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My mom was a Montessori teacher and when I was a toddler she would make basic ingredients like flour, eggs, sugar and butter and I would get going. When the concoctions I created were inevitably out of balance, I turned to cake mixes. As an adult I reverse engineered my grandma’s gooey butter cake and when my dad asked me why I didn’t do it with the cake mix, I felt it was a real testament to our collective love for boxed stuff.
Today there are countless canned mixes on the market, from the trendiest to the funfetti failsafe. And now, popular food blogger Joy the Baker has joined the boxed mixing game with her creative cake options, but do they evoke nostalgia, save time, and most importantly, taste delicious? I tried all three to find out.
About Joy the baker
Joy Wilson is the woman behind these blends as well as the Joy the Baker food blog. She’s a self-taught baker, cookbook author and founder of The Bakehouse in New Orleans, LA. Her trio of cake mixes and other confectionery is available exclusively at Williams Sonoma.
What is included?
Each kit includes the dry ingredients for a dough and a filling as well as the instructions. The three boxed cake mixes, sold exclusively at Williams Sonoma, are Chocolate Cake with Neapolitan Frosting, Espresso Chocolate with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting, and Vanilla with Praline Pecan Frosting.
What is not included?
You will need all the wet ingredients for the cake and frosting (dairy, vegetable oil, and eggs) as well as a baking sheet – ideally the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Bakery Half Sheet – to make the one of three cakes. An electric hand mixer like the Cuisinart HM-90 Power Advantage Plus is useful, but you can get away with a whisk like our favorite Ultimate 11 inch GIR (Get It Right) whisk and a little elbow grease if needed. The instructions for the two chocolate mixes provide the option to bake in two 6-inch cake pans for a layered cake variation.
I made three Joy the Baker cake mixes and this is what happened
Vanilla with praline pecan icing
Video: Tips to Make Baking a Cake Easier and More Fun (TODAY)
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Growing up, I would die a little inside every time my grandma pulled out butter and pecan ice cream for dessert instead of my beloved chocolate chip. Yet somehow this cake was a provocative underdog! It had a silky smooth dough and the pecan frosting was neither too sweet nor too light on the pecans.
If you love a sticky bun in the morning but aren’t ready to fight over dry butterscotch or yeast dough, this mix is ââfor you. It would be a winner next to your office coffee maker, whether in your home or in a real office.
Chocolate cake with Neapolitan icing
If, like me, you were allowed to ingest large amounts of raw dough as a child, this dough will speak directly to your cake mix nostalgia. The chocolate cake itself isn’t necessarily better than a supermarket cake mix that you can buy for a fraction of the price. However, packets of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry icing powder make better icing than store-bought alternatives.
The vanilla and chocolate frostings provide a soft custard custard flavor, while the strawberry frosting powder packet actually had a whole dehydrated strawberry inside, so the natural flavor of the fruit. really shone. This cake is sweet enough, but no more than a dollop of frosting straight out of the box.
Chocolate Espresso with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting
This cake is the loving child of boyfriend Debbie Nutty and hostess Ding Dong. The powdered peanut butter frosting mix, when whipped with butter, mimics the intensely sweet filling of drugstore chocolate peanut butter Easter eggs. For coffee lovers, the espresso powder in the cake batter has a slightly astringent aftertaste, something that could easily be fixed in a cake from scratch by hydrating the grounds. That said, cake mixes aim to defy mortality so you can have your cake and, well, spend your time elsewhere. And by this heading, this fastest buttercream cake I have ever made.
Are Joy The Baker Cake Mixes Worth It?
At around $ 20 a box, these blends are priced well over your grocery store staples, and not all flavors are created the same. But if you’re a longtime Joy the Baker fan, this bounty might be worth it as a way to connect with the pastry chef herself. After all, the cake mixes come from a beloved food blog project that started in a woman’s kitchen over a decade ago. And besides, you can’t really go wrong with a cake.
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