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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)

I've never tried "doctoring" up a cake mix. I think most people can tell by the taste and texture when it's a mix or if it's homemade. If not, don't tell!
I'd LOVE to win that book!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I'd tell if asked, nothing is really gained by lying.

September 28 | Unregistered Commenterbunnyqueen

What they don't know won't hurt 'em!

September 28 | Unregistered Commentermini-starbuck

I only give it away if asked. Besides I usually doctor up mixes anyway.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterTyphoid Ashley

As long as you're truthful when/if asked, I see no problem!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterBritney

I'm always letting people know that it's just a cake mix, I'd love to know how to doctor one up.
Thanks for the chance to enter your giveaway!

Jannette D.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterJannette

no, my friends are impressed when I make a box cake mix - no need to impress them with thinking things are homemade lol

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterAlisha

**Semi-homemade is always acceptable. Its always better then just buying an already made one- especially if you are calling that one your own.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterRachel J.

i think that is heeeelarious that full house was outlawed in your home!! why?? please, i need to know!!


September 28 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

racheljohnson226@yahoo.com (forgot to leave my email!)

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterRachel J.

It's not completely WRONG to hide that it's not homemade. I'm not sure that I would volunteer that information, though!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterMystery Ter

i always admit it if I use a mix, and honestly feel like i'm cheating these days, but I have some of her books and really enjoy them! and you can use the basic concept to jazz up "scratch-made" cakes sometimes.

September 28 | Unregistered Commentersarahe

Cakemix can just be part of the ingredients to make something wonderful. As long as it's not a regular "boxed cake" then it's completely OK to say "it's homemade" becuz it is. Since you mixed your own other ingredients and added your own personal touches. =) You can stretch it to "semi-homemade" if you reallly want to be honest. =)

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterYuchie

I think it's okay to tell people it's from a mix. All of my cupcakes and cakes are mix with homemade frosting. In my book there is no excuse for canned frosting.
Carrie B.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Yes it's wrong to hide information, if asked. Homemade and from scratch are different though, a box cake is homemade but not from scratch :)

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I always use a cake mix & I have no problem admitting it. If it's made in my kitchen @ my HOME it's homemade.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterThat's what she said

No way, claim it as your own creation! Who will ever know?

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterLina

most of my friends would not care either way...don't ask, don't tell!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterCara Lynn

I would tell people that it's from a box. I just saw this book at Costco & told my husband that I want it for my b-day!!
wozniakfamily at gmail dot com

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterAlycat

If asked, you should definitely admit that you started from a box.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

If someone wants to know I wouldn't lie if it came from a box. I also would offer that information unless they asked.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterJon and Angela

I made lemon bars for a party and used a box mix because it was last minute. When someone asked me if it was homemade I said no I made it from a box mix. He then said that anything I make at home is homemade! So that's my answer.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I think it's all in how you define "home made". It was made in my home versus buying it ready made at the store or bakery, there for it IS home made...but NOT necessarily made from scratch as some people define it.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterLovey

As long as you brought the ingredients, mixed them together and baked it...it's homemade. Completely homemade. In fact, i would go so far to say that it's a recipe that has been handed down to me from my grandmother.

September 28 | Unregistered Commentercndymkr / jean

I can't see a problem with it!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterMel
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