Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baking "from scratch"

I know they're not much to look at, but these are my new keeper/go-to sweetened condensed milk recipe, Butterscotch Blondies. Blondies are pretty much butterscotch flavoured brownies.

So I found the recipe and thought it looked good. And it is good. So if you're at all interested, listen to how I made this and give them a go. They're delish.

The problem with this recipe: I don't have yellow cake mix. Who in NZ keeps that in the cupboard? It's a pet peeve that I have that when I'm looking up recipes online 3/4 of them I normally rule out because they start with a cake mix. They sell about 3 various cake mixes in the supermarkets here. And they're super expensive. Compared to online I found someone say you can get any flavour at the store in the states for about $1, and found a recipe that started with something like "Monster Rainbow Chip Cakemix". What the heck is that? Anyway.

So I decided it was time to end that. I found this:

"I have a few recipes from my mother-in-law, who I always thought baked from scratch... Come to find out that EVERY SINGLE ONE of her ecipes start with "1 yellow cake mix" or "1 white cake mix"

The problem with this is that I don't recall ever buying a cake mix. I am 25 and grew up baking with my grandmother, who never used a cake mix. I have every other ingredient you could want to make 30 or more cakes, but no CAKE MIX!!!

Can anyone please tell me how to substitute this ingredient?!?"

I share the sentiment. And what follows, if you click the link, is an excellent, super simple and easy way to make you're own "cake mix" at home.

So once you have the cake mix, and you don't need the pecans or butterscotch chips because who really has those on call in the cupboard either, you can start.

Wait, how many cups of cake mix are in a 16 ounce box? Roughly 4 and 3/4. You're welcome. What I did is used 5 because I thought sifting those dry ingredients might have given them more volume. Then added 2 eggs instead of 1 at the first step to get the right texture dough. It's kind of like cookie dough when you press it in, maybe a bit dryer. The rest should be easy peasy!

My oven, which I have so many issues with that I almost posted about it on it's own, is a bit temperatmental. Gas. With only the fire at the bottom of the oven. No upper element. It makes me feel like I could cook in the forest if I needed to and every time I bake or cook it's an adventure because the sparker is broken and it needs to be lighted manually. That said, with this recipe, it didn't go wrong, it went right. You may notice in the above photo there are dark squares and light squares. That's okay. Even though the oven cooked from the outside in so the edges were brown and the middle was custardy yellow because there's no upper element to grill the top evenly, that's okay. Because for me it was like two squares in one. The dark ones are more cakey, still deliciously soft and brownie like. Nat likes these better. The light ones are custardy on top, gooey, and deliciously soft and brownie like under that. I like these better. Win win.

So give it a go! And if you do let me know how it goes.


  1. The thing is, most recipes are probably coming from America. And cake mixes ARE like $1 per box here. I have two boxes in my cupboard RIGHT now. (Devil's food and lemon). I like to keep them on hand so I can have a quick dessert if somebody asks me to bring one or if somebody is coming over.

    Second, your oven isn't of the devil because it's gas. Oh no. Gas ovens are FAR superior to electric ovens. I think the problem is just that yours is temperamental.

    I'll have to give your brownies a try. Using cake mix, of course.

  2. Do you know about this place in Rongotai?

    If you don't you do now! They had a whooole heap of cake mixes for $1 each, was going to get you some yellow cake, but they were all out. They had plenty of lemon and chocolate though. I am in love withthis place, they have everything from babywipes, cleaning products to cheese & chocolates..>Serisously, check it out!

  3. Sherry - post a photo somewhere of your brownies when you make them, I'd love to see how they turn out. Do you have any tips to make me hate my oven less and begin to work with it's superiority?

    Nicole - I did know about it but had only heard bad reports from other people who had visited there. I'll have to reconsider.
    Also, when are you going to pop in? The cake mix would have been the perfect excuse. Facebook me.