Baking from a Box

Joined Jan 1, 2001
OK now, before you all hang me up by my thumbs, remember that I work freelance and that I need to take the work that comes to me.

I've been asked to work on a development project that uses boxed baking mixes to make baked goods, both sweet and savory. We're using baking mixes as a basis to develope recipes that are new, yummy and have broad appeal nationwide to the home consumer.

My question is this: if you were to use baking mixes, which ones would you most likely use? Don't be afraid to be brand-specific. This is a kind of brainstorm, so no idea is too outlandish.

Thanks everyone!
Joined Aug 14, 2000
Do bags count? I think Arrowhead Mills has a line of bread mixes, scone mixes etc. I use their flour and like it. They pride themselves on being all natural. I know their flour is organic. I would start there. I just checked and they don't have a website. They're part of the Hain Celestial Group.
Joined Apr 30, 2001
I've always been afraid to say this...but standing tall here. Or sitting tall at any rate.

The Cake Mix Doctor recipes are actually very good. They take a cake mix to new levels - honestly, you'd never know it was a mix cake. And they are absolutely perfect for a throw-it-together-quick take-a-cake-to-the-office cake.

I don't suppose that really is helpful for what you are asking - but I feel better for confessing that dreadful secret.
Joined May 26, 2001
Years ago, I tried a recipe for "Cake-Mix Cookies" which I still have. And some stuff from Bisquik (don't know if I still have those). It's been a long time, though.

How different from the basic mixup version do you want to get? Using the baked-off dough in different ways, or adding new ingredients to the stuff to change its nature?

Having grown up with a mother who used every possible variety of dry cereal in muffins (instead of just bran) -- that might be a place to start, using muffin mix. Or turning corn muffin mix into a really light, cheese-y spoonbread. (Jiffy! that's the one I was trying to remember. Thanks, CalicoSkies.) Otherwise, I confess ignorance of what's out there.
Joined May 29, 1999
snobby mommy here, i like the mixes from Paris Gourmet and Dreidopple Brand.
in a pinch i have used duncan and pilsbury with success adding salt, vanilla and cinnamon to help out the flavors
BUT over the past few years mixes have improved GREATLY!!
Use what you are comfortable with!
Have a great time foodnfoto!!!! keep us informed of your work.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
If this were the 60's I'd recommend Whip N' Chill. It was offered in various flavors and their chocolate flavor tasted like a suitable substitute for el chocolato mousso.

Whip 'n Chill can be a cherry pie;
Whip n' Chill can be a souffle...OLAY!
Joined Dec 6, 2001
We are confessing here about baking mixes? I think the Ghiradelli double chocolate chip muffin mix is THE best mix I have ever used. Ghiradelli also has a brownie mix that is very good.

For cakes, I love Duncan Hines Devils Food and DH white. And since we are confessing, I too have the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook and there are several good recipes in there. Just cuz one loves to cook and one appreciates a good shallot, doesnt mean one doesnt also have the smarts to find a high quality mix or cooking shortcut. Doctored up Jiffy Cornbread is still a winner in my house!
Joined Mar 12, 2001
Also, the Krusteaz mixes are very good. The cranberry orange muffin doctors up well and is quick. The crumb cake mix is good also, but a bit too much intense crumb for the amount of cake. The cake mix doctor book is good. I prefer the first one over the chocolate one. As for cake mixes, I buy what ever is on sale! Such product loyalty. I do miss angel food cake mixes that aren't the one step ones tho. When I don't feel like a scratch angel food I am always disappointed with the one steps.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
One of my dirty little secrets (besides Velvetta) is that I love to use Bisquik. I don't do the regular biscuits, pancakes, etc.. Those I definately make from scratch. I usually use Bisquik as a casserole topper (sad, yes I know, but I still love it). It goes back to my early cooking days when I couldn't afford anything, because all my money, during internship, was spent buying new knives! Got really tired of Ramen so I would make casseroles with cheap ingredients and top the whole thing with Bisquik. One of my favorite ways to use it was to mix in some masa harina (mexican dried corn flour for making tamales). The flavor comes through quiet well.

