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Book Review: Complete Cake Mix Magic: 300 Easy Desserts Good as Homemade (Duncan Hines) by Jill Snider

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Just imagine – no more muss and fuss in getting all the ingredients together to make a cake or special dessert. All you have to do is open a box of cake mix, embellish it, and you have a fantastic, to live for, dessert that completely spells “homemade.” Yes, that is correct! Complete Cake Mix Magic by Jill Snider gives you the license to do so. And, that’s exactly what I did when I tested the recipes for this review.

We are asked to test three recipes; the first one I chose was “Apple Carrot Oatmeal Muffins.” Using a white cake mix, I added rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, eggs, grated apples, grated carrots, milk, melted butter, raisins, and chopped nuts. I did the usual mixing, spooning into muffins tins, and baking. The muffins were moist, heavy, sweet, and delicious while warm. When cool, they took on a different texture and were just as palatable. Serve with a cup of freshly perked coffee and you’ve got yourself a great start in the morning.

For the second recipe, I tested “Orange Chiffon Cake.” because I was skeptical that an ordinary white cake mix would actually transform into a chiffon cake, at least the kind that I remember my mother making. Well, to my surprise, the cake was extremely light (using five whipped egg whites with cream of tartar) and strongly orange-flavored. There was nothing commercial to the look or taste of this cake and I certainly will be making it again.

The third recipe I tested was “Lemon Crisps.” Using a box of lemon cake mix, I added egg, melted butter, and lemon zest. The dough was shaped into one-inch balls, rolled in sugar, and flattened with the bottom of a glass. The cookies were crisp and very lemony. They went well with a cup of tea; and I mean “they” because stopping at one cookie was not easy to do.

Using a cake mix assures the exact measurement of the key ingredients and prevents failure. I encourage fledgling cooks to consider this cookbook, especially if they are reluctant to experiment with baking. I can assure you, no one will know you used a “box mix” because the end result is very homemade in flavor and appearance. I commend Jill Snider in creating Complete Cake Mix Magic – it is a cookbook that will be a permanent fixture in the kitchen.

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About Cristina Lanzi