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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!


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)

My opinion is Yes and No, if your not asked and everyone just assumes it is Homemade, I dont see any reason for you to just jump up and tell them that part of the recipe calls for a boxed cake, especially if you have changed it up a bit or added to it, on the other hand if you were asked, I dont think it would be right to lie....

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterPenniannie

I always tell people if I used any mix, or shortcut ingredient in my food. If they ask how I made it.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

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

If nobody asks, don't tell them! If they ask, tell them the truth.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterReinah

Ehh. I use cake mixes off and on for my baking, depending on how much decorating time I'll be spending on it. Some of the more elaborate cutesy things I'll use a mix for, like cake-pops, cupcakes, etc.

I usually don't say anything about it being a mix unless directly asked.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

If you made, it's obviously homemade (even with the help of cake mix)!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterKarleen

I'm sure most people are just Happy you're sharing :-)
I always use box mixes, then spice it up a little if I want, then share the easy tips.
Thanks for offering the giveaway!

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterKS Lois

I usually tell it's a box mix. People tend to give you the credit anyway.

: )

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterGo-Kimmie-Go

If I was using a mix and only the mix, then yes, it would be wrong, but only if someone asked if it was homemade. But if I used a doctored recipe and someone asked, I would have no problem telling them that yes, it's homemade. :)

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

I think it depends on if and how you're asked. Only if someone asks directly, did you make this? do you really need to disclose that you had help.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterElsie

Since baking it is part of the process, I don't see anything wrong with claiming that it's homemade.

angelilee91@gmail dot com

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I think it's right to be honest - not all of us have the time or skills to bake. Plus, if it's a good mix, other people should have the chance to use it too.

October 2 | Unregistered Commentertaste traveller

Yes, its wrong to "hide" it. Its still made by your hands and not bought in a store, so people don't care if it started from a box or from a bag of flour. I always share my recipes, and those with short cuts are always appreciated by busy people!

ittychelle at yahoo dot com

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't think I could bring myself to use a mix. The whole point of baking is the relaxation and satisfaction that comes with it!

Katie xox

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterKatiecakes

Well, youhave baked it, so no, no problem. But I am to honest and I would tell everyone when I used a cake mix,

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

I think it depends on the audience that is eating the dessert. Some people I know would automatically turn their nose at anything made with cake mix regardless of the end result. And then there are others who love the ideas of short cuts and semi-homemade desserts. And with those folks, I'd tell them it was made with a cake mix.

I made the Houdini Bars the other night. They are really good! I added a squirt of coco lopez to the cream cheese mixture too. I think I'm going to try them again but add some pumpkin and brown sugar to the cream cheese mixture and leave out the coconut. In my opinion, they are best after having sat in the fridge for a day.

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I don't think it's wrong not to volunteer the information. If some one asks, I cop to starting with a mix and say what alterations I made, if I've used one.

laylarose08 -at- gmail.com

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterLayla

Most people are so excited for cake they won't ask if its homemade or boxed. I'll be honest if they ask, but its never occured to me to say its boxed.


October 2 | Unregistered CommenterBrad & Jess

I don't think you have to say anything about it not being from scratch. Heck, I'd like cake from scratch, a box, the store.. just give me cake! Isn't everyone like that? ;)

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterCrafty Pancakes

These days I try to stay away from mixes, but I used to make funfetti cakes ALL the time and never tried to hide that it was from a box.

It's not wrong to omit the fact that you used a mix, but I wouldn't not actually LIE about it. I'm more .... evasive.


October 2 | Unregistered CommenterJen
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