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Cake Mix Science

Frosting Cake

I remember when I was young, observing my mother make cakes, and how something always kind of bugged me: the difference between cake batter and frosting.

Consistency-wise, the cake batter and the frosting really didn't seem terribly different to me--why did they have to be treated so differently? One went in the oven, and the other had to wait til that part was cool and was then spread all over the baked part.

Frosting Cake

But what would happen if you just combined the cake and the frosting before baking? Could you streamline the process?

Frosting Cake

Although I'm much older now, I'm clearly not wiser, because I took the time to see what would happen today. I conducted my experiment with Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake Mix and Whipped Fluffy White Frosting in a tub.

Frosting cake

I started out by respectfully following the directions. The mix asked to be combined with 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup water, and 7 tablespoons of softened butter. I did so.

Frosting Cake

Per the directions, I mixed it in a large bowl in my stand mixer on low speed until combined, then jacked up the speed and mixed for four more minutes. Meanwhile, the oven was preheating.

Frosting Cake

And then I went rogue. I took the entire tub of frosting, and folded it into the cake batter. It made the consistency of the batter silky and sticky. And delicious.

Frosting Cake Frosting Cake

Here's what it looked like before going in the oven.

Frosting Cake

I spread the thick batter in the prepared cake pans and baked it for 22 minutes, as suggested on the box. I divided it between two 9-inch cake rounds. I baked one first, in case I messed up.

I know you're not supposed to, but since I was already breaking the rules I opened the oven part-way through baking. Here's what it looked like. Weirdly it looked like it had mini marshmallows in the middle.Frosting Cake

When I took the cake out of the oven, here's what greeted me.

Frosting Cake

It was a bit jiggly in the middle, but it appeared to have set on the sides and top. So I let it cool for a while - a long while, about 2 hours. During this time it deflated somewhat. 

Frosting Cake - after cooling

Then I flipped it over on to a plate. It was gooey in the middle, but not really liquid. More pudding-like, or gooey butter cake innards-like.

Frosting Cake

I thought "since it already has frosting, does that mean I don't have to frost it?". And then I quickly answered myself: "Don't be stupid, of course you still have to frost it."

So I did. And I added sprinkles.

Frosting Cake

When cut into at room temperature, the center was quite gooey. Cutting was kind of difficult. I got frosting on my fingers...but I made it out of this situation OK.

Frosting Cake

After chilling the cake in the fridge, cutting was much easier.

So how did the cake taste? It was actually pretty good. It was more dense than a typical cake--while it had risen in the oven, it deflated into a dense round after cooling. It was somewhat like a Philadelphia butter cake or gooey butter cake in its texture--crunchy on the outside, gooey and creamy in the center. 

Actually, I'd go so far as to say I'd do this again. The slice I had was decidedly tasty--very moist, and extremely decadent. Final word? I want more.

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Reader Comments (16)

I'd say you're a genius!! I want to try this now!! What about using less frosting next time?
July 27 | Unregistered CommenterJulieD
"Don't be stupid, of course you still have to frost it." I love you.
July 27 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
PURE GENIUS!!!! I wanted to eat the batter just looking at the picture!
July 27 | Unregistered CommenterSteph
I better believe I would be licking every mushy crumb off my fingers
July 27 | Unregistered CommenterErin
oh jessie
you are fun
let's set up a cake mix camp?
we can have cake mix classes, cake frosting demo's, cake treasure hunts and
sprinkle decorating forums.
I wonder if you put the frosting in instead of the softened butter if it would work better??
July 27 | Unregistered Commenterrachel
I've used this cake mix recently, and my cake did the gooey center thing too! BUT I didn't add the frosting like you did. It was the weirdest cake...almost crispy along the edges and gooey in the middle. I'm not sure what they did to the mix, but it was totally weird.
July 28 | Unregistered Commenterpaxenb
What a bonkers idea - but it looks delicious! Nom nom nom. :)
This looks so yummy, i'm definitely going to try this some time!
And this is why I love your blog. 'Nough said.
Holy cake balls, that is the definition of an extreme cake. Frosting inside the cake, on top of the cake, around the cake, YES!
July 31 | Unregistered Commenterrooth
Ooooh that's one I'm gonna try, maybe though not use a whole tub of frosting...
August 1 | Unregistered CommenterKell
I actually had this idea and i've wanted to try it, and this post inspired me! I made half the mix with frosting folded in and half without. The half without was fluffier but the half with was moister on the inside and slightly harder on the outside. It wasnt gooey, but half of it did stick to the pan and it was difficult to remove. The half with frosting mixed in was actually better and I think I'll make it like this in the future :) I used buttercream and yellow cake. I love your blog, by the way!!
August 3 | Unregistered Commenterdru rose
Yes! I love it. And all of its ooey, gooey, butter cake innards. Sprinkles + more frosting make everything better.
I saw this yesterday and wanted to try this!
So, my roommates and I made it today using pillsbury cake mix and frosting. I didn't use whipped. The cake batter was thick and yummy.
We actually put it in a 13x9 inch pan. It did take longer to bake, about 36 minutes. It deflated when taken out, but was really rich, dense, moist and very good. No gooey center though. We topped it off with vanilla frosting and tons of sprinkles.
It is insanely delicious and will make it again using the two 9 inch pans instead of the 13x9inch. It added a wonderful delicious finish to our junk food day here at college. I love your creativity, and I really enjoy your blog and this cake was delicious! I can't wait to make it for my boyfriend.
September 8 | Unregistered CommenterTorry
Don't make it too often, Torry, or you won't have a boyriend to make it for ;-)!!!!!
October 25 | Unregistered Commentercazza

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