It might easily seem that boxed cake mixes do no harm and are the handiest baking products available as all the hassle with nailing your own cake mix might deem to be a complicated task. Well, here’s the cold hard truth – boxed cake mixes should be the very last resort as they do nothing good to you. Even though they provide the convienence of having all the ingredients perfectly balanced and the baked result will be close to perfection in the terms of its’ consistence, if you dig deeper into what the mixes are REALLY made of, you will through away all of your boxes right away. Here’s exactly why you shouldn’t go for the comfort and should invest time in making your own cake base rather than taking a boxed mix home with you.
10 Reasons Why Boxed Cake Mixes Should Be Avoided
- Boxed cake mixes are designed to have a very long shelf-life which should be the first red flag. Natural and healthy foods don’t have an expiration date so far that you will see your children’s graduation party before the cake mix expires.
- The easiest way to determine if you should buy a processed food or not is to read the ingredient table out loud. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it! Simple as that. If the mix consists of complicated chemical components, you should stay away from it.
- Zero-trans fat isn’t necessarily zero. The thing is, to elongate the shelf-life, partially hydrogenated soybean oil is often used and while fully hydrogenated oil really is trans-fat free, the other one still has some fatty acids left, hence the word “partially”. Though such products might easily have a very low amount of trans-fats, even 0.5g per serving is too much if you think of the number of servings in one box.
- Artificial food dyes and sweeteners. Nothing that says artificial is good, but unfortunately it is almost impossible to avoid artifical flavors and dyes. However, if choosing to bake your own cake, you reduce the chance of including such components in your final cake by at least 90% as most of the base products have close-to-zero artificial supplements. Even if you’re thinking artificial components are in every food, should you really add another such option to your menu? As early as in the 70s there were published several scientific researches proving artificial sweeteners to have a close connection with behavioral issues. Until this day, there are several countries who have banned using multiple different artifical substitutes. By the way, US Food and Drug Administration has put together an extremely informative study pdf about different food additives. Take a look at this from here.
- Sugars. Box mixes are filled with sweeteners and refined sugars. When baking a cake yourself, you are in charge of how much and which kind of sugars you will add to the cake. You can easily bake a carrot cake without adding any sugar at all! With mixes you never know the exact amount of refined, unhealthy sugars you are actually eating.
- You lose control. It might seem like a good idea to take the boxed cake mix and you are almost all done with your cake but is it really worth it? If your guests arrive and after desert praise you for being such an amazing baker, how does it feel if you know the cake is actually partially not made by you but came straight out from a box? Not the best feeling, right! It might take more practice but practice makes perfect and it’s better to mix together good old natural flour and eggs than replace it with egg powder and chemically bleached flour (yes, they do that!).
- It’s not that cheap after all. It seems at first as if baking with a boxed cake mix is much cheaper but in reality, it’s the other way around. If you think about it, you usually have all the basic ingredients already there in your pantry which means in most cases you won’t need to make any extra costs for that one special cake. The other benefit of course is your health as chemically enhanced cake powder can do nothing good to neither you nor your children! Think of this as a long-term investment – it might not seem like much at first, but in the long run it’s still much healthier to go for a natural, self-made cake.
- It doesn’t take significantly less time with boxed cake mixes. In the end, you still need to mix the powder with water to a decent consistency and the time needed to throw together your basic cake ingredients when making it from scratch is nothing spectacular. In the end, the time difference is easily at most 10 minutes. Is that meer 10 minutes worth sacrificing health? Nope, it isn’t!
- It is not guaranteed to taste the same always. Most people prefer box mixes simply because they are a “foolproof” way and will always taste the same and come out with the same consistency. That’s not entirely true as in the end it is still up to you to mix the final cake together and bake it. If you put there too much liquids or bake it too long, it can easily get messed up exactly as any other baked product.
- Last but most important – they taste worse! Nothing beats a home-made pie with rich flavor bouquet and buttery taste. A boxed cake mix is still just a bunch of chemical ingredients that lack the heart you put to the cake that is made by you from scratch! They can’t put love into a box.
In the end, quality beats comfort. “Easy way out” kind of an approach never leads to a satisfactory outcome, especially if health is in play. Prefer quality, take your time and practice until you nail that pound cake, but never reach your hand for the box thinking that is the easiest, foolproof way to make something sweet for your family. Nothing is sweeter than a home-made pie!