Pre-made Cake Mix

The other day in the supermarket I was in the baking aisle. Needless to say, I can spend hours just looking at what’s available. Suddenly, I saw the enormous section of pre-made cake mix. They have brownies mix, chocolate cake, victoria sponge cake, lemon cake, marble cake, carrot cake, cookies, scones, muffins and so much more! All you have to do is add an egg, some butter or water and that’s it really.

The array is quite astounding; you can pretty much get anything you want. Then, of course, there’s also all the cupcakes mixes for children with different cute toppers. I couldn’t help but be intrigued and while my initial reaction was some what of a snobbery baker, I found myself compelled to buy the Tesco brand and do a taste test. (Watch this space!) I was pretty gob smacked by the price too as they are all well under Β£1.

There are many other brands such as Betty Crocker, Mcdougalls, Dr Oetker and celebrity chefs own brands. As I continued shopping I was wondering why people buy pre-made mixes and came up with a number of suggestions. Maybe they don’t enjoy baking? Maybe they think it produces a good product? Or maybe its just so much quicker?

Tell me what you think and take my poll!

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35 thoughts on “Pre-made Cake Mix

  1. I prefer to bake from scratch, but when I was making cake pops and was short on time, I used a cake mix packet and just added cocoa powder to make it chocolatey and it was fine. It was an Asda Smart price sponge cake mix priced 29p. On its own it tastes a touch “eggy”, but if you add cocoa powder it makes it much nicer and it’s fine if you’re in a hurry and a tight budget.

    Nothing will ever beat a home-baked, from-scratch cake, but in a pinch, they’re a quick, easy choice and they’ll always have a market with those not confident enough to bake their own. (I only realy started baking about a year ago, and til lthen used packet mixes on occasion.)

  2. Although I cook every day but I rarely bake so those mixes are okay for the occasional times that I need to whip up a family birthday cake. By the way, I used a spice cake mix to bake a cake in my pressure cooker a couple months ago and I came out very yummy. Much denser than when baked in the oven.

  3. I figure it’s just getting someone to combine the dry stuff, if you need a quick cake or it’s for something you don’t really care about a good cake mix does make things faster/cleaner. But it’s not nearly as fun!

  4. some people think there is nothing wrong with using a cake mix…to me it’s a little like cheating…it is way easier, though cause everything is done for you, all the measuring and everything! you just throw it it a bowl and mix it up with and egg and some oil and water and BAM you’re done! πŸ™‚ so if you’re in a hurry or you’re just not interested in baking then go for it, but if you’re like me and you love baking and want to make yummy things for people and want to take the time to make a really good product, then invest the time it takes to make something truly ‘home made’! πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve never used one of these, nor will I. But that’s because I can always find 15 minutes to make my own cake mix, as it’s not a chore for me. I can see how these can be useful for people who hate baking (perish the thought!)

  6. We use them occasionally when children’s ‘pester power’ works. I’m not keen on the results though. I only submit to the demands of children because they like the decorations that come with them so much.

  7. Here in the States, there are scores of books written on how to make cake mixes more home made, an oxymoron if I ever heard one. I am a pastry chef so, clearly, I would never use one – what is a cake mix if not the dry ingredients mixed together anyway? It’s cheaper to mix them ourselves and it will only take 5 minutes longer. I once worked for a boss who was convinced her lemon chiffon cake out of a box was the best in the world. If not necessarily agree, I had to shut up – I really like your blog. What are you going to do with your degree?

  8. I actually just made the MOST delicious cupcakes I’ve ever tasted by augmenting a cake-mix package. It’s devil food cake mixed with instant chocolate pudding mix and lots of other things. Absolutely amazing. I kind of thought I was copping out because of the mixes, but they’re the best cupcakes ever.

  9. I’m a big fan of the premixed pizza dough’s as they don’t need to prove, I do tend to tszuj them up a bit with extra herbs and spices though. I’m a terrible baker though as don’t get on well with having to measure things as I’m too impatient.

  10. As much as I bake from scratch, I also loove cake mix! Yes, it’s easy but It’s also a great base for making more gourmet items. You are guaranteed a great tasting product and you can focus more on adding on flavors, presentation, and decoration! There’s a whole set of series of cookbooks “the cake mix doctor” that start with cake mix and turn it into seriously amazing gourmet goods!

