Boxed cake mix is one of those taboo subjects among bakers. The ideal of baking “from scratch” is revered and the idea of “cheating” by using premixed ingredients is… ahem…frowned upon. In a completely non-scientific experiment, 80% (completely made-up statistic) of people in a blind tasting preferred Auntie Ina’s (South Africa’s favourite auntie who also makes salad dressings… wink wink) chocolate cake mix to any other chocolate cake ever baked.
World Baking Day is a day for everyone to bake (even the most inexperienced bakers) and to share the love with family and friends. Bring on some fresh ideas to destigmatise the secret shame of using boxed mixes!
1. Change the flavour
Start with a box of vanilla cake mix and turn it into an amazing lemon yoghurt cake by adding lemon zest, replace the milk or water with plain yoghurt and finish the whole lot off with a lemon syrup to soak through to make it extra moist.
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2. Make waffles
Use a chocolate cake mix, and prepare it as per the instructions on the package. Grease your waffle iron with non-stick spray and pour the mixture into the waffle iron. Garnish with Nutella.
3. Cake batter ice cream
Make a plain ice cream using your favourite ice cream recipe and just before freezing mix through two cups of vanilla cake mix (dry mixture). For extra fun times, mix in multicoloured sprinkles
4. “Funfetti” flapjacks
Speaking of multicoloured sprinkles, make some “funfetti” flapjacks by using a flapjack premix. Mix and cook as per instructions, but before frying the flapjacks, add the sprinkles. Once the sprinkles have been added don’t mix the mixture too much or the colour of the sprinkles will run and your mixture will take on an unappetising grey colour.
ALSO SEE: How to make your own funfetti cake
5. Cake rusks
This is especially useful if you have cake left overs or off cuts. This can be done with any sort of cake. Simply cut your cake into rusk sized fingers and set on a baking tray spaced well apart. Dry in the oven at 100°C for 2 – 4 hours. Store in an airtight container, perfect for dipping!
6. Banana pecan muffins
Start with vanilla cake mix, and add in the specified amount of oil and eggs as per the box instructions. Omit the milk or water but replace with 3 mashed bananas, fold in a cup of chopped pecans. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 15- 20 minutes until cooked through.
7. Make a butter cake
Replace the specified quantity of oil in the cake instructions with melted butter to make a rich butter cake. You can also add an extra egg for a moister cake.
8. Surprise cupcakes
Using a chocolate cake mix, prepare the cake as per package instructions. Half fill the cupcake cases with batter then drop a chocolate truffle or chocolate caramel sweet into each case. Top off with another spoonful of batter in each case and bake for 15 – 20 minutes according to the package instructions. Ice cupcakes as normal and wait for your guests to find the surprise inside!
9. Make a coffee cake with a streusel ripple
Start with a vanilla cake mix and prepare as per instructions, but instead of water or milk use an equivalent quantity of cooled black coffee. Prepare the streusel, by blitzing a cup of brown sugar, a cup of toasted walnuts and a teaspoon of cinnamon in the blender to make a rough rubble. Pour out half of the cake mixture into a greased pan, top with half of the streusel ripple, pour in the remaining cake mix and finish off with the last of the ripple mixture. Bake as per package instructions.
10. Make a fruit cobbler
Select seasonal fruits and prepare (peel/core/chop/pip the fruits as necessary depending on what fruits you are using). Toss in a little sugar and spice with the fruit (if so desired). I like apple and cinnamon, peach and blueberry or pear with mixed spice. Using a scone premix, prepare the scone mix according to the instructions. Place the fruit in an oven proof dish, and spoon the scone mix over the fruit. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the topping is cooked through and the fruits are soft and bubbling.
For more baking fun, follow Julie Donald on Twitter @AskJulieDonald.
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