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As much as I like to bake a cake from scratch, I don't always have the time and after trying sereval Betty Crocker cake mixes, I have found they have a great homemade taste but with half the effort. Although Betty Crocker cake mixes used to be on the top end of the price scale for cake mixes, they seem to be coming down and you can usually pick this cake mix and others in the range for £1.50. I have used this chocolate swirl cake mix a few times, now and on this occassion I made the cake for a dinner party. Packaging- This cake mix can be recognized on the shelf by the standard Betty Crocker packaging. This consists of a large red spoon logo with Betty Crocker written inside. There is a large picture in the centre, in this case it is a picture of a large slice of chocolate swirl cake, with a red border. The slice of cake looks delicious and a bit different from pictures on other cake mix boxes. The cake looks mostly plain sponge with a chocolate swirl through it. There is a large red circle on the front that states all the other ingredients you'll need to add to the mix and how many servings the cake should provide. All you need to add is eggs, water and oil, and the cake should serve 12. A small nutrition guide is also featured in the bottom right hand corner of the book. The front of the box provides all the information you really need before purchasing. The back of the box has all the cooking details, prep time and baking time. One side of the box has lots of hints and tips, and the contact information for Betty Crocker. The other side of the box has an ingredients list. The packaging also has a few added touches like what looks like hand drawn hearts next to the handwritten word enjoy. This helps to give it a family friendly feel. Contents- Inside the box, there are two different sachets of cake mix, one small and one large. The larger one is cake mix and the smaller one is chocolate mix. Making and Baking- As with all Betty Crocker cake mixes I've used, the instructions are really clear, and easy to understand. They are laid out well on the box, in a step by step way. Firstly you need to get all the other ingredients together, which are 210ml of water, 70ml of vegetable oil and 3 medium eggs. Next you need to preheat the oven, the temperature is provided for gas, electric and fan assisted ovens. You then need to grease your tin/tins. There are 3 different sized tin options suggested. Beat the cake mix from the larger sachet, oil, water and the eggs together in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes. You then need to remove 8 tablespoons of the mixture and place in a smaller bowl. Pour the rest of the mixture into the tin/tins. Add the chocolate mix sachet into the smaller bowl and stir together using a fork. Once mixed you need to drop chocolate mixture randomly onto the batter in your tin/tins. There is a picture next to the instructions that shows this step so you can see how its done. Then using a knife swirl the chocolate mix through the cake mix. This is easy to do and you can make some great patterns and play around a bit at this stage. Then its time to bake. Bake for the time shown for the size of tin/tins you are using. It is then suggested that you leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out. I normally leave it slightly longer until the tins have cooled more. While cooking there is a fantastic sponge cake smell with a slight chocolate smell in there too that drifts through the house. After leaving to cool, I found the cake came out of the tins easily. I used the tins with the push out bases, however I have used normal tins before and still found the cakes came out with ease. I cooked the cake in 2 round tins. I decided to sandwich my cakes together with chocolate spread, but this is something I personally choose to do and its not something suggested on the box. Unlike alot of Betty Crocker cake mixes it doesn't say you need to have icing, however on the side of the box, under hints and tips, it suggests topping with rich and creamy chocolate fudge icing. I have tried covering the cake in melted chocolate, but found this too be a bit sickly, and although I haven't tried topping with fudge icing, I do wonder if this would have the same effect. On this ocassion though I decided not to top with anything, as it was for a dinner party and I didn't want to cover the swirl effect. the top of the cake goes a lovely golden brown colour, with chocolate swirls being a much darker brown, giving a great marble effect. I put this cake out for my dinner party as dessert and it had a real wow factor with my guests. The first few times I made this cake, I found that when I cut into it the swirl effect didn't go the whole way through the cake, but by sorting out my technique when adding the chocolate mix, making sure I go deeper with the knife, this is no longer an issue. Hints and tips- The side of the box has the following tips. Why not try with Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Fudge Icing? Try serving this warm with ice-cream as a delicious dessert. Why not Try- Adding some flaked almonds, halfway through baking or adding some chopped stem ginger in the chocolate mixture. Taste- I love the taste of this cake. I prefer it without anything on top. It's really moist and has a chocolate taste to it but without being sickly. I found this cake even went down well with my mother who tends to stay clear of chocolate cake. This cake has a great homemade taste but with the ease of a packet mix. Overall Although a little bit more tricky than some of the other Betty Crocker range, its still really easy to use. Its great to do by yourself for a dinner party or special occassion, or just something fun to do with the family. My son enjoys making swirls in the cake mix and seeing how they turn out when cooked. However its not so good for the waist line at 238kcal per slice. The packaging is great, eyecatching, and stands out on the shelf. Overall another great packet mix from the Betty Crocker range.
