Baking a cake using a recipe from a cookbook can be intimidating if you aren’t so confident with your baking skills. Then again, with so many ready-mix cake mixes that you find at the store, they can be hit or miss for being foolproof. Here are some great tips on how to use cake mixes from Trader Joe’s. In this article, we’ll take a look at Trader Joe’s chocolate cake mix.
When to use ready cake mix?
More and more, we see products that are sold in stores that are intended for convenience. What most people don’t realize is the simplicity of cooking and baking is being replaced with alternative easy-to-bake products. These ready mixes are ultimately time-saving and a perfect solution if something goes horribly wrong when making a cake. The best reason to use a ready cake mix is that the instructions are simple to follow, and the results are reliable.
Time limitations are always a problem since most adults have a busy schedule or limited know-how of traditional baking skills. This makes it a good solution for relieving the stress and worry that goes with baking a cake in a last-minute situation.
Are cake mixes worth it?
If you’ve never tried using a ready cake mix before, we can tell you that they’re all different for obvious reasons. Some of them recommend fresh ingredients such as butter, eggs, and water, while others ask for oil and sometimes milk. Not every easy bake cake mix is the same, so the differences can result in cakes that taste bland or have an artificial flavor through and through.
This can be due to a cake mix sitting on a shelf for too long and the dry ingredients such as the flour mix becoming rancid. It will make your cake taste terrible, which is another reason so many cake mixes get a bad reputation. Often, expired ready-to-bake cake mixes end up being stored in warehouses for months before they get to your store. It pays to check the date when it was produced rather than the expiration date.
These mixes are also packed with preservatives that do help to keep these shelf-stable, but you can’t rely on these if you get a mix that’s past its prime. Luckily, the products that you find at Trader Joe’s are pretty fresh and have better quality control for stocking their ready mixes. To say the least, their chocolate cake mix is a shining example of tasting fresh. It’s also one of the few that includes the frosting mix to go with the cake too!
Tips to make a better cake
Putting frosting on a cake looks so easy using a pastry spatula. Most folks like to use a butter knife that works in a pinch, but here is a great way to get the frosting onto your cake. Take a medium-sized Ziplock bag and scoop the frosting into the bottom of the bag. When it’s full, squeeze out the air and then secure the top of the bag. At the bottom of the bag, snip a small corner leaving half an inch for the frosting to squeeze out.
This can be applied to the cake evenly so there is less waste and you get a layer that goes onto the cake that isn’t wonky. Use a Lazy Susan to spin the cake as you apply the frosting, which makes smoothing the frosting easier as you finish.
Use decorations that you find in the cake section to make your cake look festive and fun. Decorations also allow you to hide mistakes that can happen from time to time.
Use a stand mixer
Using a hand mixer might sound practical but there are limitations to using it with regular mixing bowls. A stand mixer is designed to mix with efficiency and also helps to get air into your cake mix. It will equally make frosting have a creamier texture.
Don’t settle for the instructions that tell you to add specific ingredients. If your cake mix calls for water, try using milk instead. The same can apply to a mix that asks to add oil, so instead use some cooking butter or food shortening. Your result will have a richer taste and can increase the decadence of what cake is all about. Added spices or flavorings can also be increased to make your ready mix taste like it was homemade. Be sure to use measuring tools you can trust. Last but not least, use a good baking pan for best browning and results.