Instant Pot Cake made with a BOX MIX is super moist and flavorful and much less porous than its oven-baked counterpart. Use any box cake variety of your choice! Nobody has to know this delicious cake was not made completely from scratch.
Why This Recipe Works
Does the Instant Pot ever stop blowing your mind?! Seriously, you guys, who knew that a CAKE could turn out sooo deliciously when made inside of the confines of the magical little Instant Pot?
When I took my first bite of my first Instant Pot Cake (and I’ve made many in the past few weeks!), I literally could not believe what I was tasting. The cake was super moist and flavorful beyond anything I could explain in words.
After that first batch, I decided to do some cake testing. I made a cake using the same exact ingredients and measurements and in the same exact pan, except baked in the oven.
There was a notable difference! The oven-baked cake was much more porous, less moist and overall just not as tasty. I absolutely LOVE this method of making cake in the Instant Pot. I’m telling you, there is some serious magic that goes on inside that thing.
Keep these things in mind when making cake in an Instant Pot for the best possible outcome!
- Normal 8- or 9-inch round cake pans do not fit inside an Instant Pot, so you will need to get either a 6-inch round cake pan or a 7-inch round cake pan if you don’t already have one. This smaller cake turns out so cute and perfect. I made two separate layer cakes for my son’s birthday this year and people RAVED about how they looked and of course also how good they tasted.
- I love the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot because it allows me to easily lower awkward or large things down into the pot. Use your trivet to lower the batter-filled, foil-covered cake pan before cooking! There’s no need to create a “foil sling” because the trivet gets the job done!
- I believe that the CAKE button on the Instant Pot has some extra magic built into it. If your IP has this button, use it! If not, use the PRESSURE COOK button for the same amount of time.
- I tested this cake with “extras” in the batter (chocolate chips or M&M’s, for example) AND without and the cakes turned out great both ways. Do not exceed more than 1 cup of extras.
- There is no need to make a from-scratch cake recipe in the Instant Pot! Using a box mix makes it so easy and you will be blown away by how good it tastes. Make sure you have all of the ingredients listed on the box before starting!
Favorite Frosting Recipes
Here is a list of my favorite types of frosting to slather all over cakes!
- Vanilla Buttercream
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
ENJOY this yummy cake, you guys! Will you please stop back in and let me know how it turned out for you? I’m so excited to hear!
Instant Pot Cake (Box Mix Transformed)
- Pressure Cooker
- 15.25 oz. cake mix plus any ingredients required from package
- 1 cup mix-ins examples: chocolate chips, sprinkles, M&Ms, caramel bits, optional
- 4 cups chocolate buttercream frosting or any buttercream of choice
- Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the Instant Pot and place trivet in pot. Coat a round 6- or 7-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Divide between two same-size bowls and pour the batter from one of the bowls into the prepared pan. Cover with foil and place pan on the trivet in the Instant Pot.
- Place the cover on the pot and set timer to 35 minutes on high pressure (cake setting). It will take the IP around 6 minutes to build up pressure before it begins cooking.
- When cooking is done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then do a quick release and allow the float valve to drop.
- Remove cover and check if cake is done by sticking a toothpick into the center. Remove pan from the Instant Pot and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully invert the cake and remove from pan. Let cool on a wire rack. Cut rounded top off cake. Repeat process with remaining batter.
- Spread frosting over the top of one cooled cake, top with the remaining cake and remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cut in slices and serve!
I have used this technique several times now. I have a rack and can stack two round covered cake pans in the instant pot. Perfect cake every time.
Love to hear that, Virginia.
Is the cake supposed rise? I’ve baked cakes 3 times using the cake setting at different lengths of time. I followed you instructions carefully with the same result–a thick, heavy pancake. I am an experienced baker and cook.
Hi Victoria – I’m sorry you’re not seeing the cake turn out. That’s frustrating! This cake box recipe bakes a little more dense than it would in the oven but it should not be a pancake, it turns out delicious.
Where you live can make a difference. If you live at sea level or are at a higher altitude. Our extension office was helpful.
I literally live at sea level
So I don’t have experience with this since I’m not near it but I do know that you more than likely have to lower the temperature and bake longer to account for baking at sea level.
What if I just wanted to make one cake? Couldn’t I just pour all the batter into one spring foam pan? Does cooking time change?
The smaller 6 inch pan that fit into my IP only used about half of the batter so I was able to make 2 smaller cakes. But if you have a spring form pan that uses up the batter in one and can fit inside your pot, then yes, you could cook one cake. I have not tested the time. I assume it might need a few more minutes. Let me know if you try!
Hi! What size of instapot did you make this in?
I use a 6qt Instant pot. Thanks for asking!
Hi… can we place two cake trays at once? one in the bottom part and one on the steam plate and bake both at once?
Yes! That’s exactly what I did Deshi. Thanks for clarifying!
What is the steam plate?
Hi Eric, you can buy accessories for your instant pot so you can layer things in it or steam vegetables but so the food isn’t on the bottom of the pot with the potential to create a burn notice. Hope that helps!
I made this for the first time and am hooked! It turned out beautifully and is just too cute.
