Thursday, September 6, 2012

The truth behind the cake

Way back in August I made Claire a cake for her birthday. But we were on Saturna Island, staying in a cabin rented by my parents. It had very few baking necessities. I really had my heart set on a cake made from scratch, and I usually think ones from the box taste pretty subpar. But in this situation, it was box cake or no cake. Its clear which situation wins out. 

So here are my tips for making a box cake almost as good as cake from scratch:

  • First when we are talking birthday cakes, go for the yellow cake. It truly is the classic! The chocolate just doesn't taste like good chocolate to me.
  • These cake boxes suggest you use water. That is blasphemy when there are about 8000 wet ingredients better than water that you could add to a cake. In this case I used buttermilk and I honestly think that is what made the difference. Buttermilk is flavourful, tangy and rich and adds depth to the cake. 
  • Get some fruit going on somewhere on there- adds to the homemade feel and flavour!
  • Presentation is everything: I made stencils in the shape of '25' (Claire's age) and dusted it with icing sugar, since I didn't have icing implements.
  • Don't over bake- super key! These babies can get dry.
  • A bit of citrus zest never hurt anyone. 
  • And finally- ice cream on the side! Makes everything good.
I've got to say I was super surprised with how good this was and everyone went back for seconds. And when it comes to baking the means almost always justify the ends, so it doesn't matter how you got there so long as whatever you make taste good and creates love. 

Also - I just wanted to share these nice pictures of one of the most beautiful places in BC, that I took while on the island that weekend.

Orca sightings are always magical.


  1. I had to do this in the Netherlands because the Dutch don't bake (true story)! If only I had had your amazing tips back then! Sob!

  2. I'm sure it was still delish sash! What kind di you make?

  3. Chocolate with whiskey ganache filling and bailey's frosting.