“I volunteered to make some cupcakes for church and the lady who was going to do it says ‘I’ve already got the ingredients, I’ll give them to you’—two boxes of Betty Crocker cake mix and a bunch of cans of frosting,” says Kajikit. “I’ve got nothing against the frosting (I’m not a big frosting person anyway…) but I’ve never made a boxed cake in my life. I learned to make a basic vanilla cake when I was ten!”

So Kajikit set about making the cupcakes from scratch, but ran out of flour. “I figured that the box would be okay. How bad could plain vanilla be? I don’t use ‘real’ vanilla in my baking myself. But oh my goodness! As soon as I poured the powder into my liquid and started mixing it stank! What do they put IN that stuff? It smelled like my vanilla-scented deodorant and looked more like corn muffins than vanilla!”

“I’m with ya!” says chefathome. “I not only am disgusted by cake mixes (and even more so the canned frosting!) but as a baker I enjoy the baking process. Using a mix would make me feel like cheating. ‘Vanilla-scented deodorant’—EXACTLY! I make my own vanilla extract and use vanilla beans in my baking and refuse to use VSD.”

“Cast not your pearls before swine,” says rohirette. “Or, if your audience is truly not going to notice the difference, the mix is fine.”

Discuss: Cake mix vs ‘real’ cake

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