Does anyone remember a mid 80's invention called "Dump Cake". My mom made it a few times. It was a can of fruit cocktail dumped into a rectangular cake pan. You then poured a box of lemon cake mix over it, and baked! :bounce: :eek: :bounce:
Joined Oct 6, 2001
I think that there's nothing wrong with using mixes as a base. Not everyone has the time or ability to make every single meal, every single product from scratch. I think that society has progressed from the Bisquick Impossible Pie mode and are looking for other easy fresh ideas that are more trendy and up to date --

Jiffy cornbread as a base is good I have to say that I love Pioneer mixes by the Guenther Flour Mill (the ones that also do White Lily). and there are mornings that it saves me...a full house and you sleep through the alarm clock?....

And yes, I have a few morning recipes that are based on a baking mix (comes out much more tender and light w/Pioneer) -- and I hate it when a guest asks for a recipe....

If you are talking about the cake mix cookies that are made with cream cheese -- they are good!

My other two cents -- Pancakes should be from scratch -- there is a huge difference there!
Joined May 26, 2001
Was it here or somewhere else that I heard about using pancake mix instead of flour for coating food to be fried?? I agree with Lynne, NOT to use if for pancakes -- they're so easy from scratch, and soooooooooo much better.
Joined Jan 15, 2001
I've been told Duncan Hines is one of the best cake mixes around, but it's only available in retail size. The mix I most use is Jello Vanilla pudding mix, as a cream filling and as an addition to certain scratch cake/muffin mixes. I have tried some cakes mixes such as Pillsbury and Gold Medal, and have to say the ones with pudding in the mix are better.
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I don't use mixes because if word ever got out I could never live it down. That doesn't mean they are bad though.
I remember a work related function I went to one time when a colleague brought some cup cakes. They were quite good and he said he'd made them from scratch. We were surprised because this guy would have trouble even finding the kitchen. Turns out he'd used a box of DH mix. He claimed he really did make them. All DH did was mix the dry ingredients for him.
Store bought doesn't necessarily mean it's bad.

Joined Sep 4, 2004
:bounce: I am looking for a source for the Ghiradelli baking mixes. The brownies and chocolate chip muffins specifically (are there others?) It seems that they have recently disappeared off of all the grocery store shelves I have searched. If anyone can help me I would be very grateful. They are the absolute best mixes around.
Joined Jan 26, 2003
You may want to check out another book "Almost from Scratch". I believe the author is Andrew Schloss. He came to our school once and most of his creations were really good.
Joined Aug 17, 2004
I have to admit to Krusteaz, Pilsbury, and Betty Crocker. They taste great and are easily doctored into something better...Just remember to hide the boxes when your done.

Maggie ;)
Joined Jul 28, 2001
ah, mixes.
Some commercial mixes are really convenient and cost effective if your scaler is having a bad day. Some mixes use the same ingredients you would use and you add the perishables.
Box mixes on the other hand are a great tool for those who don't want to be baker, but want to bake and not have to learn the scientific side of things. I have found that box mixes should be followed to the tee. There is so much R&D that when prepared properly they are fine.
There are two avenues to go. Using the box mix as an ingredient or altering the box mix itself. I think the chalenge is in the first one.
My dry stoorroom has some really interesting things on the shelves, all used as ingredients.Now even a case of yoplat nouriche.
BTW I dissagree with the jiffy thing. I think there is only 3 ingredients and it's a whole lot better to get some fresh cornmeal then one thats been sitting for lord knows how long.
Pete. How dare you slam our famous dump cake. You know we do sprinkle some butter on top to gussy it up. :D :p
Joined Sep 5, 2004
Yes, you can kick up; Jiffy cornbread mix, and box cake mixes.

One of my favroite kicked up box cakes is yellow cake mix taken much higher by a can of mandarin oranges and butter.
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