Box Mix Bliss

Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

There are a lot of baking purists out there who believe baking cakes with a box mix is THE DEVIL. Okay, maybe not the devil, but definitely an amateur move. The thing is, I am not in a real bakery and sometimes a baker needs to save some time. Plus, a lot of people find box mix cake to be far tastier than cakes from scratch!

Recently, I made an enormous amount of cupcakes in my kitchen for my future cousin-in-law’s wedding. My Sous-chef and I planned on about 150 (equal amounts of vanilla, chocolate and red velvet) and an 8-inch red velvet cake for traditional cake-cutting. The record in my smiley kitchen was about 100. When planning out what will bake when, I decided to research some box mix recipes for faster production.

During my research, I learned that many bakers will use a mix and add things to it like buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt or maybe an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract. The mix is often known as “cake base.” And if the internet says it’s true – it must be! I decided to keep the red velvet as a ‘from scratch’ recipe. That red velvet is a show stopper every time I make it and did not want to swap it out for a box mix.

And so the testing began! (My friends and co-workers LOVED me in January!)

Chocolate Cake Test 1:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

All I could taste and smell was the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and although some may appreciate an extra “kick” – I couldn’t take it. Every single person who tried these cupcakes loved them except me. So… moving on to test 2!

Chocolate Cake Test 2:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 package (4 oz) chocolate instant pudding mix
1 container (8 oz) sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

This recipe is called “Triple-Chocolate Cupcakes” in a cupcake recipe book I was given at Christmas. The result was a very decadent and rich chocolate cupcake! I brought some of these to work and I received MANY compliments on these. I only had a small amount of chocolate chips and a larger amount of mini chocolate chips in my pantry. People loved biting into the cupcakes and getting surprise bites of chocolate inside.

Vanilla Cake Test 1:

1 box white cake mix
1/3 cup oil
4 egg whites
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

You may have noticed that the vanilla cake is actually a white cake mix. But after you add the 2 tsp of vanilla extract, I’d say it’s now a light and fluffy vanilla. I am a chocolate lover at heart, but these cupcakes were my favorite. The consistency is just so smooth and the taste is was delicious without being too sweet. No more testing was needed on the vanilla front.

I ended up with this simple chocolate cake recipe since it was similar to the successful vanilla cake. I didn’t even do a test a run and went live with it on the big baking day. Although the “Triple-Chocolate Cupcakes” were big crowd-pleasers, it’s easier not to have to deal with pudding mix and chocolate chips.

Chocolate Cake Test 3:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This one actually called for a cup of yogurt but I used sour cream instead. I hate yogurt and although you probably can’t taste yogurt in the final product, I couldn’t even bring myself to buy it. Plus, since my vanilla cake recipe called for sour cream, it’s easier to just buy giant sour cream containers instead of thinking about an extra ingredient. This cake was moist and delicious. A definite keeper.

So there you have it – a few box mix recipes with “enhancements.” I think the enhancements help to dilute the sweetness of a box mix cake. And with the chocolate tasting less chocolate-y with the addition of buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla, I do believe it tastes more like a scratch recipe.

 

My Sous-chef and I baked 4 boxes white, 4 boxes chocolate and 4 recipes of red velvet over 2 days and it resulted in over 200 cupcakes. (!)  A new record for my smiley kitchen! We frosted the chocolate and vanilla with vanilla frosting and decorated with white sprinkles, white sparkles and white non-pareils to give a glistening winter wedding look.

We chose the best 180 and transported them to the wedding with pride and relief!

 

Related Posts

Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Leave a Reply