OK, I will admit that I am…shall we say….”frugal”? I buy very few convenience products, I clip coupons, and I always make sure that I have basic staples (flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, etc…) in my kitchen. I do have all the ingredients to make a cake from scratch at any time. Most of the time I do make my cakes from scratch, but I am guilty of stocking up on cake mixes when I find quality mixes on sale. Some convenience is worth paying the cost.
Another of my, what some might call “faults,” is my compulsive need for organization. Once a week I have a kitchen organization day. I go through my fridge and pantry to see what I need to use immediately and plan my menu for the week. On my most recent KOD, I found a devil’s food cake mix that had been pushed to the back of the pantry!
I was so excited to have found this box of chocolate gold, that I had to do something great. I love caramel with chocolate and I just happened to have the ingredients for a basic caramel sauce, so it was my lucky day!
Now, caramel sauce has to cool and thicken before it goes on the cake. So, I will make the sauce first. This is all you need:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/2 cup cream
The first step is to melt the butter, in a heavy bottom pan, over medium heat. Then, add the sugar and corn syrup. Constantly stir the mixture.
It’s going to look weird at first. You have to keep stirring to get the butter and sugar to emulsify.
As the sauce cooks, it will start to look smoother and turn a golden color.
When all the sugar is dissolved and it is a pretty color (roughly 10 minutes)…….
Take it off the burner, set it to the side and let it cool for a couple of hours. It will thicken as it cools.
Glaze is done for the cake! Next step, the cake. My favorite part about using a box cake is the fact that it is so easy to change things up and make, even the best quality box cake, better. This is what I use with any chocolate cake:
Eggs (Extra large, not large)
If you look at the back of the cake mix box it calls for 1 cup of water. This is not acceptable. Why use water when you can make it so much better? I substitute 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup of coffee liquor. The biggest reason is that the coffee enhances the chocolate flavor and the milk makes it super moist.
Throw everything in a bowl. You can use a mixer, but I like to mix by hand. It is less likely to over mix your batter if you mix it by hand.
I like to use a glass bowl, so that when I am mixing I can see that I have mixed everything completely. After 50 or so strokes, it should be mixed. If you have a few lumps, it’s ok, they will dissolve.
I buy mostly store brand cooking items. You will notice in my pictures that it is usually Sam’s Brand. But, Baker’s Joy is one of the best non stick sprays that I have ever used for baking. If you bake a lot of cakes or bread, I highly recommend investing in this spray. Your bakeware will thank you.
Once you spray the pan, just pour in the batter, and it is ready to go in the oven
About 40 minutes later, times vary with different ovens, you will have a beautiful chocolate cake. Notice the cracks in the top, this is a good sign that it is done. If you push on the top and it feels firm, and bounces back, this is a good sign that it is done, as well.
Let the cake cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 15 – 20 minutes. Now you can flip it onto a plate.
Once your caramel sauce has completely cooled you can pour it over the cake and put it in the fridge to let it set.
And, now, the best part! Dessert! A big piece of cake, ice cream, and a little bit of the extra sauce.
Even though you have used a convenience product, you are still going to have dessert for the family for just a few pennies per person.