The holidays are in full swing, and you might be responsible for a dessert at your next friend or family gathering. Now, I am a busy woman, and box cake is incredibly easy and delicious, so in lieu of making cake from scratch, I am always down for a good cake hack. I have tried all of these myself and love them, and I certainly hope you will too!
You know that applesauce in the little plastic cups you bought the last time you were sick, but don’t know what to do with now? Substitute them for eggs in any cake to make the cake vegan! Applesauce doesn’t have a strong enough flavor to do anything weird to the flavor of your cake, though the cake will be slightly stickier than your normal cake. Use one cup of individual apple sauce for every egg the cake mix calls for.
Soda cake is another option for vegan-friendly dessert making. Take a 12 oz. can of your favorite soda, and add it to your cake mix. Mix until incorporated, and bake according to the package. I recommend using fruit flavors and clear sodas in a white or vanilla cake mix, and coke for chocolate cake mix.
Temple Cake: My temple does a monthly potluck and prayer service, and all the food has to be vegetarian, with no eggs, milk, or citrus. This has resulted in me getting quite creative, and so this is a recipe that I make on such an occasion when I am going to the temple. Mash two bananas and add them to your cake mix in a bowl. Add water and oil as directed on the back of the box, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon. Bake as according to the package, and about halfway through, pull out the pan and swizzle some honey over the top. Continue baking until fully baked.
Kale Cake: For those of you who want to make a green cake for Christmas, this is the perfect natural food dye recipe. Take eight stalks of kale and blanch them. De-stem your kale, and add the leaves to a blender along with the oil and water that the mix calls for, and blend thoroughly. Add this mixture, along with the eggs, to your spice cake mix, and bake as directed. When you cut in, you’ll have a beautiful green colored cake. I have always served this with a sweet potato frosting, but it does just as well on its own, or with store-bought vanilla icing dyed red for a festive touch.
Pumpkin Cake: This is an easy one. Take a 12 oz. can of pumpkin and mix it with your spice cake mix. Bake as directed. If you want to get fancy with it, top with a store-bought cream cheese frosting and chop up some walnuts to sprinkle on top.
Gluten-Free Cake Mix
Now, I am specifically referring to the Pillsbury Gluten Free Funfetti cake mix. This box says that you can use either a cup of water, three eggs, and a third of a cup of oil OR a cup and a quarter of water, a third cup of oil, and four egg whites. DO NOT GO WITH THE WHOLE EGG VERSION. (Incidentally, don’t leave it out for twelve hours before icing it either. Not that I know from experience.) The cake ends up dry, crumbly, and tastes quite stale. If your cake is still dry, make a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated till the sugar is dissolved) and brush over your cake when cooled. This will add a little life back without making it soggy.
I hope this simplified some of the holiday stress and gave you some awesome dessert ideas. Remember to tweet us your recreations @therainbowhub!
Mehek Naresh is an Indian American lesbian, living and working in Florida after recently graduating with a Bachelors in Political Science. Her hobbies seeking out small talk with cashiers, reading, and spending more time staring at tumblr than she’d care to admit.