Do It Yourself: Spice Cake (BETTY CROCKER)

Round cakes always reach a Pac-Man stage.

You guys– I am SO BEHIND on blogging so much stuff. Cakes. Puddings. Cheeses. Food trucks. Home-cooked dinners. One of the things that deters me from blogging is the time that it takes to add “www.thedailybinge.com” to all the pictures. So guess what? I’m going to stop doing that. I have mixed feelings about throwing the pictures up naked, but whatever keeps the posts coming.

For all I know, I’ll drop the fancy URL and the “www.thedailybinge.com” stamp won’t even be accurate anymore on all those old pictures. Haha. Life happens.

Okay– for the longest time I would walk down the baking aisle of the grocery store (danger!) and ogle Betty Crocker’s Spice Cake mix. I was really curious how it tasted, because I typically love spice cake– but not all spice cakes are created equal. (I don’t think I’ll ever figure out the recipe for the AMAZING honey/spice cake that USC’s Hillel used to have on the High Holidays… but that’s life, too. Shit gets lost forever.) (Getting deep on a Thursday morning.)

So here are some pictures of the process…

Ingredients... most of them, anyway.

Those cake pans were about $5/each. I could have gotten one-use pans, but real pans seemed like a sound investment… sorta. (This means I will be making more cake… dangerous when you live alone.) (I have literally been making up parties and gatherings as an excuse to do dessert-making experiments.) (Yes, I use people as guinea pigs– er, taste-testers.)

I also don’t own any electrical mixing apparatus. I just do it all by hand and hope for the best…

Ready for the oven...

It was my first time using the oven, and I realized that certain important numbers were rubbed off of my oven dial– so I was guessing at what temperature I had dialed up. I was pretty sure I was right, but the cake LOOKED done about 10 minutes before it was SUPPOSED to be done. I was taking pictures of it through the glass and texting them to Sam, trying to get his opinion on whether it was burning…

To burn, or not to burn...

But I decided to just go with it, because baking is an exact science. If Betty Crocker says wait 10 minutes, I wait 10 minutes. (And there was no burning smell in the air.)

I’m glad I let baking cakes lie, because the layers came out perfectly cooked, not at all dry. (I didn’t have any toothpicks, so I used a fork to check the centers.) (Like a boss.)

Just forked.

I realized that I didn’t really have a method of flattening the tops of the cakes, and wondered if that would affect my ability to stack the layers. But then I had a revelation– Invert the bottom layer, so the two flat sides touch. (Probably not recommended by professionals, but it worked out okay for me.)

Looks happy.

Pro-tip– don’t stack the layers while they’re cooling, or the insides will keep each other hot, and you’ll wait forever to ice them. (My sister likes to ice cakes while they’re still hot– impatient person that she is– and it always results in weird melty-ness.)

After a long wait (I think I went to dinner in between), the cake was ready to be iced! I chose Cream Cheese frosting, and one container was perfectly enough to achieve full coverage, including between-layers.

Delicious inside and out.

I finished it off with chocolate sprinkles, for looks and for just a hint of chocolate-y goodness.

It's alive! Er-- it's a cake!

I covered it carefully in plastic wrap and let the frosting harden in the fridge. Guess what? It was a very delicious spice cake. Good for breakfast or dessert.

Piece of cake.

Luckily Lauren was staying with me that weekend (the Renegade Craft Fair was in LA), so she helped me with the eatin’. But it’s a dangerous thing to have a cake in the fridge. I didn’t eat the cake in irresponsible portions, but I DID finish the whole thing… over the course of about a week. (Middle class problems, am I right? TOO MUCH CAKE IN THE FRIDGE!)

So while I love baking cakes (easy ones from mixes, at least), I think I’ll only bake them for social gatherings and special occasions. Lest I become like Miranda in that episode of “Sex and the City” where she drowns her sorrows by baking sheet cakes and eating them by herself. (Because the bakery she frequented was prohibitively expensive.) (I happened to see that episode a few days before I baked this… perverse inspiration?)

I’m excited for the next cake-gathering opportunity, because there are so many flavors and combinations to try! Yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Strawberry cake with buttercream frosting!! Funfetti everything!!!

Let me know when your birthday nears… (Mine is Saturday!)

xoxo…

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