Cake Mix Cake (But Don’t Tell Anyone)

Cake Mix Cake (But Don’t Tell Anyone)

Right. Here’s how it went down. I, the ultimate food snob, made a cake mix cake. It wasn’t on purpose. It was going to go bad! And I wanted cake without putting any real effort into it. Holiday stress is getting to me. Well, my stress isn’t really caused by the holidays, but if I’m stressed out around Christmas, you bet I’m calling it holiday stress. Anyways! I needed cake. So I made a yellow cake. From a box. I got out a bowl. Dumped in the mix. Added some eggs, oil, and water. Poured it into a cute pan (makes 6 cakes, each one looks like a little house!). Baked it. I was too ashamed to take pictures. Eventually, my pride got the better of me, and I started making sauces and icing to cover up the shame cake. If you have neither the time nor the inclination to make cake from scratch, some fancy icing (that is also very low effort) will make people think you’ve put hours into it, when in reality you’ve been binge watching Friends and panicking about least squares regression lines, the economy, reading Kurt Vonnegut, and questioning your entire existence! Tis the season.




Basic Buttercream:


1 cup powdered sugar

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Buttercream Flavoring


1 teaspoon instant coffee


1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger


5 peppermint candies


Caramel Sauce




Chocolate Ganache


½ cup dark chocolate squares

3 tablespoons butter

Start by making the buttercream. The butter should be completely softened- soft enough to smush it around like this. 

Throw in the powdered sugar in two halves, and mix it in.

It’ll look all crumbly and dry at first, but as you keep mixing, it’ll get nice and smooth. PSA: don’t use a whisk to make buttercream. It’s a no no. Use a rubber spatula. That’s how you go from the crumbly to the smooth.

Once you’ve reached the aforementioned smooth stage, pour in the vanilla. Mix that in, and you’ve got a pretty dang professional buttercream. Alternately, just use a store bought buttercream. What’s the point of trying? What’s the POINT?! Sorry. I’ve been reading a lot of Nietzche.

Anyways! Pour ½ tablespoon of water each into the coffee and spices. I’ve never made a coffee buttercream. Or a spiced buttercream. I was bored. Happens.

Divide the buttercream into three bowls, set the coffee and spices aside,

and then unwrap the peppermints, and throw them into a Ziploc. Grab a rolling pin, and whack them into pieces. You don’t want a fine powder, but you also don’t want anyone to break their tooth on a large chunk. Or maybe you do. I don’t know your life. You do you.

Throw the coffee, spices, and peppermint into their respective bowls, and mix them in.


Et voila!



Now, you can stop here, or you can be a little bit extra. Guess which one I did. Making ganache is really simple- just melt chocolate and butter over low heat. You can use a double boiler, and chop the chocolate, and make your own butter, and fashion the pot in your smithery, but I was running a little low on time. Entirely up to you! I also made a caramel sauce, but didn’t take pictures. Why? I have no idea. I imagine that’s the president’s response to questions about, well, everything. Foreign policy? The economy? Diplomacy? The pot I made the ganache in could probably give a better answer. Because it’s a pot, and it can’t talk, and I think we can all agree that silence is better than spewing a pile of racist, absurd tripe. Once you have all your sauces and icing and condiments (I’m not going to judge you for putting ketchup on your cake. Well, I am, actually, but I’ll do it quietly), go to town!



You can pipe the frosting on, make decorations, or just slather it on. Knock yourself out!

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