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Monday
Sep282009

Cake Poll: Mixing it Up with the Cake Mix Doctor, and a Giveaway!

Win it: The Cake Mix Doctor Returns
Growing up, there were a few things that were forbidden in our house, for various moral or health reasons: Doritos, the show Full House, and cake mix.

As a result, I grew up harboring a secret and dark love for all of these things. The crackle of a Doritos bag opening thrills me; I can't hear the theme song from Full House without feeling just a little shiver of excitement; and while I've come to appreciate homemade baked goods far more, I still don't have a huge problem with cake mix.

So it would stand that I've always been intrigued by the "Cake Mix Doctor" series, and as a result, when Laura at Workman Publishing contacted me to see if I'd like to check out the new and improved The Cake Mix Doctor Returns (a revamped re-release of the original book, with even more recipes), I jumped at the chance.

If you're not familiar with the concept, basically what author Anne Byrne does is take a cake mix and "doctor" it up, offering creative alterations and ingredients that will make all sorts of desserts (not just cakes) with the mix which taste far better than simply mixing-and-baked per the box instructions. And by starting with a cake mix, you have the added ease of not having to make sure you have all of your dry ingredients on hand, which can be helpful for infrequent bakers.

So I tried out several of the recipes in the book, and I have to say, I have been very pleasantly surprised with the results. One in particular though, the "Houdini Bars"--a dense bar cookie with a yellow cake crust filled with a custardy cream cheese, nut, and coconut filling, was so delectable that true to their name, they disappeared in hours (I'll share the recipe in a few days!). Of course, Byrne isn't offering a quick fix to everything--while cake mixes are the core of the book, she insists that you make your own frostings, citing wise words indeed: "frosting is the first and last taste you experience when forking into a slice of cake. It should never be an afterthought", adding that "you can get away with a cake from a mix, but you must make your frosting from scratch."

So, overall, I have to say I was pretty impressed with the book. And I'm not just saying this because Workman donated three copies to give away (although they did)--which leads to the next subject...

Sweet Giveaway!

So, I have three copies of The Cake Mix Doctor Returns to give away! To put your name in the running, simply answer this important ethical question in the comments:

If you make a cake with a mix, is it wrong to hide the fact that it's not completely "homemade"?

 

Let the games begin! The Cake Poll will close at 12 p.m. PST on Friday, October 2; the winners will be contacted shortly thereafter. If you are leaving an anonymous comment, please be sure to leave an email address so you can be contacted if you win!


UPDATE: THE WINNERS!

The poll is now closed: here are the three winners who were chosen at random!
Felice from Hawaii, who writes the site All That's Left are the Crumbs
Melleah from South Carolina, who writes the site Goode Taste
and finally, Krystel T.!
Thanks everyone for entering!

 

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Reader Comments (295)

People are always asking for my recipes, so if it's a box mix, they'll know about it. But is it really that big of a deal? If I were ashamed to tell people I'd used a box mix, I would just not use one in the first place.

October 1 | Unregistered Commenternaiadkitty

Absolutely nothing wrong with a cake mix cake. Sometimes time/ingredients/money don't allow the "real" thing. If it was made with love that's all the matters... (Insert fluttering eyelashes and the sound of twittering birds here.)
Nancy

October 1 | Unregistered Commentermom2ross

I think if someone asks you can tell them its a mix, otherwise I really don't think it matters as long as it tastes great!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Where I am living now, people seem to like "doctored" mixes better than homemade, so I think it's just a matter of preference to which is better, but I also think that if no one asks, why say anything. As long as everyone thinks the cake tastes good, then it's ok. If someone asks, I do tell them if it's box mix or from scratch though. I come from a family of scratch bakers, so trying to fool them with a box mix just isn't going to work, LOL!!! I also know a lady who sells cakes and her cakes are straight from the box, no doctoring at all, and she gets "rave" reviews. So, like I said, it all comes down to what the person eating the cake thinks, and if they don't ask, I don't tell!!!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Where I am living now, people seem to like "doctored" mixes better than homemade, so I think it's just a matter of preference to which is better, but I also think that if no one asks, why say anything. As long as everyone thinks the cake tastes good, then it's ok. If someone asks, I do tell them if it's box mix or from scratch though. I come from a family of scratch bakers, so trying to fool them with a box mix just isn't going to work, LOL!!! I also know a lady who sells cakes and her cakes are straight from the box, no doctoring at all, and she gets "rave" reviews. So, like I said, it all comes down to what the person eating the cake thinks, and if they don't ask, I don't tell!!!

