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Downscaling a Boxed Cake Mix

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Joined: Dec 12, 2005


Posted to Thread #18034 at 8:16 pm on Apr 4, 2010

When it's time to make a dessert, there are just the two of us here. And Bachelor Bob down the road. And our local librarians. And our library volunteers. And my coworkers. And our British customers who can't seem to get enough sweets.

So when I make a cake, I typically bake a large one, using two box mixes.

On Saturday, I had already made 2 dozen chocolate covered strawberries for the library and saved a few for us. But what I really craved was a small, pretty cake to put them on for just Larry and I.

Looking at the cake mix box, I realized a simple fact: this recipe needed 3 eggs. And that's <i>all I needed to know</i> to make this:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

It's a 3" thick 6"-diameter cake, made by using 1/3 of the cake mix.

Here's what I did:

The basic Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Chocolate cake mix is 18.25 oz dry mix and uses 3 eggs, 1 1/3 C water and *1/2 C oil (*1/3 C for yellow cakes).

In a small box I whisked together:
1 egg
7 TBL liquid (I used 1/4 C <i>Starbucks Coffee Liqueur</i> + 3 TBL water, because hey, why not?)
3 Tbl veggie oil (use 2 TBL for a yellow mix)

To that I whisked in
1 1/4 C dry mix (6 oz)

Then I mixed it for 2 minutes using a electric hand mixer. No honkin' Kitchen Aid for this.

Used a 2" x 6" dia cake pan and spritzed it with Baker's Joy. Then I lined it with a coffee filter and spritzed again.

Baked the batter at 325 for 37 minutes. I'm not sure why I didn't use 350, which is what it says on the box.

Anyway. The cake rises high above the pan and--so far--has developed a crack both times. Then it loses about 1/2" in the peak. But the taste and texture are fine, so I'm not bothered.

I was going to shave off the domed top, but then remembered some fine advice from here and simply flipped the thing over to ice it with a perfectly flat bottom (now top!).

I sliced the cake in half and sprinkled it with Grand Marnier. Then I soaked it with a few TBL of simple syrup I had in the frig. Then I coated that with 3 TBL of homemade strawberry jam.

Put on the top, soaked that the same way and set it on a rack sitting on a cookie tray, because I decided to go with a poured ganache icing.

Weighted out heavy cream I had left (6 oz) so I chopped up 6 oz of dark Dove candy bars with almonds in the mini-food processor. Brought the heavy cream to a boil and drizzled it into the running food processor. Poured it around the edges, smoothed it over the sides, then poured the rest in the center of the cake. The only thing I didn't like was the nuts prohibit a smooth surface.

Put it in the frig to chill. When the icing had set, I lifted the cake off and centered it on a 8" plate. Then I was going to add the strawberries, but the cake looked a little boring. So I melted a bit more white chocolate candy coating and made the fru-fru scrollwork around the edges. I felt like I was back in 3rd grade, practicing how to write "joined together" cursive letters.

The cake turned out swell. It's moist (dryness being the bane of cake box mixes) and the servings are small enough that guilt melts away as quickly as the icing.

And you know the best deal? The cake boxes were "buy one, get one free", so I paid $2 for two cake mixes. That means I can make <i>five more</i> simple cakes for 33 cents + 1 egg + 3 TBL oil each.


<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Jesus saves. Buddha recycles.

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