If you are like me and enjoy something sweet every now and then, you might want to consider adding some cake mix to your food storage. Some people may think this is a frivolous item, but some good easy to cook comfort foods may come in handy to help keep everyone sane. Plus, I believe in prepping what you eat and eating what you prep. This is the surest way to have a store of food that you know how to cook, like to eat, and will eat. This also means that you are rotating your food and using it.
There are lots of things that you can make with cake mix. You can make cake pops, you can make cupcakes, you can make cake mix cookies, you can make cake batter waffles, and you can use cake batter to turn simple popcorn into a delightful dessert. No oven? No electricity? You can make cake batter pancakes topped with some warm frosting (cause nothing goes better with cake batter pancakes than more sugar) with a frying pan over a wood stove or even a fire. You can also use it to help out cornbread, and you can make brownies with chocolate cake mix.
As you can see its a very versatile item to add to your rotation. Anytime I can find something like cake mix, that has many uses, and that stores well, its a no brainer to add it to my food rotation. You can safely keep a 1-2 year supply on your shelves and rotate them or you can stick them in long term storage for perhaps up to 5 years. There are two main approaches you can take to cake mix.
You can buy it in the box.
For the most part I will buy mine in the box. I wait for there to be a couple of coupons then I wait for the mixes to go on sale somewhere, ideally for .89 to .99 cents a box, then I apply the coupon which knocks at least half of that off. I will buy as many as I have coupons for. At .50 cents a box, you might be able to beat that by making your own mix, but not by much once you count for all the ingredients. Now if you cannot get the price per box down that low, you may want to consider making the mix from scratch.
For those of you out there who are gluten free, Betty Crocker has several different types of gluten free boxed cake mix, as do several other different companies – but you guys are going to save the most money by making the mixes from scratch as food companies are still charging a premium for gluten free food. Click here for a simple GF Yellow Cake Mix recipe.
I already have the dried ingredients needed for these mixes stored, if you don’t already, you will want to plan on picking up some egg powder, and powdered milk for your storage. Some people add these ingredients to the mix prior to storage so when it comes time to cook it, all they have to do is add water and butter. If the mix calls for butter or oil you can do a few things, you can either make sure you have enough butter and oil stored to get you through a disaster, you can add powdered butter or margarine to the mix, OR you can sub out the butter or oil for a bean puree.
Now before you wrinkle your nose, I have done this several times to make cakes a little more healthy and/or to make them vegan for friends of mine and it has tasted JUST FINE. Really! In a long term emergency, replacing butter or vegetable oil with some (soaked and cooked) bean puree, in cake mix will save that precious resource for other uses, it will also increase the amount of protein in the cake mix making even more useful in a situation where protein might be a luxury. The amount of beans you would want to add is about 1/2 cup of bean puree per box maybe a tad more. That is just about a can of beans, drained and rinsed and pureed. Think black beans for chocolate cake and white beans for yellow cake.
Or you can make it from scratch.
Learning how to make cake mix yourself is a good thing to do whether your are storing it or not. It’s another exercise in self sufficiency and your end product will inevitably be more healthy than the store bought version. Plus, in a long term disaster, you will eventually run out of pre-made mix, and if you want cake, you will have to know how to make your own from scratch.
THE MIX (this is based on Everyday Food Storage’s recipe for yellow cake mix but I made a few modifications to make it work for me, keep in mind cake made from scratch will have a slightly different texture than the store bought stuff):
- 9 Cup flour total – If you are milling your own flour from wheat berries you will want to reach for some soft winter wheat as you want the lower protein content of that type of wheat for cakes; you will also want to mill it a tad more fine than all purpose flour but you don’t want it so fine that you make something like wheat starch. If you are not milling your own flour, you can use 9 cups of pastry flour (which is almost just like cake flour but not bleached) or 9 cups of all purpose flour with one tablespoon of flour out of every cup replaced with a tablespoon of corn starch) OR you can just use cake flour (I am not a huge fan of cake flour because it is bleached and so refined and, therefore, not real good for you but it does really make the best cakes).
- 6 Cup sugar – just regular sugar
- Heaping 2/3 Cup dry non-instant milk powder or 1 1/3 C. dry instant milk powder
- Heaping 1/4 Cup baking powder
- 4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla powder – I have found that vanilla powder is a little easier to incorporate into baking mixes for storage.
- 1 1/3 Cup dry egg powder (this assumes the egg powder ratio is one large egg = 2 Tbs dry egg powder + 1/4 Cup. water, if your brand of egg powder is different you will have to adjust the recipe).
Combine ingredients thoroughly and store in an air tight container. You can mix this up – freeze it a couple of times to kill any dormant bugs in the flour and seal it in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. Don’t forget to write the type of cake mix and the cooking instructions on each package. Or you can mix it up as you need it, if you are already stocking all the ingredients.
USING THE MIX:
- 4 1/3 Cup yellow cake mix (make it a heaping 4 1/3 Cup if you used instant milk powder)
- 1/2 Cup softened butter or bean puree
- 1 3/4 Cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla (or 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder)
Heat oven to 350 degree F. Grease bottom and sides of 9×13 pan, two 9×9 pans, or two 8×8 round pans. Beat all ingredients with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then beat on high speed 3 minutes. Pour into prepared pans and bake 9×13 35-40 minutes, 9-inch 25-30 minutes, 8-inch rounds 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Everyday Food Storage suggests these variations: Add 1 Cup freeze dried fruit hydrated in the 1 3/4 Cup water to make it fruit flavored. OR my variation: add some fruit jam which you made yourself in-between the layers of cake! You can also experiment with adding jello or kool-aid to flavor and color your cake mix.
Do you stock boxed mix or make it from scratch? I hear about people making cake from scratch less and less these days, it is truly becoming a rarity. Also let me know if you give this a try!