Not the boss of me

One of my favorite after-school treats was what my mother called a “snack cake” — cake from a box baked into a 13-by-9-inch pan, sometimes frosted with icing from a can, but often left bare. Warm from the oven, it was, I thought, just amazing with its sweetness and artificial flavors.

My mother was a great cook, but having grown up on a farm, she bought into the promise of convenience products and met very few she didn’t like. I still have a certain soft spot for cake mixes and every now and then will pick one up at the grocery store, so I was intrigued when I saw a new line of cake mixes branded from the television show “Cake Boss.”

Cake Boss Primo YellowI’m not a fan of “Cake Boss” prepared caked, available in the freezer section of some supermarkets. The price tag is astronomical compared to the quality which is only a tiny step above most supermarket bakery cakes. But could the cake mix be a better version than the classic brands?

At about a dollar more than other commercial cake mixes, it’s certainly a better bargain than its prepared cake cousin. And it’s a much better value than some other celebrity chef and bakery cake mixes such as Ina Garten and Sprinkles which can come in at about $15 a box — with the baker still needing to add butter and eggs.

But the actual results don’t offer much more than Pillsbury or Duncan Hines. The cakes are a little sweeter, and maybe taste a tad less artificial even though the list of ingredients is a far cry from what most of us keep in our pantry. One advantage is the baked cakes are sturdier than what most cake mixes provide, if that’s something you’re looking for.

Cake Boss FrostingThe frostings, however, are a miss for me. They taste bland with a waxy mouthfeel, and the can size is smaller than most other brands, making it almost impossible to frost a double layer cake with a single can.

Simply put, the best cakes are ones you take the time to make from scratch. But if you have a craving for one from a mix, there’s not much point in paying extra for one that carries the name from a television show.

Categories: New products

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