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Secrets of a Home Baker – Part I

by Freebies4Mom on April 8, 2008 8:54 pm

Green Mama here, bringing you the first in my Home Baking series. You want to learn how to make beautifully decorated cakes & cupcakes? Let’s start from the beginning–how to make great tasting cake! Personally, it doesn’t matter to me how wonderful something is decorated if it doesn’t taste good.

Here are my first (and best) secrets on how to take an ordinary box of cake mix from the grocery store shelf and transform it in your kitchen into cake people will be talking about for days!
TIP #1 – Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Any box cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
  • 1 small box of instant pudding that matches the flavor of your cake. Vanilla or French Vanilla will do if you can’t match the flavor.
  • 1 small container of yogurt (I prefer Stonyfield Farms) that matches the flavor of your cake. Once again, plain or vanilla will do if you can’t match the flavor.

Following the directions on the back of your cake mix, add 1 extra egg and substitute milk for the water. You can use chocolate/strawberry/vanilla milk to match your flavor of cake.


Example: To make an awesome chocolate cake, you would need a chocolate box cake mix, chocolate instant pudding, chocolate yogurt, an extra egg and chocolate milk.
Mix the wet ingredients together, then the dry. Pour batter into cupcake liners, each about 2/3 filled.
TIP #2 – Baking the cupcakes:
Whatever baking temperature is listed on the cake mix box, turn it down 25 degrees and bake about 5 minutes longer, or until done.
When they come out of the oven, do not cool on a baking rack! Instead, transfer them directly into a cupcake caddy (pictured above) or any type of plastic container with a lid. Close the lid to keep the moisture in and inside your cupcakes. They will take longer to cool, but are well worth the wait.
Added bonus: since these cupcakes are so moist, you can make them a day or two in advance to save on time!
This is my basic recipe, there are many additions you can make to your cake mixes depending on your personal tastes. Give it a try & let me know what you think!
If you have any specific questions, please E-mail me

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerri in WV April 8, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Oh my! I bet these are delicious!Thanks!

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Nicole April 8, 2008 at 9:13 pm

These sound yummy!:)

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Hillary April 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Yummy!! My mouth is already watering! So glad I stocked up on some cake mixes when they were B1G1 at publix!

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Amanda Ann April 8, 2008 at 10:40 pm

awesome tips!!! thanks!!

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Heather April 8, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Wow – you really did reveal some secrets! I’ve added instant pudding before – but yogurt? and milk instead of water? These are new things to try and I can’t wait to try them! Thanks, Green Mama!

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Brent April 9, 2008 at 7:55 am

Sounds oh, so good!!Where did you find your cupcake caddy?-Kate

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K&E'sMama April 9, 2008 at 8:05 am

The best place is Michaels/Hobby Lobby/AC Moore, depending what you have. Wait for their 50% off coupon in the paper, then it’s a steal!I think they make a deluxe model that holds 24 cupcakes. This one only holds 12.

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Candace April 9, 2008 at 10:06 am

I will most definately be trying this.

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Hillary April 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I am so glad I came back and read the comments again! I never would have thought to use the 50% off coupons at Micheals etc for the cupcake caddy! Once again, thanks!!I already can’t wait for the next part of the post! Frosting and decorating always means I end up with more frosting on me than the cupcakes! Help!

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K&E'sMama April 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Hillary—help is on the way!Everyone, keep your eye out for sales/coupons for your local craft stores. My easy (and clean, for Hillary!) tips use a few *very inexpensive* items–well worth the few dollars spent!

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canearl April 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm

I’m not a good cook, but I think that I might even be able to pull that off- thank you for sharing!!

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MommyStamper April 9, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Oh yummy!!!! I can’t wait to try this out. It makes my mouth water thinking about how moist they will be.Thank you for sharing your secret! Looking forward to more:)

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Rock Chalk April 9, 2008 at 9:26 pm

This may be a dumb question, but… I need to ask it. Do I add all of the stuff you said (pudding, yogurt, extra egg, milk), AND the stuff on the back of the box — vegetable oil and more eggs? I just want to clarify. THANKS! These sound yummy!

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Loni April 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips with us! I can’t wait to try them the next time I make cupcakes!

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K&E'sMama April 10, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Rock Chalk – Not a dumb question!Yes, you add these ingredients in addition to what is listed on the back of the box. It’s how to ‘doctor up’ a simple cake mix.Don’t forget, the milk in place of the water is the only thing you substitute–don’t add both!

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Frugal Finds April 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Oh these sound great and I am not even a cake fan!! I added this page to my blog yesterday to share with other’s!! Do you have a low fat version that is just as yummy? I can not wait until the next class!!! Frugal Carol

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K&E'sMama April 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Frugal Finds – Thanks for the link!My only help for a lower fat version would be using non fat milk & non fat yogurt. I have substituted applesauce for oil when baking before, just never tried it in cakes.You probably don’t want my easy & delicious icing recipe that I will be posting next week………….

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Rachel April 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Wow! I can’t wait to try this! Baking is my favorite thing ever, and I’ve never heard tips like these before. I’m all about skipping steps! (Go boxed mixes!)

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misspooh8 April 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Wow that sounds so good, I am going to have to try it later this week. This may be a silly question but can you make this as a cake instead of cupcakes and it still turn out well? Any suggestions for the cooling aspect? Thanks for sharing, can’t wait for the next posts.

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K&E'sMama April 14, 2008 at 10:12 am

misspooh8,YES! This works just as well for cakes. It will make 2-9″ layers plus a few cupcakes.Cooling cakes: When you take the cake out of the oven, let it cool just long enough so you can touch it without burning yourself! Wrap the cake in plastic wrap/press n seal and set aside until it cools off. The wrap will keep the moisture in your cake.

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sheiladoherty April 21, 2008 at 6:08 pm

These turned out so good. They’re the best cupcakes ever. Thanks for the recipe!

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