Is it cheating to use a cake mix? Why use one when it’s so easy to make a cake anyway? After all, with a cake mix you still have to add eggs and oil or butter.
I’ve never been a very confident cake maker and don’t have strong feelings either way. My mum always made cakes from scratch when I was growing up though and so using a cake mix is not something I’ve often thought about. About 4 years ago I made a cake for the first time and I didn’t decorate it. The next few cakes were also plain and weren’t decorated. It felt like it took enough effort to decide on a cake to make, get the ingredients and then make it that decorating it was just a step too far. I know lots of people will be telling me how simple a cake is to make and I know that now, but at the time I was lacking in cake-making confidence.
The first cake I made that I really wanted to decorate was the dinosaur cake I made for my daughter’s first birthday a year and a half ago. The problem was, I was running a marathon the day before and I didn’t have a lot of time. I opted to use a cake mix just to simplify things. I could then concentrate on decorating it without having to worry about the cake itself.
It’s only in the last year that I have felt confident enough to attempt cake decorating and I have made the cakes and done the decorating from scratch. Some of my attempts have not looked especially sophisticated but I’ve felt proud of them nonetheless.
So, going back to the idea of using a cake mix, for me using one to make that dinosaur cake was a stepping stone and in retrospect, the most helpful thing about it was the fact that it made me feel I was doing something easy and so I felt confident enough to be more experimental with the actual decorating. That has to have been a good thing.
Recently I was sent a Barefoot Baker rich chocolate cake mix to try out from the Cake Decorating Store as well as a cake tin and cake tester. I considered whether to add my own touch and add a little extra something to the cake mix. Maybe some chilli or other spices. But then, why mess with a chocolate cake? You can’t beat a good chocolate cake and I wanted to find out just how good this one would be.
The cake itself is very very dark and chocolatey. I spread a layer of blackcherry jam in the middle of the cake because I love jam in a chocolate cake (and that’s what my mum does) and topped it with a dark chocolate gananche – 150ml double cream with 150g dark chocolate melted into it. I then just sprinkled some grated white chocolate over the top of the cake. Simple, but what more do you need from a good chocolate cake?
I really can’t complain about it. The cake was moist and tasty and everyone who tried it enjoyed it. I’m not a convert to cake mixes. I still want to mix up my own cakes these days, but they definitely have a place and I’d be quite happy to eat this one again.
And what about you? How do you feel about using a cake mix?
Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of the cake mix from the Cake Decorating Store but was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions here are my own.