Sarah’s Scratch Cake from a Mix

  • Serves: Makes 2, 9 x 2-inch cake layers or 8 cups batter
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 20591
  • Comments: 236

Variations: Funfetti Peeps Blossom Cake; Funfetti Scratch Cake from a MixSarah’s Applesauce-Spice Scratch Cake from a Mix; Sarah's Chocolate Scratch Cake from a Mix; Sarah’s Pumpkin Scratch Cake from a Mix and Variations; Sarah's White Scratch Cake from a Mix
Also published in the Chicago Tribune Newspaper, May 7, 2008

Cake and photo by Ann © Sarah Phillips; Sweet 16 Cake by Ann: "This is Sarah's Scratch Cake from a Mix using Sarah's Applesauce-Spice Cake from a Mix on the 8" bottom layers and yellow cake on the 6-inch top layers. I tapered the 8-inch layer up to meet the 6-inch top layer and tapered that one to 4-inch. I also used Sarah's MMF. Both are excellent recipes! The petunias and lilies are royal icing. The butterflies are gum paste with royal icing bodies."

The Chicago Tribune Newspaper asked me to answer several baking questions from their reader's for some upcoming articles. One was about a cake mix - a reader asked whether or not it could be densed-up or added to to become denser! The Tribune people asked for a recipe. So, I decided to create one for the article!

I took a different approach from everyone else (of course) who has ever doctored a cake mix! 
I created something that tastes so much like a bake-from-scratch recipe, that noone could tell it was made from a mix at all! Not even my family or taste testers who have had my cakes for years! I think I created a monster!
 
I use all dairy ingredients cold from the refrigerator. With today's modern electric mixers, they quickly warm the ingredients to room temperature from the friction from the beater's. Allowing them to come to room temperature before mixing is old fashioned and I believe is no longer necessary.

I tested the recipe with both Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow Mix and Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe (18.25 oz size) and I liked the results from the Pillsbury mix better! I have made adjustments to the recipe with the new cake mix sizes.
CAKE RECIPE HELP

Kelly Says: "I was pressed for time, so I used the chocolate variation of this recipe and it worked BEAUTIFULLY! The cupcakes were moist, and they domed nicely.
This is a GREAT recipe!"

Fearless Baker, Premium Member, Says: "I also made your newest version of the scratch cake. That too is quite a success. I love to experiment. Having a lot of dessert rings around the recipe was made into minis. I used both raspberry jam and lemon curd to fill. I had some IMBC in the freezer and just added a teeny tiny bit of lemon oil to that."

Sarah's
Secrets

I decided to use cake flour, instead of all-purpose flour, and the result was astounding - a denser cake, that didn't taste anything like a boxed mix - but, rather a bake-from-scratch cake with a moist and tender texture. It also lost it's usual boxed mix chemical taste. When I tried using all-purpose flour, it yielded a drier result with a less satisfactory texture and flavor, with it's underlying chemical flavor! I thus decided to name the cake, Scratch Cake from a Mix!

Baker's can add flour, sugar, milk, sour cream and eggs to a boxed mix to increase its density and to give it a sturdier texture. Recipes are not new, however, I could never figure out why so many are written with added all-purpose, instead of cake flour? After all, cake mixes are made with the latter type.

INGREDIENTS
One 18.25 oz. box Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow Mix or any cake mix*
1 1/4 cups bleached cake flour (not self-rising); spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream; do not use fat free
1 cup evaporated milk; do not dilute
3/4 cup vegetable oil; do not use olive oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*NOTE 5-30-2013: Betty Baker, Premium Member, asked: This recipe calls for an 18.25 ounce baking mix box. Pillsbury is now 16.5 oz. and Betty Crocker is 15.25 oz. How do I adjust this recipe?
SARAH SAYS: You have two choices:
CHOICE #1: Buy two boxes and weigh out a TOTAL of 18.25 ounces of the baking mix to use in my recipe. Save the rest in an airtight bag for the next recipe.

CHOICE #2: OR, add in extra cake flour to my recipe to the dry ingredients:
If you use Pillsbury: 18.25 - 16.5 = ADD in 1.75 ounces cake flour or 6 to 7 tablespoons
If you use Betty Crocker: 18.25 - 15.25 = ADD in 3 ounces cake flour

NOTES: Cake mixed using a KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Mixer, 575 watts

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Position the oven shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9 x 2-inch baking pans with cooking oil spray.
SARAH SAYS: Reduce oven heat by 25 degrees F if using dark, nonstick or ovenproof glass baking pans.

