Making Store Bought Cake Mixes and Frosting Taste Like it was Homemade

Rhonda is one of my bestest of best friends! And today is her birthday! Typically she is the one making cupcakes for everyone else’s birthday so I decided to make her some special cupcakes to go along with her birthday gift! Rhonda loves the zebra stripe pattern so when I saw THIS WEBSITE that showed how to make a zebra stripes pattern using the cake batter, I knew this is how I was going to make her cupcakes! It was a labor of love but they really turned out fantastic!

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I am not one to recreate the wheel. This is evident in most of my recipes. I use what is already available and either tailor it to our family’s tastes or enhance the recipe. Store bought cake mixes and tubs of frosting are so affordable that I often use them versus trying to bake totally from scratch. You can make store bought cake mixes and frosting taste like they are home-made with just very few changes in the directions!

For the cake mix, you only need to substitute and increase certain ingredients. Look at the directions on the box and do the following to create a home-made tasting cake:

1. Add one extra egg than what is on the directions

2. Substitute the oil for butter/margarine and double the amount on the directions

3. Lastly, use milk instead of water

Your cake turns out moister every time! Since I was making a zebra pattern, I used a devil’s food mix and a white cake mix.

For the tub of frosting, spoon out all of it into a medium-sized bowl.

1. Add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar

2. Add 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla

3. Using a mixer, beat the frosting for 2-3 minutes making sure the powdered sugar and vanilla is well combined.

If you are tinting your frosting with food dye, add the dye when you add the powdered sugar and vanilla. When you beat the frosting, the frosting whips up and creates slightly more frosting to work with! The powdered sugar helps to “stiffen” the frosting making it easier to use with docorative tips and pastry bags. And vanilla just makes everything taste better!

I even found these cute zebra print cupcake liners! Of course, I should have read the package or looked closer at the cups themselves. Turns out the outer layer cups had the zebra stripes pattern but within those were tiger stripes and a giraffe pattern. The tigers stripes and giraffe pattern were cute but I was only wanting the zebra stripes. That’s ok though, sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches!

I placed the zebra cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. To create zebra stripes using cake batter, you will need two teaspoons, one for each batter. In the center of the cupcake liner, dollop a teaspoon white cake batter. I would gently smack the cupcake pan to help “spread” the batter in the bottom of the cupcake liner. Then dollop a teaspoon of the devil’s food cake batter. Again, gently smack the the cupcake pan to help the devil’s food batter to spread out over the white batter.Try to dollop the devil’s food cake batter into the center of the white cake batter without it covering the edge of the white cake batter.

You are creating rings of batter. When you dollop, try dolloping it with a little force so that the new batter pushes down on the previous dollop. This will cause the batter to spread out and up. Hope that makes sense. Continue alternating dollops, with gentle taps between each batter until the cupcake liner is between 1/2 and 3/4 full. Repeat with the remaining cake batter until all the cupcake liners are filled. Bake the cupcakes following the package directions (usually for 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees). Didn’t they turn out cute as a button?! Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing.

I wanted to make the cupcakes even more special so I decided to pipe by hand chocolate letters. This is really easy to do! First, print off the letters from your computer. Try to choose letters with thick lines and be sure there is enough space between the letters so that the chocolate letters don’t melt into each other. I always use Wilton candy melts for all my chocolate needs because it does set up completely once cooled. I taped the paper with the printed letters onto a cookie sheet. I then taped a piece of wax paper on top of the paper with letters.

Using the letters as a guide, pipe out the chocolate onto the wax paper. I happen to have a mini bottle for piping chocolates. You could just add the melted candy melts to a Ziploc bag and snip off the corner (make a small hole). The chocolate is melted so it is a little warm to hold but it was tolerable for me. If it is too warm to touch, just let it cool for a few minutes. If it cools too much and begins to “set”, just add hot water to a cup and put your bottle or Ziploc into the cup to get the chocolate to melt enough to work with it again.

I waited a few minutes to let the chocolate set up and then went back over each design again to thicken up the chocolate letters and designs. Once all the letters or designs are piped (I made hearts too), place the entire cookie sheet into the freezer for at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes the chocolate is fully set and solid.

I used a large round tip shoved into the corner of a Ziploc for the frosting. I snipped a tiny corner off and shoved the tip into it. I then taped the Ziploc and tip together to make sure the tip didn’t move and so that icing wouldn’t get between the tip and the Ziploc. After doctoring the icing up and adding enough red food coloring to create a pretty pink color (see directions above), I spooned it into the Ziploc. The easy way to get icing into a pastry bag or Ziploc is to use a large cup. Place the tip end of the Ziploc inside the cup and fold the edge over the cup. The cup basically holds the the pastry bag or Ziploc up for you. I should have taken a picture of this but I think most folks know this trick. I started at the outer edge of the cupcake and iced in a continuous spiral all the way to the center of the cupcake. Once all the cupcakes were frosted, I set them aside to allow the frosting to “set”.

When I took the chocolate out of the freezer, I didn’t have to scrape the letters to get them off the wax paper. Just a gentle push did the trick! I arranged the frosted cupcakes onto a large cookie sheet covered in foil. I then gently laid the letters onto the frosting for each cupcake. I gently poked it into the frosting so that the frosting would stick a little to the chocolate letter. I placed the letters at an angle so they would stand up slightly. I thought it turned out really cute!

I cut up a cupcake so you can see the zebra stripes. This turned out so adorable that I look forward to making a zebra stripe cake in the future.

I loved the way these cupcakes turned out! I know Rhonda will love it too because she knows first-hand the time and effort it takes to turn ordinary cupcakes into something extraordinary!

Happy Birthday Rhonda!

The Pack Family loves you!

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14 thoughts on “Making Store Bought Cake Mixes and Frosting Taste Like it was Homemade

    • There is a pin option at the bottom of the post but I’m guessing that isn’t working? The other option is to also copy the web address and go to Pinterest. From Pinterest you can add a webpage to be pinned. It will give you an option to choose which picture from the post. Hope that helps and I’m terribly sorry that WordPress is making pinning difficult :( Thank you for your interest in my post!

      • Oh I just figured out what you meant! When you click on the Pinterest button, it takes you to Pinterest. It’s asking you to pick one of the pictures to pin. Once you click on one, a window should open allowing you to give a description and you can click on Pin to pin it :) Hope that helps!

  1. Pingback: Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops – Thank You Gifts | craftycreativekathy

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  3. Made a cake this morning, before I left home, then I saw your recipe, did not double the butter, in replace of the oil, so I am figuring if I brush cake ( orange cake) with oj hopefully it will be moist, wrapped cake in plastic wrap, but I will try frosting, will keep you posted! :-)

  4. Used your frosting tip I did chocolate with one tsp almond extract the rest vanilla by 3 cans of frosting and I added a pinch of salt and it taste just like my homemade chocolate buttercream, thank you . adding the powder sugar really makes it crust nicely .

  5. Your tips for a moist cupcake worked like a charm on my practice run. My daughter will be 19 this Saturday and since she’ll be celebrating with friends @ her apartment where she attends the local university, I wanted to be present in the only way I could. I really want her and her friends to enjoy the cupcakes. The icing tip was awesome as well. Every time I attempt to personalize a cake the writing melts. Your recipe did not. thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m so excited.

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