Archives- Who Needs Cake Mix from a Box?

Original post- June 26, 2013

My family holds a birthday supper every month of the year. Our birthday dinners could be for one person or five, but nevertheless, we always have one. Every month, we sign a menu list (with 26 people, you have to be organized). I signed up for cake and cornbread this month. Saturday night I went searching in my pantry for boxed cake mix and came up empty handed. Normally, I would just run to the store and grab some, but it was late and I was not leaving. My husband looked at me funny and said, “Hey, what is your blog about this week?” I looked at him like he was stupid and told him it was about cooking as usual. He suggested I make a cake from scratch so all of my readers could laugh at me. So….here you go:

Russ agreed to help me with the cake. He greased and floured the pans while I measured out all of the ingredients. Well, let me backtrack. We started to make the cake and then realized the butter and eggs had to sit out for 30 minutes. I would have just stuck the butter in the microwave for a few seconds, but I was trying to do this the right way, so I followed instructions! Once the butter and eggs quit holding me up, I mixed the dry ingredients like the recipe instructed. I beat the butter and then added the sugar while my husband watched. (By the way, it kinds of look like scrambled eggs when you mix butter and sugar!) I cracked the eggs, added them to the “scrambled egg” batter and then mixed slowly after each one. For some reason, this thoroughly annoyed Russ that I was taking so long so he started putting them in for me as I kept the mixer going. Then he decided to pour in the flour mixture and the milk alternately for me. I’m pretty sure this is where I messed up.

I didn’t read the part that said to beat on low speed just until combined. Actually, I probably did read it and just chose to ignore it. About halfway through mixing the milk and flour stuff in, Russ asked why I was beating it on medium instead of low. I turned it down after re-reading the recipe. Then, I realized it said “just until combined”. Oopsy. I was really over-mixing it! I was just standing there talking to him and holding the mixer. I wasn’t paying attention to how much it was mixed! I’m not sure if this had a standing on the consistency of the finished cake, but I’m just going to assume it did.

We finally got it poured into the pans and then into the oven. When the cake was done, I took the pans out and put them on a cooling rack. I was supposed to remove the cake from the pans after 10 minutes and let the layers finish cooling off. I went back around 30 minutes later to do this. I didn’t think it would hurt anything to cool off a little longer! I flipped the first pan over after running a thin scraper around the sides of the cake to loosen it a bit. Nothing happened. I flipped it back over, repeated the scraper routine, and tried again. Nothing. That cake was going to come out! I did the scraper trick one more time, flipped it over and beat the bottom of the pan like a mad woman. The cake came out. Sort of. It lost a little of itself to the pan. I was going to work with what I had though. I started on the second pan. The same exact scenario played out. I now had two layers that were kind of deformed, but promising. I decided to leave them out and let them cool completely and finish the cake in the morning.

The next morning I pulled the covering off and my cake stuck to the covering and the plates I had put it on. The layers were a sticky mess. I had no other choice, but to run with it. I stacked them together like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and stuck in several toothpicks. There was a wide gap in the middle where the icing would go. I was not covering the cake in fondant so there was no remedying the mammoth crack. I had to chant: “Pretty OR edible, not both!” Next, I started mixing up butter cream icing. I have made this so many times, I could probably make it in my sleep. I had a brain fart though and couldn’t remember how much vanilla went in. I decided a tablespoon would work and  measured it over the bowl. This resulted in accidentally spilling a little extra into the icing. I shrugged it off and told Russ it wouldn’t be noticeable. I discovered a tablespoon was too much. Way too much! I managed to ice the cake and make it look somewhat presentable.

My family ate the cake without complaining.  I don’t know if they were being nice or were just having sugar cravings and I was the only one to supply a dessert. I ended up getting a piece that had something sour tasting in it. I’m sincerely hoping I was the only one. I think I’ll stick to the box mix, or sign up to bring ice next time!

Happy Cooking!

Yellow Cake

Better Homes & Garden’s Cookbook- 14th edition

3/4 C butter

3 eggs

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 C sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 C milk


  1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temp. for 30 mins. Grease and flour two round pans or one 13 X 9 inch pan; set aside. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking pwdr, and salt; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on mdm to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating until well combined. Beat 2 mins. more. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 20-25 mins for the 9-in pans, 30-35 for 8-in pans, or 25-30 for the 13 X 9 in pan. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 mins. Remove layers from pans; cool thoroughly on racks. Frost with desired frosting.