Saturday, 2 July 2016

To cheat or not to cheat? The cupcake box mix challenge.

To some the idea of cutting corners and using a pre made cake mix is sacrilege, tainting the good name of cake with a quick fix cheat in the kitchen. To others it's a time saver, a way to knock up a quick and tasty cake, without the faff of measuring. Which begs the question, to cheat or not to cheat in the kitchen?

Admittedly, it's a long time since I used a pre made mix, and then it was a shortcut cookie mix rather than the spongey baked stuff. That was several years ago, since then I've been measuring and baking from scratch, even if it was somewhat disastrous at first..

Then I was gifted a rather jokey early Christmas present, partly at my (whispers quietly) annoyance of hearing "let it go" everywhere I went; a Frozen cupcake box mix. My first reaction was more surprise at seeing what little additions needed to go into the mix, "just an egg and a nob of butter, that's going to be bloody dry!" so I saw a challenge, and decided to give the boxed mix a whirl with the full intentions of doctoring the mix as I went along.

A quick 'google' will unearth an abundance of suggestions to improve upon boxed cake mixes, from adding a dash of vanilla for flavour, to extra egg yolks, and even adding a few spoonfuls of sour cream, the suggestions are endless. As this was a simple cupcake mix I decided to play it safe and add some extras as I went along, judging the mix as it blended.

The mix looked a bit alarming at first, just a small packet of dry mix with accompanying icing sugar and rice paper decorations to finish, I wasn't entirely sure it'd work. Emptying the packets into the bowl I followed the short list of instructions, adding the egg and butter to blend, and you know, I was actually surprised, it didn't look dry at all, it looked pretty close to my usual vanilla cupcake recipe, so I decided to add just a little vanilla for flavour and popped them in the oven.

10 minutes later the end result didn't look too bad, they were of course more fairy cake sized than the usual cupcakes that I make, but for a packet mix they actually looked nice.

Not merely satisfied with the dinky packet of icing sugar to decorate, I decided to add a tasty buttercream instead, topping up the packet with more icing sugar and some butter to blend, embracing the 'theme' I added some ice blue food colouring and peppermint essence to top the cupcakes, topping them with the rice paper decorations and some of my own sugar snowflakes. You know, they didn't look too bad, for a cake mix..

Of course, I helped it along the way, made as intended, they would have looked rather small compared to the cupcakes that I usually bake. But it goes to show that from time to time, the occasional cheat in the kitchen, doctored along the way, can turn out surprisingly well, but I won't be rushing out to grab another mix anytime soon, my appetite needs a much larger cupcake!