2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cake mix, cake flour, and sugar.
Turn mixer to stir speed, for 10 seconds, to combine ingredients.

3. Add in the sour cream, evaporated milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Turn mixer on low, Speed #4, for 30 seconds, just to combine the ingredients. The ingredients will be lumpy. Stop the mixer and with a large rubber spatula, scrape the side and bottom of the bowl.

4. Turn the mixer on medium-high, Speed #8, and beat the ingredients for 2 minutes until light and fluffy and smooth.
SARAH SAYS: Use a timer to help you keep track of the time.

The batter should be thick and flow like thick glue.

5. Unclamp the bowl and with a large rubber spatula, fold the batter once or twice, making sure you scrape the side and bottom of the bowl.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the pans. The batter will fill the pans about half full.

6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned, and when a toothpick is inserted in the middle and removed, it has a few moist crumbs, but not batter attached.

7. Cool pans on wire cake racks for 10 minutes before unmolding to cool layers upright.

STORAGE
Frosted cake keeps for 3 to 5 days at room temperature, well covered.

ASSEMBLE CAKE
I split each cake layer and filled with 1/4 cup Sarabeth's Orange-Apricot Marmelade. (You'll need 3/4 cup total). Cake frosted with my crusting White Chocolate Frosting.

1. Prepare White Chocolate Frosting.
2. When cake layers have cooled, torte each cake layer.
3. Fill each layer with 1/4 cup Sarabeth's Orange-Apricot Marmalade

4. Stack the layers and frost the cake.

VARIATIONS
Funfetti Peeps Blossom Cake

Sarah’s Applesauce-Spice Scratch Cake from a Mix
Sarah's Chocolate Scratch Cake from a Mix


Chocolate cake version with White Chocolate Frosting and photo by Cyndi © Sarah Phillips 

INGREDIENTS
One 18.25 oz. box Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Chocolate Cake Mix or any chocolate cake mix*
3/4 cup bleached cake flour (not self-rising); spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 cup cocoa powder - Natural or Dutch-process, sifted; measure and then sift
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup sour cream; do not use fat free
1 cup evaporated milk; do not dilute
3/4 cup vegetable oil; do not use olive oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Step 2: In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cake mix, cake flour, cocoa powder, sugar and dark brown sugar.
Mix and bake as directed.

*NOTE 5-30-2013: Betty Baker, Premium Member, asked: This recipe calls for an 18.25 ounce baking mix box. Pillsbury is now 16.5 oz. and Betty Crocker is 15.25 oz. How do I adjust this recipe?
SARAH SAYS: You have two choices:
CHOICE #1: Buy two boxes and weigh out a TOTAL of 18.25 ounces of the baking mix to use in my recipe. Save the rest in an airtight bag for the next recipe.

CHOICE #2: OR, add in extra cake flour to my recipe to the dry ingredients:
If you use Pillsbury: 18.25 - 16.5 = ADD in 1.75 ounces cake flour or 6 to 7 tablespoons
If you use Betty Crocker: 18.25 - 15.25 = ADD in 3 ounces cake flour

Sarah's White Scratch Cake from a Mix
One 18.25 oz. box Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic White Mix*
1 1/4 cups bleached cake flour (not self-rising); spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream; do not use fat free
1 cup evaporated milk; do not dilute
3/4 cup vegetable oil; do not use olive oil
2 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Step 3. Add in the sour cream, evaporated milk, oil, eggs, egg whites and vanilla.
Mix and bake as directed, above.

*NOTE 5-30-2013: Betty Baker, Premium Member, asked: This recipe calls for an 18.25 ounce baking mix box. Pillsbury is now 16.5 oz. and Betty Crocker is 15.25 oz. How do I adjust this recipe?
SARAH SAYS: You have two choices:
CHOICE #1: Buy two boxes and weigh out a TOTAL of 18.25 ounces of the baking mix to use in my recipe. Save the rest in an airtight bag for the next recipe.

CHOICE #2: OR, add in extra cake flour to my recipe to the dry ingredients:
If you use Pillsbury: 18.25 - 16.5 = ADD in 1.75 ounces cake flour or 6 to 7 tablespoons
If you use Betty Crocker: 18.25 - 15.25 = ADD in 3 ounces cake flour

Sarah’s Pumpkin Scratch Cake from a Mix and Variation

Ann's cake covered with Sarah's MMF and decorated with butterflies. Photo by Ann © Sarah Phillips

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