I find I enjoy cooking and baking the most when it’s on the fly. I’d rather open the pantry, see what I have to work with, and try to make do than follow a recipe. It’s exploratory cooking, and I find it extremely satisfying.
That’s exactly what happened yesterday. I had a name brand, boxed yellow cake mix in the pantry. When I bought it for $1 I assumed I would just make some homemade chocolate frosting to smear on it, but I wasn’t feeling “that sort” of cake at the moment, and I also remembered we had these (please excuse the lousy photography. Our kitchen has no natural light, and I was doing this on a whim):
Mr. Awesome’s uncle has a small farm and orchard. After a trip visiting family, Mr. Awesome brought back a jar of apple sauce and juice from his very generous uncle. To be honest, I had no idea what I would do with them when Mr. Awesome presented them to me, but looking at the box of cake mix yesterday, it all came together.
So I grabbed the cake mix, the two jars you saw above, and some raisins and dried cranberries (one cup of each). You can substitute oil in baking recipes with an equal amount of apple sauce, so that’s what I did. Instead of the water the box called for, I used an equal amount of the apple juice. I also threw in four eggs instead of the three the box called for.
I mixed it as the box said to, two minutes.
I stirred in the dried fruit and divided the batter between two 8 in round pans. I would have preferred a bunt pan, but we don’t have one that’s bird friendly.
Into the oven they went and I baked them as the box directed.
Since it will just be Mr. Awesome and I eating on this thing, I decided to freeze one of the cake layers for later. It tasted great, praise God, and Mr. Awesome was pleased. It may not look like much, but you could spiff it up with some powdered sugar, a simple glaze made with powdered sugar and lemon juice, or maybe even go for the “naked cake” look and throw something between the layers. And, big bonus, you can add whatever you want to to this: nuts, coconut, dates, chocolate chips, etc.
Happy cake mix bashing!