Lazy Cakes!

1 Aug

I have to say most of the time when I think about making a cake I just want to decorate it. I tend to use boxed cake mixes the majority of the time. I’m sure this will change when my daughter wants to help me bake but for now I want something quick and easy and reliable. having said that there is no reason not to be as creative as possible with those cakes.

If you want a boxed cake mix to taste deceptively decadent it’s easy; just do some simple substitutions.

  • Use yolks instead of what ever kind of eggs it calls for.  Yolks add richness to the cake that makes it seem too good to be from a box. This works perfectly if you use the left overs from the Swiss Meringue Butter-Cream and leaves nothing to go to waste. Adding yolks to a white cake rather than whites will technically make the cake a yellow cake but really unless you are baking a white wedding cake who cares?
  • Add an extra egg. This adds richness if you don’t happen to have yolks to use up.
  • Substitute fruit juice, beer or milk for water. This will also make the cake richer. Fruit juice or beer will leave people wondering what your secret ingredient is. I’m sure you could use pop too but I have never tried that one.
  • Exchange butter for oil. Butter is always better.
  • Add fruit puree mixed half and half with your liquid of choice.
  • Add flavors. Cinnamon, mint extract, coconut, nuts, dried fruit, banana. the sky is the limit!

Have fun! The very worst case scenario your cake will flop. Not a big deal. You may even discover something new!


12 thoughts on “Lazy Cakes!

    • That’s a really good idea! I can’t believe how much substituting fruit jucie for water makes a cake taste better! Thanks for reading!

  1. Nutmeg is a strong spice and 1/4 teaspoon is usually enough to add an amazing flavor to a cake mix. It is my secret ingredient! Thanks for all the tips!

  2. Thanks for the tips. I just made a cake using the very same plain white box cake mix but I added lemon extract to it and it was great. Just a hint of flavor to jazz it up a little. All I had was the canned strawberry frosting so I added lemon extract to that as well. Was great too. Your tips with the fruit juices and pureed fruits, etc. gives me the courage to do a little more. Thanks, again.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m so glad that you’re feeling braver with experimenting with your baking! I used to be really afraid to not follow the instructions to the letter and now that I have started playing around with baking more I’m having so much more fun with it! I think that your idea of adding lemon right into the strawberry frosting is brilliant! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a strawberry lemonade cupcake for a while now and I think that might just be the answer I’ve been looking for! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. What would you recommend using in making a box red velvet cake? My family loves red velvet cake but I don’t always have time to make it from scratch, so, if I could use a box and cheat a little to make it seem less boxed that would be great!

    • I think that it’s a great idea to treat red velvet just like chocolate. So anything that you think might improve a chocolate cake would also improve a red velvet cake. Start with adding an extra egg and substitute the oil for melted butter. I also think that adding a splash of really nice vanilla makes everything taste better. Good luck!

  4. I know this is an older thread, but I thought I’d comment anyway in case someone follows breadcrumbs here like I did and is curious. My grandmother used to be a pro cake decorator and she told me they always used box mixes and enhanced them in house, unless there was a special request. Why? Because they’re reliable. Every box was exactly the same and they knew their cakes would be exactly the same from layer to layer, which is critical for multi-tiered cakes like wedding cakes. Every single cake was made with milk or buttermilk, not water. And almost every cake got a dose of pure, high quality vanilla extract. The only exceptions were things like citrus cakes that got their own flavor extracts, like lemon cakes got lemon extract, etc. They had other tricks I’m sure, but those are ones she’s told me for certain, ones they used every single day. She still uses those tricks, and my Grams makes a darn good cake.

    Things I know work: sub brewed coffee for 1/2 cup of the water in chocolate cakes, or use instant espresso powder in the batter, and use milk for the remaining liquid. Or use 1/2 cup of chocolate stout beer, coke, or dr pepper and the rest milk. If you use dr pepper, try adding spices to the batter like cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, or ginger to bring out the “bite” in the soda.

    In any cake flavor that should have a tang to it like lemon, orange, red velvet, etc., use buttermilk to bring that out. Try putting sparkling white grape juice in a white cake, and don’t forget the vanilla extract! Citrus zest is always a nice addition to flat white cakes as well, gives a nice zing.

    Pudding mixes (add them in dry) add moisture and flavor, too. Molasses or maple syrup (the real stuff) with some warm spices and/or nuts is a nice combo in a butter butter cake. As long as you don’t severely alter the wet to dry ratio, those box mixes are pretty sturdy and can stand up to a lot of tinkering!

    • Thanks so much for your reply! Very well thought out and informative. It also makes me feel pretty proud of myself for figuring out a few tricks that a professional decorator used!!

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