In the late 1940’s, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury both came out with a new convenience for people who wanted an easier way to make homemade cakes. The first cake mixes called for the consumer to only add a few of their own ingredients but over the years, the mixes have evolved to become easier to use.
During the health craze of the 1990’s, convenience food manufacturers started to offer consumers baking mixes with lower sugar and even sugar-free mixes (sweetened with Splenda).
Convenience in the kitchen, especially when baking is something that many people look for. Buying a box of cake mix and frosting can cost around $3 and with many mixes, all you need to do is mix in water, eggs and vegetable oil. The question is how healthy are these mixes?
Many cake mixes contain artificial coloring, artificial flavoring and various ingredients that are not easily pronounceable. Many children and adults have allergies to artificial ingredients. Another controversial ingredient is corn syrup. Corn syrup is a sweetener not unlike white sugar except its consistency remains smoother that is why it is used in prepared foods. It is a battle between corn syrup manufacturers and those who feel that when it is used as an additive it is unnecessary. This is just another reason why baking from scratch is easier and healthier.
Then of course there are ingredients like propylene glycol mono and diesters of fatty acids. What? Read your Grandma’s cake recipe and chances are good that you can pronounce every ingredient.
Baking is not that difficult. It can be a pain to measure out the ingredients and follow a recipe but the taste cannot be compared to a box mix.
Today there are tons of recipes available on the Internet that use healthier ingredients such as egg whites, whole wheat flour, yogurt, dried fruit and less sugar. The reason that many people buy convenience foods such as cake mixes is that they want a sweet treat but think that baking is hard to do.
Having a well-stocked pantry with items like flour, sugar, baking soda and vanilla makes it easier to bake a cake when you are in the mood for something sweet. Moms with children who have allergies can bake their child treats knowing exactly what is in the mix because they put the ingredients in themselves.
Cost-wise, it is not more expensive to bake a cake from scratch. Once you purchase the cake making ingredients, they can make several cakes versus buying one cake mix. As you become more comfortable following recipes, you may learn how to add ingredients and alter recipes to be more appealing to your family’s tastes.
Becoming more conscious of what we put in our bodies is important for good health and weight control. The key to it all is moderation. A sweet treat now and again is not a bad thing to have in your diet. Make it better by making it from scratch.