What would you add to the assorted flavours of cake mix to make them taste like homemade? I don't feel confident enough in my ability to follow a cake batter recipe, so tend to rely on cake mixes. I would really prefer to be able to say that I did something to make my cakes my own! Any clever ideas for delicious fillings between the cake layers would be much appreciated too. Thanks very much for the advice.
By Hanna Miller from Canada
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I received an email not so long ago about cake mixes, pancake mixes, brownie mixes, & Bisquick. It was a true story about a teenage boy who ate some pancakes from a mix that his mother made him for breakfast. After her son left for high school, she met up with a friend and went to a gym together. She normally doesn't take her cell phone with her to the gym, but decided to take it with her that day. She received an emergency call from her son and he told his mother that he couldn't breathe. He had to be rushed to a hospital for medical treatment. He's very lucky to be alive.
So much for packaged mixes.
Homemade cakes are very simple to make. I don't buy any mixes, make everything from scratch. Just read the ingredient label on a cake mix. I don't want to ingest all of those chemicals, or take a chance and get food poisoning.
There are recipes out there that tell you how to dress up a box cake. I would try allrecipes.com.
Meanwhile, the key to any recipe is to read the whole recipe all the way through first. This way you can check to be sure you have all you need and understand all the directions given.
I know you said you don't feel very confident in your baking skills, but please check out this recipe. It's probably my favorite "from scratch" cake recipe:
The batter will be very thin, but it's fine, the cake turns out great! It doesn't even need any sort of frosting or anything. Mmmm. Yum!
And this is a really good doctored up cake that uses a boxed mix. I haven't made the rum cake in quite a few years, because I have a little girl and didn't want to give it to her, but I've been thinking more about it lately. People always love it! baking.about.com/
Oh forgot this one! deliciousrecipeideas.com, search for Boxed cake
I took Wilton cake decorating classes years ago and was told to add an extra egg and a package of instant pudding to the mix to make it taste like home made. But these days most cake mixes call for 3 eggs instead of 2 and some have pudding in the mix. Some cakes from mixes are dry or don't taste that great, but for me, Duncan Hines is the best bet.
This cream cheese frosting makes any cake taste great:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
With mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually mix in the confectioner's. Cool cake completely before frosting. Cover cake and keep refrigerated.
Always : instead of vegetable oil use butter and instead of water use milk (whole is better but any will do).
You can add a couple of Tablespoons of Sour Cream and cut back a little bit on the liquids. That also helps cut the standard box type sweetness and makes for a great improvement. It also helps to drastically reduce the mixing time and mix it just barely long enough to moisten everything. Then let it sit for five minutes. That avoids the machine type uniform air holes and gives the cake a firmer, home style texture.
The secret to making a boxed cake mix taste more "homemade" is the amount of air you mix into it and using milk instead of water no matter what the mix calls for. Start your mixer on low to mix, then beat at high speed for at least 5 minutes. You will have a light, melt in your mouth cake without large air pockets and for some strange reason, improved flavour!! I use Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker but even cheap ones come out better doing this.
ERP Ontario Canada
For MCW, I had a friend who could not eat any processed bakery goods because his throat swelled closed. Yes, mixes are prosessed because they contain preservatives. Annah, you can make a cake.
OK here is my favorite way of making a mix my own do some experimenting too
I take a box mix lets say chocolate mix it up just like the box says and open a can of cherry pie filling and pour it into the batter now bake as usual or make cup cakes and then frost with chocolate frosting that is one the other I use a spice or carrot cake mix open a can of apple pie filling and pour into batter and bake as usual can be frosted with butter cream or cream cheese frosting. Also can do that with strawberry cake use frozen strawberries and less liquid in the batter
And yes Duncan Hines is the best
Have fun experimenting !
I use little tricks like a teaspoon of cinnamon in chocolate (or any flavor) or using essense oils of orange, peppermint, almond, etc. Also when I cook frostings, use the same flavor boosters. My chocolate frosting with the cinnamon is do DIE for. Not enough for people to figure it out.
Also box mixes loose their umph over time. Add 1/2-1 tsp of fresh baking powder to the mix. Lightens up the cake.
The email story referred to is under hoaxes on the internet.
I agree with ann parker. Really and truly, using a boxed cake mix doesn't really make things that much easier. As was said, you still have to measure and add other stuff. What you need is a bit of self confidence. so what if your first few attempts aren't so good? my first attempts were made when i was alone in the house so i wouldn't get any smartypants comments if they didnt turn out right. and nobody knew if i had a disaster! what you need is a recipe that isn't too complicated. All recipes have a few recipes called one bowl chocolate cake. Couldn't get much easier than that! Soon as you feel more confident, then you can go to other cakes. If you don't understand a recipe, all you have to do is ask here at thriftyfun for the meaning of a cooking term and you are good to go!
My aunt used to make the best banana cake and I could never duplicate it, now I can using a cake mix! Just buy the cheapest yellow cake mix you can find. Take a mixing bowl and add 3 long very ripe bananas or 4 short very ripe bananas and mush them up. Dump the cake mix in and add 1 cup of water, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp of baking soda. (do not follow the directions on the box at all). Beat very well and cook for about 30-35 min. It is so yummy, especially if you use cream cheese frosting, or sometimes I use just whipped cream on top. Enjoy. Oh and if you don't have enough bananas I just peel and freeze them as I get ripe ones and when I accumulate 3 or 4 I either make a cake or start another package. Have your friends save them for you too! So many people throw 1 or 2 away not knowing u can freeze 'em!
Another thing you can do is use a spice cake mix and add a can of pumpkin, the small one, and not the pie filling one, just a plain can of pumpkin. Add nothing else. The batter will be thick though. Bake as usual, it's very good and healthier. You can also use chocolate cake mix with the pumpkin. That's good also.
I buy box of cheap yellow cake mix follow directions on box, then i add butter pats ans chocolate chips, or whatever chocolate on hand, baking chocolate squares, chocolate candy bar or any other baking chips (a real favorite of all)
or you could add nuts and dried cranberries. Good luck and have fun trying these!
A little vanilla flavoring helps white. Butter Buds helps yellow. Cocoa for any chocolate.
Spread jam instead of frosting in between layers for a special occasion. For a light dessert add food coloring to Cool Whip and use as frosting then decorate with thin slices of real fruit or candy depending on the cake mix flavor.
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