Boxed Cake Mixes: Yay or Nay?

Each weekend in autumn brings football, football, football. My beloved Badgers play the Buckeyes today & the Packers play the Dolphins. Last weekend I made these cupcakes for a Badger game tailgate. I was short on time and energy the night before, so I used boxed cake mixes. And yes, I’m aware that box cake mixes make some purists cringe.

What are your thoughts on boxed cake mixes? Yay or nay?

I believe that if you’ve got both the time and the energy, you should make your cake, cupcakes, or other baked goods from scratch. They just taste better and are usually better for you (despite the amount of butter that goes into some recipes!). But sometimes life just gets in the way, which is why I see no problem in using box mixes every now and then. I get frustrated by the purist attitudes of some food bloggers – that if you don’t grow your own vanilla beans or buy the most expensive butter, that you shouldn’t be baking. Ridiculous. Not all of us have the time and money to dedicate our lives to the art of it — and baking isn’t always about the end result. Baking is about friends and family, it’s about making memories. My best friend in high school used to come over to my house about once a month – and we’d make ridiculous creations using boxed cake mixes. Rainbow cakes and crazy cupcakes. I remember the fun I had with Emily and that matters more than the fact that our baked goods weren’t made from scratch.

I could also write about the aversion that some have to using vegetable shortening. Shortening probably isn’t the best thing for you and some people don’t like the greasy taste that it brings to frosting or baked goods. But a little frosting that includes shortening is not going to set the world aflame. Everything in moderation, right?

So do what makes you happy. Use the ingredients that make baking fun for you. Enjoy the process (and hopefully the yummy end results!).

Have a great weekend, everyone.

  • Stefanie Daun - October 16, 2010 - 10:45 am

    I completely agree with you. While I much prefer to make it from scratch, sometimes time just doesn’t allow for it. And sometimes its 9pm and you just want to eat some cookies or a cupcake, even if it comes from the box. :)ReplyCancel

  • rebecca - October 21, 2010 - 9:15 am

    My one scratch vs mix revalation came in the form of an angel food cake. I had only ever tasted store bought or box-made angel food cakes…and then I made one from scratch. Oh. My. God.

    I definitely prefer baking from scratch, but now it comes down to who the recipient is and how much time/expense I think it’s worth. Cupcakes for school? Mix. Cookies for my fella? Scratch.

    I once spent a whole afternoon baking a lemon meringue pie from scratch (pastry/filling/topping), only to have my mother-in-law (who I was trying to impress) say “Well, why would you do that when you can get a perfectly good mix?” :sigh: (She’s not my MIL anymore.)ReplyCancel

  • Annie - October 21, 2010 - 6:41 pm

    Becca – Yikes… your former MIL sounds like a peach!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - June 27, 2011 - 11:04 pm

    I know this is an older post, but on this subject…what about the cakes/cupcakes made using a boxed mix but adding other ingredients…just like the ‘Best chocolate cake’ recipe? To me, it tastes better than some cakes made from scratch! What are your thoughts?ReplyCancel

  • Annie - June 27, 2011 - 11:06 pm

    Hi Shannon :) I totally agree — I often prefer box mixes or box mix-enhanced recipes! They are just so much tastier and more consistent!! I love to make cookies and other treats from scratch, but I see no shame in making cakes from a box.ReplyCancel

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