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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)

Of course not. I'll even let them know it's a cake mix. There isn't anything wrong with using a box of cake mix--even Sandra Lee uses one hehe. There is one thing I will have to do though--I'll make it up for the decorating because that is what they see first.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterRylan Ty

As long as I took the time to make it then no its not wrong and if you make it a little more special by adding to it then even better its the thought that counts!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterEmilie

I think if you add a little touch to it thats all your own then its at least semi-homeade. I suppose if asked you would definetly need to tell the truth and confess that the cake was not all your own but if no one asks then its not a lie.. just a lil omission!

-Caity, Tampa

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterCaity

Pfft! if it's made in your home then it's homemade. Sometimes you just don't have time, or the mix is just really good, haha.

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterNicole!

nothings wrong with a cake mix!It helps if you're like me and always mixes up the amount of flour with the amount of sugar!

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterMay

I tend to be very honest, so when someone asks specifics, I usually say all the details.

But no one ever asks if a cake I've made is from a mix. They just ask if I made it and I say yes. :)

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterNadine

yeah, i think it's wrong to hide the fact that it's not homemade. if you're that ashamed, you shouldn't use it! i personally don't see anything wrong with using a mix, especially when they're on sale at the store. :)

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

I think if nobody asks, it's fine to let everyone think a cake is made from scratch. If someone asks, however, there's no way I would lie or imply that I hadn't used a mix if I had.

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterC

I believe that honesty is the best policy - so I always tell people if it is a cake mix.

September 29 | Unregistered Commenterthereddeer

If asked, tell.
But otherwise, CAKE IS CAKE! Enjoy it. :)


September 29 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

I think lying about using a cake mix is as ridiculous as lying about dying your hair!

I like to leave it sort of ambiguous . . . recently I brought a from-scratch (local small shop) baked good (but not from-me-from-scratch) to a family event. And passed it off by saying things like, "My sister made the Boston Cream; I brought the apple." That way, it's in their interpretation.

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn E.

I don't have any problem admiting that I used a cake mix. There are many delicious cake mix available in the market.

Homemade = HOME + MADE; therefore it is perfectly ok to say it's homemade. "Made from scratch" is another story.

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

No! You still put the effort into creating it. If someone asks, then it would be good to let them know you used a mix, but otherwise, just let people think what they want.


September 29 | Unregistered CommenterCecily

well since I always "doctor-up" my cake mix, I say claim it as your own. It's only not homemade if you buy it at a bakery!

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterOops Creations

No it's not completely wrong until you mislead someone by saying that it's from scratch - and then they insist you give them the recipe. Then it's wrong! my email: thebombbalm@gmail.com

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

No it's not completely wrong until you mislead someone by saying that it's from scratch - and then they insist you give them the recipe. Then it's wrong! my email: thebombbalm@gmail.com

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

No way! I can be more creative with a cake mix because it's less sensitive than a from-scratch recipe. It's not right to say that something store-bought is homemade, but it doesn't have to be completely from scratch to be considered homemade. I will never forget my mom's cake mix cookies :)

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I think a person should get credit for baking the cake themself..so I would say it's fine to say "homemade" but not "from scratch". Applause for not just buying the whole thing!

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterAimee

Sharing cake or bakedgoods with those around you is a generous act whether it comes from a mix or not so why hide the fact that you used a mix.

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I think you only need to volunteer the information if you are asked. If someone compliments you, simply thank them graciously and revel in the praise......

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith Kelly

i sometimes say "IT'S SEMI-HOMEMADE" :D I LOVE the Cupcake Doctors Cookbook-this would be so Darling' to win!!! Cupcake hugs, diana in Ohio

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterCupcakeSugar

Here's what I say when asked "I start with a mix as a base. Unlike scratch baking, cake mixes always tend to work out, so using them as a starting point, then doctoring them usually ensures great results!" I think people like knowing their cake will be great!

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

Mine is never "homemade." It's "dormmade." So I can ethically always say "no."

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
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