DIY: Making Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade

You’ve probably been there before: the mental debate you have with yourself regarding whether or not making a cake from scratch is worth the time and effort, rather than simply following the 3-step instructions found on every box in probably the most artificial section of the grocery store. There’s always an easy way out, giving in to the oil, egg, and water recipe, but it’s lazy. Then, there’s the more complicated and time consuming way, the eggs, sugar, flour, butter, baking powder, vanilla, etc. recipe, but it’s tedious when you don’t have all the time in the world. Don’t settle for the watered down flavor of death, but don’t go to great lengths if the pay off isn’t worth it! Instead, upgrade the boxed cake mix with easy substitutions so there’s a happy medium (or be an overachiever and make a cake from scratch, but no one likes overachievers. How dare you) (But use one of my cake recipes if you decide that’s what you want to do) (no pressure)

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Make the chocolate cupcakes/cake:

Ingredients (depending on the cake mix)

  • an extra egg (I used 4 eggs)
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream (it makes the cake moist)
  • milk instead of water
  • 1/4 cup of coffee (you won’t taste the coffee but it enhances the chocolate)

For the frosting: Beat together 4 oz of softened cream cheese and a can of frosting.

Follow the instructions on the box, but only beat the mix for 30 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

Enjoy! <3, B

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

First of all, this is not my recipe. I got it from one of my absolute favorite cupcakery’s (..it’s a word), Georgetown Cupcake. When I saw that their most popular flavor’s recipe was posted online, I had to try it myself. Avery’s birthday was on Monday, so I made them Sunday afternoon, and they were almost completely gone before Monday morning came around. These are freaking good. Unfortunately, I realized that I didn’t have 4 tablespoons of red dye in my possession, so 20% not looking for any more and 80% too lazy to go back to Ralph’s, I decided that mine would be “pink-camo” cupcakes…so suck it. Me trying to be resourceful always turns out to be hilarious. Without further ado…

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Make the cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons no-taste red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with paper baking cups.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Lower speed and add eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, red food coloring, and vanilla. On low speed, slowly add this to the stand mixer bowl, mixing until well incorporated. In a small bowl, combine salt and milk. On a low speed, alternate between adding a third of the flour, followed by a third of the milk, and mix. Repeat and mix until incorporated, and stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. In a small bowl, quickly stir baking soda and apple cider vinegar together (it will fizz!) then pour this reaction into the batter. Mix until just incorporated.
  3. Using a standard-size, spring-release ice cream scooper, scoop batter into the lined cupcake pans so each well is 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; beat cream cheese and butter on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. On a low speed, slowly mix in confectioners’ sugar until well combined. Then beat on a high speed for at least 2 minutes to ensure a light and fluffy frosting.

Enjoy! <3, B

Spicy Chocolate Cupcakes

The cocoa powder I used in this recipe was a special blend I found when I was in Australia over the summer..or winter…Anyways, when I bought it, I had no idea it was made with all these different “Christmas spices.” So these aren’t really suited for summer, but they’re pretty fun to make and even fun-er to eat. The idea was to remake Hostess cupcakes, but the spices in the cocoa were so strong. Instead of buying your own chocolate spice (and paying for shipping & handling), I made it so you too can twist this classic cake into an unmistakable Christmas-in-the-summer treat.

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Make the cupcakes

Ingredients:

5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup hot brewed coffee

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (not displayed in the picture, my apologies)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

5 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 1/3 c flour

Small splash of vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 3 mini cupcake tins (or 2 regular sized cupcake tins)
  2. In a smallish bowl, stir the coffee, cocoa, and chopped chocolate until smooth. Let sit for 3 minutes, then move to the fridge and let chill for 15 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, blend the flour, all the spices, & baking soda. Then in a third bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and vinegar.
  4. Add the oil mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until combined, then whisk in the dry ingredients.
  5. Bake for about 10-12 minutes if you’re using mini pans, and 15-20 minutes if you’re using normal-sized pans.

Enjoy! <3, B

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes

I was really in the mood for cupcakes..actually I’m always in the mood for cupcakes…but today in particular. This recipe is inspired by my favorite cupcakes ever.

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Garnish these cupcakes with sweetened shredded coconut.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • Frost the cupcakes my Creamy Coconut Frosting recipe (below vvv)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, set up a 12-muffin tray with liners.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
  3. Fill the tray with batter (I use an icecream scoop) not all the way to the top!
  4. Bake the cupcakes for 14-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched and a fork inserted comes out clean.

The apple cider combined with the baking soda in this recipe is what makes them so fluffy and light.

Make the Frosting:

  1. In a standing electric mixer, beat 3 cups of powdered sugar with a couple small splashes of coconut milk. Careful not to add too much milk; a little is actually a whole lot. Add 2 tbsp. softened unsalted butter and beat until the mixture is thick and can just hold soft peaks. Spoon into a piping bag and decorate or just frost the cooled cupcakes with a butter knife.

Enjoy! <3, B