Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 6, 2011 01:58 PM

Best boxed cake mix and canned frosting

OK ... let me make this perfectly clear ... I am NOT for various reasons making frosted cupcakes from scratch. So please no ... it is so easy, make your own.

The primary reason is it is an acttivity for for one six year old and one three year old and both seriously lack focus. Let's say neither can even follow Dr. Seuss books. So there is only a limited amount of what can be done.

This is mainly about the frosting ... but what the heck ... I'll ask about good boxed mixes as well.

I despise the gluck that is canned frosting with a science list of ingredients and that awful taste and texture. Is there anything out there somewhat natural that tastes closer to home made. I like dense butter cream, but decent anything will do.

Not so picky about cake mixes. The regulars work for me, though it has been years since I made a cake from mix. Anything that is along the orgnanic or natural lines, tastes good and is fool-proof?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The bakery in my local supermarket sells tubs of their basic "buttercream." It isn't great, but better than any of the national brand canned icings. It's probably worth asking the someone in the bakery/deli section where you shop.

    I've always found boxed cakes to be better than canned frosting. Still not as good as homemade, but good enough in a pinch. I prefer Duncan Hines butter golden or devils food flavors.

    1. I think either Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker Super Moist are good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: vafarmwife

        Whichever one does the Butter Deluxe (or to that effect) gets my vote. Love those cakes.

      2. I have "doctored" cake mix cakes w/ good results. One of my faves is the snickerdoodle-use white cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines-to that add 1 cup milk, 1 stick melted butter, 3 eggs, 1tsp vanilla, 2tsp ground cinnamon(instead of, not in addition to the eggs/oil indicated on box.). Bake as directed on box. The Betty Crocker whipped frostings are my fave store bought. If you make this cake, I would stir a little cinnamon into the frosting. I made this cake many times when my mom was ill to bring to her caregivers in the nursing home. It always was well received. Good luck-sounds like you have your hands full.
        Another thought would be Duncan Hines strawberry cake w/ their dark chocalate fudge icing.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sherriberry

          Agreed. Use butter instead of oil, and also add (I know this sounds nuts) a pack of French Vanilla pudding (if a yellow cake) or chocolate if a chocolate cake....extra liquid fine, but I've never needed it. Makes a huge difference in texture. I still make my own icing, but from an easy Martha Stewart recipe.

          1. re: Brianne920

            When you sub the butter for oil what is the ratio?

        2. Those Dr. Oetker's mixes aren't horrible in a pinch. Just add extra vanilla. Do this with all boxed mixes. The Cherrybrook ones are okay, too, but you will need to use butter instead of oil (they're made for people with allergies) to make them taste good. Trader Joe's also has a store brand of cake mix with a non-scary ingredient list, but they are wicked salty, so you would need to add some citrus to balance that out a bit. I like salty cakes, but I'll bet your little ones won't.

          I've never used a canned frosting, but Trader Joe's and Whole Foods sell frosting mixes. If you mixed it up first, would that work? Then your kiddos could just dip their knives and frost.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Isolda

            Yeah, I thought I remembered frosting mixes, so that might work. Part of the problem is I'm staying with family for a while and this particuarl group doesn't do baking. My stuff is still in deep storage so I have to deal with spoons and aluminum foil cupcake pan as I have zero desire to go out and buy dulicate stuff. I haven't seen a hand-mixer anywhere.

          2. Perhaps you've never made frosting. A homemade buttercream is butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and hot water or milk. If you look at the ingredients and directions for frosting mixes, they are essentially confectioners sugar with some stabilizers, then you have to beat in butter, vanilla, and hot water. Why pay extra for a mix with gunk in it to make it shelf stable when all you need is a pound box of confectioners sugar? The technique is the same, you still have to measure the ingredients and buy separately the things that aren't in the mix. Mix is not any easier.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              The OP was asking about canned frosting which requires nothing but pulling off the lid. It doesn't taste as good, but it will be just as much fun for the kids to spread around.