You know the old song, “If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake…” This is a dilemma we all find ourselves in from time to time. You have 10 minutes before company is swinging by unexpectedly, and besides the first thought being to wipe down the bathroom and tidy the living room, you realize – THERE’S NOTHING TO SERVE!!
I am going to say it… yes, it’s true… there is no shame in having a box mix in the house for such emergencies!!! We at KitchAnnette understand that moment of “no time to do a thing”! And that almost smug presentation of “have a fresh muffin” or “I just took a cake out of the oven” feels great and let’s your drop-in guests feel welcomed.
Certainly do your research to find the mix that, although can’t compete with “from scratch”, is most acceptable. I favor the Trader Joe’s brand box mixes lately. They have a cinnamon crumb coffee cake that is easy and really delicious. And yes, I admit it officially – I have a box ready to go all the time even when company isn’t coming. It’s that good.
Here’s a secret to dialing down the guilt of using mixes – replace the oil requirement with an equal amount of applesauce. No one guesses and your baked goods are more health-friendly! And feel free to “doctor up” the boxed goods. If you do a fast cake bake, make the frosting or icing from scratch. Add sliced fresh fruit or a drizzle of chocolate fudge… a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar! You can then say with a clear conscience that it is home-made (“made” is a synonym for “assembled” after all – heh heh).
Making things from scratch is the only way to go when you have a head’s up to company coming or events or anytime there’s time to plan. But there is no guilt in occasionally relying on ready-made mixes.