  11. I’m gonna try this as well. πŸ™‚ We don’t have as much variety in cake mix brands here in NZ but you’ve got me a bit curious hehe. I haven’t used cake mixes yet but I suppose it wouldn’t be too bad

  12. I just posted a review about boxed mix yesterday! It’s so funny to see this on your blog too. πŸ™‚ I’m not a baker, and unfortunately usually run into disaster when I try. I think I’m too impatient with the measuring and mixing, so something almost always go wrong. I envy people who make amazing things from scratch. What I love to do though, is take a box mix and add other stuff to it to make it a little more tasty and a little more personalized. Whether it’s adding new flavors to a cake mix, or making a fun flavorful frosting from scratch. For example, I actually just made cookies last night to bring into work today. I started with pre-made oatmeal chocolate chip, pre-made chocolate chip, and pre-made chocolate chocolate chip. The results? Oatmeal cranberry with chocolate chips, peanut butter chocolate chip (added peanut butter cups that get all blended and smooth with the batter… the store was out of peanut butter mix), and Rocky Road (chocolate cookie with chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallow). So, while I took the easy route and would never call that baking, it does give it a little more of a homemade twist. πŸ™‚

    I am curious about your pre-made experience. How did the mixes turn out?

  13. I made a chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache frosting from one of those Betty Crocker premixes. That was when I was in my early teens. I remember quite clearly how I was impressed by the look of ganache on a cake – I was easily impressed back before I became cynical and world-weary – but it tasted nothing like real chocolate. I felt sort of betrayed. I thought I could trust the promise it made on the box.
    I never touched cake mixes again… Sigh. That’s my story.
    Btw, thank you for the likes on my posts:) Much appreciated.

  14. Baking from scratch is definitely ideal. But when in a crunch I use the premade cake mixes. And then I’ll just add a couple of extra ingredients to add an extra flare. I almost always will add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream for extra moisture. If it’s chocolate based I’ll add a little freshly brewed coffee and it really brings out the flavor. Premade cake mixes are pretty fantastic though :0

  15. Do I bake from scratch? Yes
    Do I make my own fondant decoration? Yes
    Do I make my own frozen butter cream cake deco? Yes
    Do I just threw a birthday party with 158 made from scratch cupcakes and icing? Yes

    Do I use pre-made cake mix? Sometimes (about to make one now, Pandan Sponge Cake)

    Why?
    1. It’s easy to throw, especially if I have last minute school thing (i.e. last day of school – snack picnic, emailed only the night before and who opened emails at night?), PTA thing, so on & so forth (my pick for this would be Betty Crocker’s Brownies)
    2. There are types of cakes/ingredients that do not exist here in Luanda – Angola – West Africa (also the reason why I made my own fondant deco), where we had lived as expats for 3+ years now. My daughter is a HUGE fan of Pandan (from pandan leaves) Cakes. I tried to grow them, but they couldn’t make it last year’s winter. So, I had no choice than to use the pre-made cake mix, coz being caught by quarantine for bringing pandan leaves from home just ain’t worth it.

    Net,net….
    Does it make you a terrible person for using pre-made cake mix? No
    Is baking from scratch a pain in the ***? Definitely NOT, it’s even therapeutic for me.
    Can we make good of best of both worlds? Absolutely.

    *I am gonna post this at my blog with pics of my boxes and result as well… Thanks for giving me this idea*

  16. I don’t see anything wrong with using cake mixes! I myself sometimes use Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines especially when they’re on sale for $1. I see them as part of my “ingredients” and usually alter the instructions and recipe on the box anyway!

    Also, I find they usually make my baked goods fluffier.

  17. I know a couple of people who, no matter how hard they try, can not bake a cake from scratch. They just can’t get it to rise properly. For people like them, I can totally see the appeal of a box mix… Is there anything wrong with that? No, but have you looked at the ingredients list? I recently read the label of a Betty Crocker cake and found more science than baking in that box. I suspect that’s why they’re fool proof. I’ll stick to my scratch cakes, thanks… Curious and looking forward to how your experiment turns out.

  18. ooohhh, these mixes look “european”. (sorry to sound so “american”)
    but these are definitely too cool to be from here!
    i used to use cake mixes and brownie mixes, but now that i am more into the processes, i LOVE making them from scratch. πŸ˜‰

  19. I voted for the “good if you don’t have time” option – like you, I was initially a bit of a snob, but if you’re busy, at least you’re still making something…and it might be a stepping stone to greater things in the future.

  20. The flavour is definitely not as good, but you can’t beat the savings on time and kitchen mess! Agree with the – if I’m in a hurry – or, if the focus of my cake is the icing, e.g. amazing buttercream, or a lot of fondant work, sometimes it’s easier to have a good, solid base which these make well.

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