I have been threatening to quit my studies to become a biological anthropologist. I have threatened to leave the excavations and Indiana Jones lifestyle far behind me. I have threatened to trade in my trowels to become an avid cake baker.
And now I've done it. This is the last box mix cake that you will see made by my hand (for the foreseeable future anyway).
This beautiful cake started as a Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake mix. It has a boxed cream cheese icing on it. And you know what? It tastes pretty darn good. Good enough to get served with Christmas dinner. So why bother with the fancy new cake and cupcake cookbooks that my mom and sister gave me for Christmas this year? Because every mix cake is the same. It beats up the same. It falls into the pan the same way. It cooks the same way. And it gives a generally good result. But where is the adventure!? Where are the baking thrills? Will my cake fall? Does adding apricots change the batter enough to change the cake? Do carrots and bananas taste good in a cupcake together? Can I make my own fondant? What exactly IS fondant (besides something they use on FoodTV a lot)?
To answer these questions (and oh so many more), I have decided that this cake is my last box cake mix for the year. Following in Michael Ruhlmann, Kathleen Flinn and Julie Powell's courageous cooking footsteps (in my own very very small way), I am opening the (cyber) Boulangerie St. Louis. One year. 52 recipes. Neighbors, friends, family beware. These edible and (maybe even) delicious cakes are going home with you once a week until 2011. Welcome to the bakery.