Cake Convert

I am a total convert. I will never (fingers crossed behind back) buy a cake mix again for the purpose of making it into a cake. I have made many chocolate cakes from scratch – the fasting kind – and I have made several red velvet cakes from scratch (Father’s favorite) and I may have made some other kind of specialty cake from scratch, but I have never, ever made plain, old yellow cake from scratch. Oy vey, what have I been missing!?

I had told Father I would make him a caramel cake for dessert Saturday and got the ingredients at the store to make penuche for the frosting, but as I was walking in the door with the groceries I almost slapped myself. (Fortunately I didn’t because I had 40 lbs of bags in my hands.) I had completely forgotten to grab a box of yellow cake mix.

It actually took me a few minutes to realize I probably had the ingredients to make one from scratch – I had been thinking about putting it off and making it the next day after running to the store. You can see I’m not one of those natural cooks.

I looked online for things like “perfect, easy, yellow cake
recipe” and wound up also having to designate “all purpose
flour” since I don’t have cake flour. Come to think of it, I
don’t think I’ve ever bought cake flour. Anyway. I kept finding
recipes that were anything but simple and contained ingredients I
didn’t have (although, shockingly, I did have buttermilk in
the fridge…) I then went and looked in my handy dandy Better Homes
and Gardens cookbook, the one that is falling apart. I’ll pause a
minute so that those of you whose eyes got stuck when you were
rolling them so high can refocus on the screen. Better? Ok.

So I made it and it was fantastic. So much firmer than a
typical box-mix cake and a wonderful flavor. I honestly hadn’t
thought it would make that much difference. Everyone loves it. I’ll
never go back. Here are a few pictures I just took (forgot about
taking pictures in the process).

This is a long, thin slice. Notice how it’s not falling apart. (Yes, I then ate it. Don’t judge me.)

This is all that’s left out of a 9×13 pan. Sorry, not artistic.

The recipe online is actually different from the one in the book
(mine probably has more calories…) so here is the one I used:

BHG’s Yellow Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine or
    butter, softened (I used butter – 1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs [note: always make sure you have the
    required number of eggs before you start making the cake*]

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add milk,
margarine (butter) and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low
speed till combined. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and
beat 2 minutes more. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 x 1 1/2 inch
round baking pans [I used 1 9×13 pan]. Bake in a 375 oven for 25-30
minutes [25 minutes for the sheet cake] or till a toothpick inserted
near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
Remove from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks. Serves 12.

 *To my relief, I had exactly 2 eggs.

7 thoughts on “Cake Convert

  1. I've made cakes from scratch too and they are so much better! The texture with icing is divine. I don't make them often but when I do I always wonder why I keep buying box mixes. Amanda is probably dying….


  2. Better Homes & Gardens is also my go-to cookbook when I need something simple 😉 Can I also ask how you made the carmel frosting? I'd like to try this for MY husband's birthday in March!

    Also – I wanted to tell you I've been really inspired by your blog… and finally decided to try blogging myself!


  3. Anastasia. Glad you're enjoying it! There is a link (although I know the color contrast isn't wonderful) in the post for the penuche icing. It links to a post in which I made a caramel cake with five layers (and doubled the recipe for the penuche). I only used a single recipe for this cake.


  4. We had our first homemade white cake the other day for Elizabeth's birthday. Both Wyatt and I had the same though– why don't we do this more often, rather than buy boxed mixes? Your penuche looks and sounds amazing. YUM!


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