Celebrate with Chocolate Cake Recipes

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We Love Cake!

Today, February 27th, is National Chocolate Cake Day.  We’ve spoken many times before about the history of cake, but never about the history of the boxed cake mix.  The Duff Company of Pittsburgh, a molasses manufacturer, introduced Devil’s food chocolate cake mixes in the mid 1930s, but it was not well-received primarily due to rationing during the war.  In 1945, Duncan Hines merges with Proctor Gamble and introduced a “Three Star Special.”  With this mix a white, yellow or chocolate cake could be made from the mix.

What started as a simple marketing ploy sparked a new age of cake baking. Slowly but surely, home bakers began to see the baking of the cake itself as a simple first step. The icing, decoration, and serving of the cake became an art form. With the basic foundation of the cake perfected by flour companies, home bakers followed a few simple steps and were free to get creative with fillings, frostings, alternative preparations, and other creative treatments.

Cake mixes are still a large part of a home chef’s repertoire.  But the great news is that creative cooks and professionals have taken this handy, time-saving mix and elevated it through ingredient substitutions and additions.  Here are some suggestions to make a cake in a flash that will be moist, flavorful and delicious.

Cake Mix Magic


Boxed cake mix (any flavor)

Butter– melt unsalted butter and substitute it for the amount of oil listed on the directions of the cake box. A recipe is only as good as its ingredients, and butter will make your cake taste divine.

Eggs—add one extra egg to the amount called for on the cake box directions (typically, mixes call for two to three eggs)

Pudding- add a package of pudding to the cake mix to give your cake extra richness and moisture. Experiment with different flavors; for example, a packet of pistachio pudding can add interest to a white cake mix.

Liquid—substitute a more flavorful liquid for the water that cake mixes typically call for. Consider orange juice with a lemon cake mix, coconut milk with a yellow cake mix or a coffee with a chocolate cake mix.

Sour Cream–mix 3/4 cup of sour cream into the cake mix. Stir thoroughly. The richness of the sour cream gives your cake a denser flavor and consistency, and keeps your cake moister for a longer period of time.

Additional Ingredient–1 cup frozen pureed berries, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, fruit zest


Beat the eggs for two minutes in a separate bowl first, instead of tossing everything together and mixing at one time. Thoroughly beating the eggs first helps create a smoother batter with fewer air bubbles — this gives your cake a more even, pleasing texture. After the eggs are a creamy, even pale yellow, blend them with the rest of the cake mix ingredients according to the instructions.

Add pudding to the mixture. Choose any flavor you wish to complement your cake mix — don’t be afraid to experiment. If you are using a devil’s food cake mix, for example, add a box of chocolate pudding. Vanilla pudding mix enhances the flavor of most boxed cake varieties.Toss in 1 cup of either semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped nuts or frozen pureed berries to your mix. Experiment with different combinations. Add pineapples or chopped almonds to a yellow cake mix, for example, or strawberries to a white cake mix.Top your frosted cake with the rest of the chocolate chips, berries or nuts. Toss sliced almonds in a neat mound atop a doctored-up carrot or yellow cake. Arrange strawberries around the perimeter of a white cake. Decorate a devil’s food or chocolate cake with chocolate chips.

photo courtesy of wetakethecake.com



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