What’s your take on box cake mixes? It appears that you either love them or hate them. For those that hate them, the general idea is that box cake mixes are not made of anything natural and leave a chemical aftertaste. If you love them though, you probably love them because you believe it’s quick and easy, and maybe you love how light and airy they are.
My take? I wouldn’t pass up a slice of cake made from a box, but when it comes to making a cake, I’d rather do it from scratch. I also think that it doesn’t take much longer to make a cake from scratch than it does from a box, so if you’ve got the ingredients to make a cake from scratch, do it!
There’s something therapeutic and calming for me when making a cake from scratch (when my kids are not “helping” me, that is!) and I just can’t get that same feeling with a box cake mix. That said though, I do love box brownie mixes!
Anyway, last week I stopped in a relatively new shop called Thomas Dux, which sells a lot of organic and gourmet products. The main aisle I was interested in was the baking aisle, and there I found a range of Donna Hay box mixes – cupcakes, cookies and brownies. What intrigued me about these mixes is that instead of the usual oil, eggs and water that you’d find in an average box mix, the Donna Hay box mixes required butter, eggs and milk. I picked up the chocolate cupcake box!
Inside is a packet of cupcake mix, of icing mix and 12 stylish cupcake liners (I actually got 13).
The process of making the batter was a combination of doing it from scratch and from a box mix; first you cream the butter, then add all the dry mix, the eggs and milk and beat until smooth.
I found that I could fill the liners pretty full to get exactly 12 cupcakes. They puffed up nicely in the oven, but when I took them out the tops flattened out, much to my dismay (I like domed tops).
The icing was very easy to make as well, just beat everything together until smooth and creamy. However, my frosting ended up much lighter in color than what was pictured on the box. The picture on the box looked like the icing was dark and fudgey, but mine was light and creamy. This was disappointing, but it still tasted nice.
The moment of tasting – they are very good! Definitely not a box mix taste to be had. They are heavy, a little dense and so moist. They were also very easy to crumble. I preferred the taste of these straight out of the refrigerator as they tasted just like a mud cake this way!
The most peculiar thing about these cupcakes that I experienced is that the liners pulled away from the cupcakes soon after baking. While I didn’t mind much since they were just for me and my family, this surely would not have impressed guests as it looked like we had unwrapped all the cupcakes! I have no idea why they did this.
This box mix is considerably more expensive than your average Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines mixes at up to $15.95 for 12 cupcakes. If you are after quality and taste however, I would definitely recommend Donna Hay’s cupcake kits. I plan on trying all of her kits eventually. I do believe these kits are only available in Australia, unfortunate for my international readers, but lucky for my fellow Aussies!
You can find Donna Hay’s cupcake, cookie and brownie mixes at Thomas Dux grocery stores (for $13.95), Little Betsy Baker (for $14.95) and Donna Hay’s website (for $15.95) – prices were correct at the time I published this post. If you try, or have tried, any of her mixes, please leave a comment and let me know!