| Friends with food: How to bake outside the box

What: The gift that keeps on giving, ‘til it’s gobbled up of course – our Out-of-the-box Cake.

How much: $5-10 (if you have none of the ingredients)

Why: Because performing surgery on a box-cake is the best option.

The 1950s produced many terrible things: suburbia, McCarthyism, gross canned-fruit jello moulds, cool whip, and Wonderbread. But they also produced some lasting, beautiful things: most of our parents, I Love Lucy, make outs at the drive-in, and quick n’ easy boxed cake mixes. You might be thinking, that we’re crazy on this last part, but in reality, the flexibility and ease of cake-from-a-box are totally worth the tinge of guilt you get from succumbing to the lure of “pre-made” or “instant” – all you really need to know is how to modify it. We took one Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil’s Food/ Chocolate cake mix, added a few of our own, fresh ingredients, and did some experimenting. While you could just follow the instructions on the back of the box for a so-so cake, you can add one or all of our suggestions for a fantastic “break me off a piece of that!” cake.


Out-of-the-box Cake:

Ingredients required on the box:

• 1 Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil’s Food/ Chocolate – $1.50
• 1 ¼ c water or milk (we used milk)
• 1⁄3 c vegetable oil
• 3 eggs

Our extras:
• 1 c sour cream
• 1 c chocolate chips
• 1 tsp mint or vanilla extract

Follow the instructions on the box, but add the sour cream with the milk. Add either vanilla or mint extract (not both!) with the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips at the end. Whisk everything together, pour in a pan, and stick it in a pre-heated oven – per box instructions.

Make sure to be diligent about checking your cake – or cupcakes, if you choose to go that route – to see if they’re done. Nothing ruins baked goods like overcooking them.

The frosting is where you can have fun with food colouring and interesting flavours to compliment the chocolate cake or cupcakes.

Mint icing:
• ½ c butter – softened at room temp, not melted
• 2-3 c icing sugar
• 1 tsp mint
• 2 tsp milk
• 3+ drops food colouring; add more until it reaches the right hue

(Tip: we recommend green: a classic for mint cake. But try dividing it in half and colouring one part red to make Christmas candycane designs.)

Whisk the butter, mint extract, and milk together. Add icing sugar until it is the desired texture. Add the food colouring. If you feel like you’ve added more icing sugar than you’d ever need, but your frosting is still too liquidy, just stick it in the fridge for about 20 minutes and it will congeal.


Tips and Tricks:

You can do a variation of this cake with any cake mix. We just love chocolate so Devil’s Food/Chocolate was obviously the only option. As Sophie’s sister says, “desserts that aren’t chocolate just aren’t worth it.” Also, you can add vanilla, almond, or any other fun extract instead of mint if you don’t like the mint-chocolate combo.

And remember, you can use this recipe to make fun cupcakes for a friend’s birthday or a fancy cake for a winter holiday party – the possibilities are endless! But to give you a few ideas, check our blog at mcgilldaily.com for extra recipes, like our scrumptious Mocha Icing!

FWF wishes you a happy, food-filled holiday season. Stay in tune next semester for more friends, food, and fun.