AKD complimented my cake. Like, the taste of the cake, rather than the design.
And I said, as is my practice when someone complements the taste of one of my from-a-box baked goods (full disclosure and all that), "thanks. It's from a mix."
To which he queried, "when's the last time you made a cake from scratch?"
I had to think about that one for a bit. As you might guess, I prefer to expend more of my energy in the decoration of the cake rather than in making the cake itself. Cake mix is just so convenient. And cheap. I told him it's possible that the last time I made a cake from scratch was when I was in high school (after I thought about it more, I realized that isn't true, because I remember making a black forest cake with my clients back when I was working full time, but still, that was more than 16 years ago).
AKD was shocked, and I understand why. I make (practically) everything else from scratch--why not cake? Well, like I said, cake mix is just so convenient. And cheap. Why not use cake mix?
His question sent me to my cupboard to investigate what kind of disgusting things manufacturers are putting in cake mix these days. You know how some folks say you should never eat anything that has ingredients you can't pronounce? Well, organic chemistry took care of that one for me--I can pronounce just about anything they can throw in there--but I can pronounce plenty of things that I don't want to put in my body.
Like propylene glycol. Which is used to produce plastics, to de-ice airplanes, and as a preservative in cake mix (don't believe me? Go look).
Yeah. Don't think I'm going to be able to eat cake mix again anytime soon. I'm feeling a little sick right now just thinking about it.
So here's what you do. You find a good cake recipe. You mix up all the dry ingredients and you put it in a glass jar in your pantry. When you need to make cake, you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and bake according to the recipe. Convenient. And cheap.
If you need an even easier (easier in that you don't have to find a recipe first) method, check out these homemade cake mixes from A Few Shortcuts.
And, just for Beaver-ly (and me) ... here's a German chocolate cake mix recipe.