Some of you might think that since I decorate cakes, that I’m a magician in the kitchen. Well, not exactly. According to my husband, I am a good cook, but when it comes to baking from scratch, I need a lot of work. That’s why I am going to tell you how doctored up chocolate cake mixes are making the world a better place…well, at least for me it is. 😉
What Does “Doctored Up” Mean?
Over the past few years I have tried my hand at making a “from scratch” cake or cupcakes and they always turned out dense and flavorless. How I did this, I don’t know, but it really has not worked out for me to make my cakes this way. So, I have always resorted to a box mix. In my search to try and find a way to make a “from scratch” cake, I discovered an interesting concept. Doctored up cake mix recipes. This discovery has made my life so much happier and has almost entirely kept my trash can empty of failed cakes.
What is the concept of a “Doctored up” cake mix? It is basically taking the foundation of a prepackaged cake mix and adding a few extra ingredients, besides what it calls for, and it makes that cake taste like a “from scratch” recipe. Now, don’t get confused, these are NOT substitutions. These are ADDED ingredients. If you follow the recipe, your cake will turn out perfect.
Doctored Up Chocolate Cake Mix Recipe
One of my favorite go-to recipes for a chocolate cake, and I am only focusing on chocolate cake for this post, is one that I found at a great site called My Baking Addiction. With a few extra ingredients, your cake or cupcakes (I usually make cupcakes with this recipe) will be light and moist but still firm enough to stack a few layers of cake.
(Pure Vanilla is a dark brown in color, but I had run out of vanilla when I needed to take this shot. I thought it was important to put it in the picture anyway.)
1 (15.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (see note below)
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (see note below)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
3. Distribute the batter between 24 muffin cups; about 3 tablespoons of batter each.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, top with your favorite icing.
For 2 9-inch Cake Layers: Pour batter evenly between 2 greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Frost cooled cake with your favorite icing.
NOTES From Jamie Lothridge of mybakingaddiction.com:
– Favorite Devil’s Food Cake is Betty Crocker – Pudding in the mix.
– If you don’t have instant espresso granules, you can sub in 1/2 cup warm coffee.
– The espresso in this recipe really just deepens the chocolate flavor, but if you aren’t into the whole coffee thing, just use 1/2 cup warm water.
-If you are using a different flavor of cake mix and pudding, simply omit the espresso granules and simply use 1/2 cup warm water.
Recipe from Jamie Lothridge of mybakingaddiction.com
What if I use a cake mix that already has pudding in the mix? Do I add the box of pudding still?
This is a great question, and one that I had myself. So I decided to test it out and the verdict is, YES, you still can. It will not affect the cake in any way. You can also leave it out, if there is pudding in the mix, and it shouldn’t affect the outcome either.
In a later post I will show you how I use this recipe to make my favorite chocolate pudding filled cupcakes using Rich’s Bettercream Icing. I hope you enjoy!
Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions regarding this recipe. I would love to hear how this worked out for you or if you too have a special “doctored up” cake mix recipe or tips that you would like to share.