So glad you enjoyed it! Such an easy way to make a dessert.
Making your cake right now and I’m just curious to know if it must be refrigerated or does it depend on the frosting type or if frosted or not. Thanks! Sorry about the anonymous e-mail addy 😊
Great question! If you are going to eat it within a day or two, you can leave it on the counter in an airtight container. If you want it to last a few more days, you can tuck that container in the fridge. We don’t have a lot of humidity right now so it won’t impact your food as much as in the summer.
I will never bake a cake in the oven again.
Isn’t it amazing what the Instant Pot can do?
My favorite share! I also use my egg bites for individual cakes – freeze them and pop out put in freezer bag reheat at 30 seconds in microwave for quick end if evening treat (I live alone) without wasting or having guilt.
Cover the egg bite also w/foil cook as usual
That’s a smart way to put your Instant Pot to use. I’m sure someone else needs that tip to transform mornings and easy meal prep. Thank you for sharing Robyn!
I have IP stacking pans that have silicone lids. I’ve used them very little because there was no instructions with it.
Do you know if that will work like foil? And can I use both at the same time to make a layer cake?
Hi Nola – great question! I don’t have these but I was able to look them up and they look like the perfect use for them to inaugurate your IP stacking pans with this cake recipe. I would give it a shot with both of them. Be sure to let us know how they turned out!
I have a metal stacking and stacking silicone- I haven’t gotten great results from stacking. Form pan with foil or 1 pan at a time with foil. They keep coming out under done. I have had beautiful results with.
This was the first recipe I’ve tried since getting my Instant Pot. This was the moistest cake I have ever tasted. I will definitely keep this recipe when I’m making a cake!
Kathy, I love that this was your introduction to the glorious Instant Pot! Thank you for sharing.
Curious as to why you split the batter into 2, it seems easy enough to halve the cake after it cools?
I like having two full cakes! You certainly could make your cake that way. Thanks for asking!
This turned out Perfect! Made a wonderful birthday cake for myself shared with my two beautiful daughters who helped with every step!!!
Happy birthday Jay! I’m so glad it turned out and was enjoyed by all.
just tasted the top i cut off of the first layer and oh my it is amazing thank you for sharing. i will be saving this one.
So glad to hear it Gina! I agree, it’s worth making more than once.
I have a 6 qt IP and a 6-cup bundt pan. Will all of the batter fit in it without overflowing when it’s cooking?
Hi Gim, I use a 6qt IP and have a 6 cup pan so that will be fine. Up to 7 cup pan should fit well.
How long do you cook it?
If you don’t have a cake button, you can set timer to 35 minutes on high pressure (cake setting). It will take the IP around 6 minutes to build up pressure before it begins cooking.
This is THE only way I will bake cakes again! I have made several since discovering your site at the beginning of October of this year. We have ‘game night’ with friends and I always bake a cake or 2 (or more!) and I get nothing but raves! Trying marble cakes this week!
Hi Karen – I love hearing you’re enjoying cake making way this style too! I am such a fun. Thank you for sharing and let me know how amazing marble cakes turn out!
The marble cakes came out PERFECT!! I did triple chocolate and yellow cake swirled in the pan and they came out amazing! I also changed out the oil for butter and I used whole milk instead of water on the cake box, and they came out so moist and yummy! I think I am going to do white and strawberry mixes next! I was also thinking that with how moist these are, I think this would be the perfect way to make cake for cake pops too!
Thank you for letting us know and sharing the details! I can see cake pops being great with this turnout.
Would you be willing to share which brand box cake mix you used? I’d love to try to do the marble cake – sounds perfect! 👌🏾
FYI: An 8″ cake pan WILL fit in an Instant Pot. I bake a Fat Daddio 8X3 cake pan in my 8 QT Instant Pot. I use a trivet with handles to lift the cake pan out of the Pot. I bought the 8X3 so I can bake all my (oven) cake recipes that call for an 8X8X2 pan.
That’s great! Thanks for letting us know. I have a 6 qt so I haven’t tested it.
Can I make this in a 3 quart with a 6″ pan?
Hi Lauren, great question. If you are using a smaller IP, as long as you can fit the water and the 6″ pan in, it should work just fine. I haven’t tested it myself but I think you’ll enjoy a great cake still.
I’m going to try this! I have totally neglected my ip lately, but with cooler weather coming, I really look forward to steaming up the house!
Yes, it’s Instant Pot weather!!
I’ve made this 2x now. The first I forgot to cover with foil. The top looks like brain creases. Perfect for Halloween! The second I foiled the top and while it came out smooth and moist, the center collapsed. How do you prevent collapse?
Oh man, I”m sorry that happened. So frustrating! I’m not sure what would cause this to happen. Without knowing too much about your situation, in generals cakes can have that happen if they don’t bake long enough, if they moved during baking, or if the heat didn’t get up to temperature when you started baking them (which could happen if you don’t preheat an oven but you were using an IP so not relevant). Also, you want to make sure your box cake mix isn’t old because if the leavening agents are old, they could affect the cake rising. Not something we think of too often but it could be related.