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Box Cake Blunders

the gloopy batter

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So I know box cakes aren’t very posh.  The mere mention of them elicits gasps, the swoons of old debutants,and wine glasses shattering in the distance.  But nothing says primary school birthday parties and bake sales like an old-fashioned yellow cake from a box.

Now though, being the foodie that I am, I turn my sights onto the greatest form of flattery…imitation. Oh, yellow cake, how do I make you but avoid all those random chemicals listed on the box?

Well, I had my first try last night and from the onset I knew something was wrong.  I tried to come up with the recipe myself.  I used cake flour, eggs, butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and a little baking powder. Now maybe my measurements were wrong or maybe I should have used regular flour or the moons were not in my favor, but my cake did not look or smell right from the start.

The batter was very thick (gloopy, actually) and the smell was much more “raw” than the box mix.  I put it to bake anyway just in case.  Sadly it didn’t rise as nicely, and it was so sweet I was bouncing off the walls for the rest of the night (the chocolate frosting probably played a role there too.)

All in all, it was a bit of a failure. It tasted OK, but the texture and moistness were all wrong.  Thankfully, I live to bake another day and hope that I can replicate that yellow cake flavor. I am totally open to suggestions.  If you have the perfect replica recipe I will forever be in your debt.


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  • Anne99 | 02/19/2009

    Ahh, there's nothing like yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Takes me back to my childhood. You might try the "Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake" recipe in Cook's Illustrated, March 2008. They were aiming for a boxed cake texture with this recipe.

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