Edited to add: Forgot to add my email address!!!

okijpngirl50@yahoo.com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I wouldn't hide the fact I used the cake mix, but if nobody asked, "I made it"! If anyone wants to know, I'm always happy to fill them in on the details. Usually, anyone who gets a cupcake from me is happy the fact that I baked at all : )

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterSayaka

Only if you think you will get caught? No, but really I usually do tell people when a recipe starts with a mix.

October 1 | Unregistered Commenterradioactive girl

A secret recipe is just that - secret.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

It depends.... If someone snooty says my box-made cakes are the best things ever, then I'm not saying a word! If some mama asks me to make three dozen cupcakes for her son's dinosaur birthday party, you bet I'm admitting they're from a mix. Kids don't mind!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I feel that it is absolutely fine to consider it "homemade" because you are using your imagination to turn and ordinary mix into something spectacular.

crowhill51@yahoo.com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

A box cake mix (with a little touch of my own) paired with homemade frosting is what I call homemade. Frosting has to be homemade in my book.

October 1 | Unregistered Commenterannemarie

I always like to share my dessert recipes. I find the "cake doctor" recipes to be very creative. Everyone always seems intrigued of the fact that only a few special ingredients added to a cake mix can make a very tasty treat!

dmmcb@nc.rr.com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't advertise it, but if I'm asked, I won't lie. I'm considering funfetti for my wedding cake, and I am not the least bit ashamed to admit it. :D

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

It's not wrong at all! But--I probably would say it was a mix; that's just me!

deede
dmonroe@astate.edu

October 1 | Unregistered Commenterdeede

Alton Brown says it's ok to use a box mix. Just another reason to love him.

As to hiding the box? Does anyone even make cakes by scratch anymore? I assume they are all from a box. Frosting is where it's at. And a few drops of extract can make a mix cake incredible. Coconut extract into a white cake mix? Ah-maz-ing. And no one knows what the secret ingredient is. Although I will only make carrot cake from scratch. Hmm.

I don't think so. It came out of your home, so it's still home-made. And having grown up on those box mixes (though I do like to make from scratch most of the time now), there is something nostalgic about the taste of those box mixes and nostagia equals home to me!

sulkygrrl (at) gmail (dot) com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterDawn C.

It's still homemade in that you put time and effort into it. However, I think you have to mention that it is from a mix when asked. It may be homemade, but is not on the same level as doing it from scratch: This isn't an indictment....it just means that time was not on your side, but I think it should still be clear to any admirers of said food.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterCMAC

It depends on who is asking. When a friend asks, I always tell them the truth but when a snobby foodie (and I consider myself a non-snobby foodie) asks, I just leave that part out. I agree with many previous posters, it came from my home, it's homemade. Love me some Cake Mix Doctor. You must all try the Darn Good Chocolate Cake. Really, it is darn good. Can't wait for this new book!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterTom & Heather

If you make a cake with a mix, is it wrong to hide the fact that it's not completely "homemade"?:

Absolutely not! If you are enhancing the cake mix, I feel it is essentially homemade. You're adding your own special touches to it which is exactly what a homemade recipe is...your own added touch. I say two thumbs up for cake mixes!!!

javery@ncmedsoc.org

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Heck No!! I feel like if you made it in your home, it is "homemade"!! LOL! When I make items, I end up giving out the recipes so they always know exactly how it's made.

Tricia
riley36536@yahoo.com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I would tell people that I had used a cake mix, no shame in that!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I believe it is 'homemade' --you've simply employed a few shortcuts. Honestly, I believe that most would only care about how good it tastes. If someone asks if it is entirely 'made from scratch', then just let them know that it all began with a simple mix.

- dorotheaspears964@hotmail.com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterDorothea

I don't think it's wrong at all. If someone asks if you made it you can say yes. You did make it...just started with a bit of help. amhurd@gmail.com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Cake mix or from scratch, it's all "homemade" and from your heart.

October 1 | Unregistered Commentersocaltransplant

As long as it is delicious, I say who cares!!! If they're cake mix snobs then so be it. Don't give them any!!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterLidia
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