Baking is a science. I can throw anything I want together to make an amazing pasta sauce, a fantastic soup, or an on-the-fly breakfast hash. No measuring, no precision, and it always turns out fantastic. But baking is different. Baking is a science. So how upset am I to find out that, over the years, there is less cake mix in my box!
Yes, you read that right. Over the years, boxed cake mix has contained fewer and fewer ounces. What used to be a standard 18 ounces dropped to 16 ounces... and then again to 15 ounces! Our most trusted bakers (you know, Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury) have been skimping out on the box size.
You have might have noticed that your favorite Pillsbury cake mix is smaller than it used to be, though they haven't reduced the price, of course. We've seen this happen with cereal too--as the cost of ingredients rises, our favorite corporations are reducing the box size in lieu of increasing the price. And it's not just Pillsbury--it's happened across the board, from Duncan Hines mixes to the generic chocolate cake mix.
How does this change our favorite cake mix recipes that we have come to know and love? The good folks over at Taste of Home did some investigating to see how the reduced cake mix size affects us. They found that the reduce cake mix makes cakes that don't rise as high (no problem, more room for extra sour cream frosting and a scoop of ice cream!). When making cupcakes, it makes one less cupcake than the old recipe calls for. If you want to stretch it out to make the original amount, you can fill the cupcakes with peanut butter, cream cheese, or your favorite jams (yum!).
It mostly affects dessert bars, which will have a thinner crust than you're used to. To fix this, you can use a smaller pan than the recipe calls for (an 11x7 instead of a 13x9 should do the trick).
Taste of Home offers a brilliant suggestion: Become a cake mix doctor. Buy an extra box of yellow cake mix and store it in a mason jar. It'll be ready for you to weigh in a few ounces to bring the boxed stuff up to its original weight. The yellow mix works with any flavor, so don't worry if you're making a chocolate cake recipe. It'll still turn out delicious every time.