We all love a cake from time to time and I am no exception to this. While browsing the aisles in Sainsburys a few weeks back this Betty Crocker chocolate swirl cake mix caught my eye and as it was reduced by 1/3 from it's usual price of £1.72 I decided to pick one up for a rainy day. Well, that rainy day came little more than a week later when I knew that some guests would be coming over and I wanted something 'homemade' to serve up to them that would look impressive. In addition to buying this kit I also needed 70ml of vegetable oil, some water (210ml) and 3 medium eggs which I actually substituted for 2 very large eggs that I was lucky enough to receive from a friend. The kit is very simple to use you just need to mix together the cake mix, eggs, water and oil until you get a nice smooth paste, 8 tablespoons of batter are removed and kept in a bowl for use later on, the rest of the cake mix is poured in to your cake tin(s) depending on what kind of cake you are going for. I used one tin to make this cake and I used a 9" silicone cake tin for my creation. Once you have the plain cake mix in your tin you can take the reserved mix from earlier and add the chocolate mix in to this and stir well until all mixed thoroughly and nice and smooth, then take this chocolate cake mix and randomly mix in to the plain cake mix using a knife to create a swirling pattern throughout the cake. The instructions are very thorough, easy to read and informatively displayed on the back of the packaging for the cake mix. I found the instructions very easy to follow and the cake was very simple to make. It took around 40 minutes in the oven and I did end up using a knife several times to check if this mixture was ready as it just felt like such a long time for a cake, however, the instructions proved to be thorough and accurate and the cake was ready in around 43 minutes which was the latter stage of time advised on the packaging. I think I was a little overenthusiastic with the chocolate cake mix and the cake did end up looking more like a chocolate cake with biege swirls in it rather than the cake displayed on the packaging. I think next time round I'd just use a little of the chocolate cake mix rather than feeling like I have to use every last bit just because it's been set aside. I did feel that four tablespoons would have been enough cake mix to leave behind really but that's just my personally preference and opinion. The cake itself was very tasty and I did get a lot for my money. We used this cake to serve to friends and ended up with 8 very generous portions which were all polished off so I guess everyone else liked it too! The cake retained it's shape very well after it had cooled and it didn't crumble too much when cutting and it looked quite nice served warm with a little dollop of ice cream on the side and a dusting of cocoa. I was very pleased with how easy this cake was to make and the making time was just a few minutes with minimal washing up (always good!). I would firmly recommend this for the price and while you could probably make the ingredients yourself slightly cheaper they are all there and ready to use in just a matter of two minutes mixing.
We have just used this cake for the second time. It's getting a second outing due to a request from our eldest for this, and no other cake, for her 13th birthday, having enjoyed the last one so much! Not only that, but after her performance with the previous one, our youngest, aged 9, was commissioned to do the baking. It is a great cake for a novice to get their teeth into (pardon the pun), extremely straightforward and simple. There are only two packets inside, one containing the cake mix and the other containing the chocolate powder. Having emptied packet one into a mixing bowl, great fun ensues with cracking the three medium eggs into the mix and measuring out the water and vegetable oil (we use olive oil, which doesn't adversely affect the flavour at all). Adult assistance (and common sense) take over briefly with the electric whisk to get it all moving, but once started, off goes young masterchef with the mixing until (almost) all of the lumps are gone. Then on to the best bit - mixing the chocolate powder into some set-aside cake mix and dolloping it all over the surface of the cake mix once it's in the tin, then taking great care (&pleasure) in stirring the whole thing around gently to make the 'chocolate swirls'! our youngest was very keen to put her creation in the oven this time so on with the over gloves, and in it went with no mishaps. When the time came to take it out again the pleasure fell to Mum, with youngest looking critically at the visible swirls and being a bit disappointed with her handiwork this time. We'll have to make another.... The small print: Cake mix ingredients: Sugar, wheat flour, vegetable oil, raising agents: sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate; modified starch (tapioca and corn starch), corn starch, enulsifiers: E477, E471, E481; salt, dextrose, flavouring, natural colour: curcumin, betacarotene, annatto; stabiliser: xanthan gum. Chocolate mix ingredients: Sugar, cocoa (50%)(processed with alkali, whatever that means) You also need three medium eggs and some vegetable oil.