Last week I got my “mom” on: it was school cupcake fundraiser day. Oh, Beanie was SO excited to take in the cupcakes and then give his coin for a cupcake. I remember those days. Mum used to make pikelets when it was our turn to provide the treats. I didn’t have the time for that, so at the weekly Aldi trip I grabbed a box of the 81 cent ($0.81) White Mill vanilla cake mix and went to town.
I was pretty impressed with it. I pulled out my gorgeous mix master (I’m still in love with it) and tossed in all the ingredients – cake mix, eggs, milk and margarine, and off it went. It beat up a gorgeous soft and silky mix in just a few minutes. No lumps, just perfect smooth batter.
I went ahead and lined my muffin trays with patty pans while that was beating and when the batter was done I dropped big spoonfuls into the pans. It made 17 cupcakes, though I did all of this with a baby on my hip and the amount I left behind in the bowl probably would have made one more.
The cake mix is supposed to be a cake, not cupcakes, so I sort of guessed the timing a bit. I had my oven on 170 degrees (instructions are 180 degrees or 160 fan-forced. My oven thinks it’s fan-forced, but doesn’t really have the same power as a decent FF.) The cakes on the top shelf took 15 minutes; the ones on the bottom needed a tad longer and were in for 18 minutes.
When they came out, they were evenly rounded and beautifully golden. I had to sample one, and it was really nice. The top of the cake was slightly crispy and the cake itself was light and spongy but not rubbery (which I hate). The vanilla flavour was really delicate, not too overpowering, and it was very sweet. I think I am starting to lose my tolerance for super sweet in my old age, as I could have just had a half (I’m turning into my Nana). A few days on, they’re still really fresh.
The cake mix doesn’t come with icing – and that’s a whole other story. I had no icing sugar left, and just had one tiny packet of box icing mix that I’d saved some other time. But it was school cupcake day, and we all know kids choose their cakes based on appearance, so they had to have icing. I pepped it up with some caster sugar, which actually beat up really well with the margarine, and made it quite fluffy, but just added to the sweetness (send them back to class on a sugar high, anyone?)
I think this cake could actually go without a regular frosting. I would suggest serving it with berries and freshly whipped cream to soften the sweetness. If you went the cupcake route and were serving it to adults, you could do some sweet little butterfly cakes, with custard or cream and berries or lemon or passionfruit curd.
Alternatively, you could add some lemon zest to the mix and ice it with a lemon cream cheese icing to cut through a bit of the sugary taste. I think I hear my mum gasping (laughing?) here because I have never liked lemon until the last few years. Again, it just goes to show that I’m aging. If it’s cakes for the kids, then just go on and add some normal (blue) icing.
For 81 cents, I’m really impressed. I have bought store brand cake mixes in the past to do little cakes for the kids to take to playgroup, but next time this is the one I’ll buy. It really is a great mix. It’s tasty, I know it will keep nicely if I need to do it ahead of time and it’s scored the thumbs up from everyone in our house, which makes it perfect for lunchbox treats.
** I purchased White Mill vanilla cake mix and am not sponsored for this post in any way. All opinions and suggestions are my own. **