Last night I was asked by a friend to help her bake a cake and cupcakes from cake mix for a bake sale for her church's "church building" fund. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I detest cake mix and as such I have always been reluctant to offer my customers, friends and family anything made from the box mix for I've always been an advocate of consuming more preservative-free foods.
As I carried on this project, I noticed that after the cake was taken out of the oven crumbs fell on to the counter and after leaving the kitchen for some time to rest as I was absolutely tired, my sometime present friends "the ants" were no where to be found. I would see them from time to time come out of hiding to partake of my leftovers (crumbs). So this morning the scientist in me decided to perform an experiment. I took out some extra cuttings of cake that I had stored previously in the fridge from a cake made from scratch and placed it on the counter beside the box mix cake crumbs. I waited a few minutes and saw nothing happen until I moved it to another section of the counter that one or two of "my friends" were wandering around.
What you will see in the photo below absolutely proved my theory. There were no takers for my chocolate box mix cake, I even observed a few run towards it and then turned right back to head in the opposite direction towards the "from scratch" cake. Now you tell me, why should we at all, for convenience and for affordability, subject to giving our children and loved ones something that not even the ants want.
When you get down to the fine print on those cake boxes, you'll see a handful of ingredients that I don't seem to belong. Things like polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, cellulose gum and modified cornstarch. In my opinion, we should not be consuming something with ingredients that are not pronounceable in addition to the artificial colourings and flavourings. Persons including children have developed allergies to these ingredients, how and when will you know if your child is susceptible to these allergens. Read your grandmother's favourite recipe and there is a great chance you will be able to pronounce every ingredient.
Yes, preparing the cake mix is easy to follow but to be honest baking is not all that difficult. It would take careful measuring of each ingredient to follow the recipe but the taste is certainly above par in comparison to the cake mix.
I'd simply recommend keeping a few ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder in stock so that once you're in the mood for something sweet you can get something going in the oven. You can rest easy knowing that you can bake your children treats knowing exactly what's in the mix.