Posted by Deborah Blevins - Bakell, LLC. Co-Founder on August 30, 2016
First, I am well aware that it is considered "taboo" for skilled bakers to use boxed cake in place of a recipe from scratch; so before you get all “Crazy Face” on me, remember that not everyone wants to get so in depth into baking that they bake from scratch every time. Myself, having baked and decorated cakes, both professionally and as a hobby, for 15+ years now, I have done both extensively. Throughout this time I can say that I have found that you can easily whip up a quick boxed cake from time to time with some great techniques that can make a boxed cake taste out of this world!
So to share a few tricks that I have found hit home!
1. Always use an extra egg
I have heard so many people try extra oil, apple sauce, butter and a slew of other ingredients, but in my experience nothing does a better job keeping your cake moist & sturdy as an extra egg!
2. Substitute half of your water for oil
If the box calls for 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of oil I generally substitute some of the water for oil, I like to use a half and half ratio, meaning 3/4 cup of water & 3/4 cup of oil.
3. Substitute for Coconut oil
I don't always use this one, because coconut oil is expensive, but I love baking with coconut oil instead of Vegetable or Canola Oil. This might be a preference, but this seems to bring out the flavors and moisture in my cakes.
3. Add some inventive flavoring!
My lemon cake experience: So I have always added extra lemon flavor to my lemon cake recipes to get a better lemon, and it obviously helps. But late one night I was baking a cake for my nieces birthday party and realized I only had a little lemon flavoring left, I looked through my pantry trying to decide if I really needed to make a late night trip to the store, and saw some packs of crystal light lemonade powder... You're thinking "no, no" but yes, I took the plunge... I will tell you what! That was some of the best friggin lemon cake I have ever made! It had such a delicious sharp citrus but sweet flavor to it! Gotta love some good artificial stuff flavor now and again!
My almond delight cake! You would not believe how good almond flavoring in a yellow cake mix tastes! I love throwing in some crush nuts as well to really bring it all out! Making cake pops out of this mixture gets major compliments every time! When I make my cake pops out of this I like to dip them in a caramel chocolate... Yes... Wow!
4. Invest in good zip-lock bags
If you have never done this one, I am sure you're thinking "what does that have to do with baking?" But when it comes to sealing moisture in? A LOT! When I pull my cakes out of the oven, I give them just a few minutes to cool (just enough that they won't break when handled) and after popping them out of the pan, place them directly in a good quality zip lock bag. This seals in the condensation from the steam coming off your cake, this will add incredible moisture to you're cake, you will be amazed! This is by far one of the most important techniques I have found, if you do none of the above, try this one!
5. Flour & shortening first and foremost!
Never ever do I use "Pam" for greasing my pans, I always, always grease the pan with shortening and shack a layer of flour on top. This seems to add to the flavor of the cake as well as giving a sturdy crust to the outside of the cake if you're stacking a tiered or shaped cake.
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