Good. Me, too.
I’ve been stuck on boxed cake mixes for as long as I’ve been baking. They are just so easy! And cheap! And remind me of my childhood!
Well, Caroline Wright’s childhood was filled with baking cakes from scratch, so it’s no surprise that her new cookbook “Cake Magic! Mix & Match Your Way to 100 Amazing Combinations” (Workman, $17.95) aims to help scaredy-cat bakers like me get over their fear of baking cakes that aren’t from a box.
All the recipes in the book revolve around a DIY cake mix that you then use to make hundreds of different cake variations. In today’s food section, we ran an interview with Wright that included a bunch of baking tips, but I wanted to share the base recipes on the blog.
You can double or triple this recipe and keep the mix on hand in an airtight container or resealable bag.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. table salt
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine. Whisk the mix again before measuring to make a cake. Makes 4 cups, enough for one 8- or 9-inch two layer cake, one 9-inch-by-13-inch sheet cake, one 10-inch Bundt cake or 24 cupcakes.
In “Cake Magic,” Wright uses the base cake mix to make eight basic cakes, including lemon, chocolate, coconut and mocha. Here is her recipe for the most basic of cakes: vanilla. You’ll see that the main recipe calls for full-fat plain yogurt, but you can substitute buttermilk.
Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pans
All-purpose flour, for dusting the pans
4 cups Cake Magic! Cake Mix, whisked well before measuring
3/4 cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and side of the pan(s). Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)
Place the cake mix in a large bowl. Stir in the yogurt, butter, water, vanilla and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
Bake until the layers are domed and golden brown, and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, about 35 to 40 minutes (40-50 minutes for a Bundt, 25-30 minutes for a sheet cake, 20-25 minutes for cupcakes).
— From “Cake Magic! Mix & Match Your Way to 100 Amazing Combinations” (Workman, $17.95) by Caroline Wright