For Peanut's first birthday party, I baked from scratch the most scrumptious organic, dairy & soy free vanilla bean cupcakes. I spent days working on them, along with vanilla bean cookies iced with all natural food coloring. Ahhhh, the good old days. Fast forward three years and an extra kiddo later & I'm in the baking aisle at the grocery store crossing over to the dark side making nice with new BFF Betty Crocker.
To ease my guilt (the "really? you're not making this from scratch" guilt…..the "look at all the additives in this" guilt is still going strong), I doctored the box mix with three simple additions:
- I swapped out the water for milk. In my opinion, this step gives a little more density to the cake.
- Add 3 heaping teaspoons of cocoa powder. The cocoa adds depth and richness while cutting the overly, sweetness common in box cake mixes.
- Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, since vanilla just makes everything yummier.
I will be using this same "recipe" again for Peanut's chocolate birthday cake. I can't believe today is his last day as a three year old! I'm going to soak every moment in…..tomorrow a new chapter begins!