Recently, I've started to notice cake mix popping up everywhere. There are more and more recipes I come across that feature "Yellow Cake Mix" as a main ingredient. There are even books out there telling you how to doctor-up your boxed mix.This astounds me. What is cake mix, anyways? Flour? Leavening? Sugar? A half of dozen chemicals and weird things you can't pronounce? Why can't you just mix it all together yourself (except for the whole chemical thing)? Does it really save that much time?
After all this shouting and rage (pretend I was shouting), I'm going to do an about face and become a hypocrite for a sec. Because, you see, I will always make an exception to my cake mix embargo. But this stuff is different. It's light. It's sweet. And it has sprinkles.
Oh god, that stuff is what angels taste like. It's the flavour we all think of when we remember the perfect birthday cake. I couldn't tell you the last time I had some, or made some, but I can still vividly remember all the flavours on my tongue. Pillsbury must have seriously sold his sole to the devil for this stuff.
But (unfortunately), I'm a baker who lives and dies by the from-scratch code. Nothing from a box. Nothing from a jar. Not even my beloved funfetti. I had to prove that you didn't need the Dough Boy to make this magnificent, sugary cake. There had to be a way to take out all the chemicals and over-processed crap, only to be left with a perfect non-boxed version of the sprinkly delight.
Well, friends and fellow cake mix haters, we have done it. We have finally found the answer. A delicate butter to sugar ratio, as well as a hint of almond, really hits the spot. The cake was light, moist, oh so sweet, and (of course) had those all important sprinkles. Pretty damn good. Yes, even better than the Pillsbury stuff. I promise you'll never have to go back to cake mix again.
Makes one dozen cupcakes
adapted from Fake Ginger
1 1/4 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup skim milk + 3 Tablespoons skim yogurt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1) Preheat your oven to 350C. In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2) In a large bowl with an electric mixer, whip together your butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg whites, one at a time, until thick and white. Add your extracts and mix again.
3) With a spoon, slowly mix in your dry ingredients and milk/yogurt mix, alternating between the two. When everything comes together (taking care not to over mix), add the sprinkles and lightly fold in a couple times. Again, do not over mix.
4) Spoon in the batter to liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until your tester comes out clean. Set out to cool before icing.
Vanilla Swiss Buttercream
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg white
18 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1)Over a double boiler, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until the granules have a disintegrated. Pour the whites into a mixing bowl, careful not to get any condensation or water into it.
2)With an electric mixer, whip the whites until it forms soft peaks. Continue mixing and slowly add the butter, about 4 Tablespoons at a time and mix until completely incorporated. Mix well - after adding your butter, your buttercream will reach the "curdled stage". Don't worry, just keep mixing and it'll smooth out.
3) After everything has smoothed, add the extracts. When everything is incorporated, use buttercream to pipe over your cooled funfetti cupcakes. Add extra sprinkles on top. Enjoy.
eat your heart out, betty crocker