on these vanilla cupcakes, which is this recipe in cupcake form). It’s interesting that you have had it work several times and then gotten this result. I’ve never been able to recreate it myself to say what goes wrong. I’m sorry!

  2. Laura Maring

    Wow! Finally found a great recipe for moist cake! We changed the recipe to use for cupcakes which worked even better. Very pourable into the liners. The final product was super moist. 2 thumbs up!

  3. Rama

    That is a great recipe but i have egg allergy.. Can i add this pudding mix to eggless cake recipe? Do you think it works?

  4. Susan Curry

    Hi there, love this recipe and would like to know if I can bake it is 9″ round cake pans and if so how many cake pans do I need 2 or 3?

  5. Miryana curcic

    Hi, yr video states baking soda, however, your written recipe shows baking powder, could you please clarify which powder to use.

      1. Enid

        Could you please make it? This recipe of yours is a hit, a chocolate version would be to die for.

  6. faz

    Hi, I want to bake using banana flavoured pudding mix but wondered if I could add 1-2 ripe mashed bananas too for that real touch of banana, or would that affect the end result? Thanks

  7. Julia Geivet

    Hi – I’m baking this right now and it’s in the oven, but the cake mix smelled like corn bread. Is that normal?

  8. Rezvan Mansouri

    Helllo. Decided to make this my for a birthday. Just wanna know do I have to change the recipe for 3*9 inches pan?and also can I make this in advance and put it in the freezer? Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      It really just depends on how tall you want your cake to be. You could leave it as is, but it wouldn’t be a super tall cake. I haven’t tried freezing it, but generally that’s fine. Just wrap the cake well and thaw it in the fridge.

  9. Zee

    I would like to make this recipe since I have been searching for from-scratch cake mix recipes with pudding mix added in. I noticed between your vanilla cake mix recipe and this one, the added sugar remains the same (2 cups). The added sweetness from the pudding mix is not adjusted, so I am concerned about this recipe coming out too sweet. Is this not the case?

  10. Laura

    Paula Dean has a fabulous strawberry cake recipe made with jello and frozen strawberries. Super moist and flavorful!

  11. Amy m Scott

    The first time I made this I accidently put hot water in with wet ingredients, it was suuuuper dense, but still tasted good, second time I didn’t let it cool long enough and it cracked all over…now I’m trying again and forgot the dang vanilla extract…hoping the pudding will bring it through enough…the main thing I have with the cake is the chocolate chip cookie dough frosting in middle and cake is kinda just ts vehicle…hopefully its OK..but this is a wonderful recipe!

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it before. You could try swapping out the milk for a dairy free one. I assume the pudding mix might have dairy in it too, so you could leave that out and just make vanilla.

  12. Tara

    Hi I bake this cake today and the cake did not rise at all it was a total flop and I baked it on the time that you said 35 to 40 minutes and the cake was dark on the outside and not done in the middle my oven was on 350 I also want to know if you can use baking soda as well and can I switch out the milk for buttermilk.

    1. Lindsay

      Without see it it’s hard to say what the problem was.

      The recipe requires baking powder. I haven’t tried buttermilk, but you could certainly try it.

  13. Colette Wachter

    My 11 year old daughter made this cake 100% on her own and it’s the best vanilla cake we have ever had! We added peanut butter icing and it’s delicious!

  14. Marc

    So easy, so moist, so wonderful! So versatile depending on your pudding choice, endless possibilities!
    I went Butterscotch pudding, Cream Cheese frosting with a caramel flavor. We all sat back in silence as we ate our cake, not saying a word, just in total bliss.
    Thanks, Lindsay

  15. Lara

    Hi is there anything that can be substituted for pudding mix as we don’t have that in the U.K. ? Would love to try this recipe. Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know of an alternative for flavoring the cakes another way. It would still bake fine as a vanilla cake though without the pudding mix.

      1. Farzana Patel

        UK equivalent of pudding mix would be Angel Delight although it doesn’t come in too many flavours as the US Jello version. Can also buy the US version from Amazon although not cheap

  16. Pat Costello

    Great idea, Lindsay! Tried the the vanilla and it was not only super easy but made twelve delicious cupcakes in no time. Jello has Simply Good Puddings in Choco Late and Strawberry, too, and I wondered if you’ve tried either of those? Both sound wonderful, don’t they? I’m thinking of adding some chopped fresh strawberries to the berry one and substituting a bit of cocoa for part of the flour to ramp up the flavors of the chocolate.

    1. Lindsay

      With the strawberry one – are you sure it was a pudding mix? Or was it actual jello? I tried the jello one (didn’t see a pudding version) and it didn’t turn out great. The strawberry flavor really didn’t come through. I’m guessing the chocolate one would be fine. You could also try this chocolate version of this cake. 🙂

      1. Pat Costello

        Nope, you’re right, it was strawberry jello. In our store, they have the Simply jello and pudding  all mixed together. Sorry!

  17. Annie

    Can this recipe be made in a round spring form pan? Or does it need to be in a sheet pan for the texture cake to hold together?

    1. Lindsay

      It’s a very thin batter, so you’d want to be sure it’s a very leak-proof springform pan. Plus, it’s going to be a little too much batter for a 9 inch, if that’s what it is. You’d need two pans for two layers.

      1. Sarah Taylor

        Question, why is it that in your video the dry ingredient baking soda is being used but then in the ingredient list it says baking powder?? My cake is baking in the oven right now, I’m really hoping it did not get messed up. Sorry, just being honest.

      2. Lindsay

        It is mislabeled in the video. Just follow the written recipe, which is correct. Sorry about that!

  18. Cookie

    I love using pudding mix for baking! It adds a lot of moisture. I love that this cake can be so many things! 😀 I was wondering if you could try a pudding mix for cookies? I have a friend, (and I’ve seen a lot of recipes) where people add a vanilla pudding mix to their dry ingredients when they make chocolate chip cookies, and their cookies are always adored.

    1. Lindsay

      I’ve never seen an orange pudding mix. I’ve seen orange jello – is that what you mean? I did try this with Jello and didn’t care for it as much, but you could certainly try it. The cake baked fine.

      1. Lin Stumpf

        Oh, I know, I have never seen orange pudding, either. Wishing there was! I was just wondering if you had any other suggestions (or recipes) for adding orange to a cake recipe.

      2. cecelia dowdy

        I made a cake with Jello back when I was in junior high. We made it for Home Ec for a fundraiser. It was a poke cake. We baked the cake mix then poked out holes and poured jello into the holes.

    2. Sherry Stone

      Can this be turned into a layer cake? I want to make this for my daughter’s birthday but I want to make a layer cake.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12