I know, I know. You’re thinking to yourself, “Why is she giving me a recipe that I’m not supposed to try?” This is more of a cautionary tale, as opposed to an, “Oh my goodness, you have just GOT to make this!” Basically, I’m saving you from a bad experience. You’re welcome.
Intrigued? Read on…
Ok, so this recipe has a story behind it. Obviously. Because all my failed experiments usually have a back story. I’m queen of the back story. Last month was my husband’s birthday, so I ordered him a cake from our favorite local grocery store. I was telling a co-worker about the cake I ordered, and I was pissing and moaning because my husband is completely not compatible with me when it comes to cake frosting. I like the sweet cream frosting that’s all thick and sugary and makes everyone else in my family want to gag. My husband (and everyone else in my family) prefers the butter cream frosting that’s all whipped and fluffy and does not have enough sugar content to get me where I need to be. However, it was my husband’s birthday and not mine, so I had to suck it up and get the craptastic frosting.
The next day at work I complained to a co-worker and she said, “Did you ever make a soda cake? Those are super easy.” Anytime ‘easy’ and ‘cake’ are used in the same sentence, my ears perk up. I like cake and I’m all about cutting corners. (That’s a nice way to say that I’m extremely L-A-Z-Y.) So she told me and I googled it. Evidently there’s a whole You Tube video about a lady who makes a cake with 2 ingredients. You take ANY box cake mix from the store and add ANY 12 ounce can of soda. BAM. That’s all. Nothing else. No eggs, no water, no oil. Obviously you still need to get a tub of frosting. [On a side note, I found it hilarious in the comments of her You Tube video…loads of people were bitching that the cake mix itself obviously contained more than one ingredient so they said to call it a ‘two ingredient cake mix’ really didn’t count. Some people are soooo picky.]
Ok. So I was extremely excited to try this new baking experiment. My husband was hesitant and made a snarky comment about me potentially blowing up the oven. However, I was undeterred. I got fancy name brand cake mix, fancy frosting, and a fancy beverage. No generics for this baker. (You can use whatever combo your heart desires…this is what I chose… 7up, Red Velvet Cake, and Cream Cheese Frosting. Why did I pick that combo? My husband drinks 7up, the Cake mix was already in my pantry and set to expire in 2 weeks, and the frosting was also in my pantry. Very scientific, I know! I had originally wanted to do a dark chocolate cake with ginger ale, but I was told that would taste like crap and I bowed down to the peer pressure of the nay-sayers)
On Cake Making Day, I watched the whole You Tube video again and I was ready to DO this. I dumped the cake mix and the soda into a bowl. It stirred up remarkably well and had the same consistency as a normal cake mix-eggs-water-oil combo.
I was told to grease the pan extra good because the soda cake had a tendency to stick. Otherwise, you use the same cooking time on the back of the box. The box told me to cook it for 23-28 minutes. That’s a large time difference. If anyone read my book, My Dirty Detour, and noticed how Violet freaked out over undercooked meat…this is me in real life. So naturally I erred on the side of caution and cooked the cake for a full 28 minutes. It had SODA in it….so…soda needs to cook longer?
Yeah…no. No it doesn’t.
The cake came out of the oven and I frosted it once it had cooled off. Now time for the taste test. It was okay. I didn’t want to gag and spit it out, but it was a tad bit dry. My husband and my mom (she’s 67 and doesn’t bake very often, so she demanded that I share with her) both said it was dry crap. No, they don’t mince words. So I ate ¾ of the cake all by myself.
But I wasn’t done experimenting. Maybe I just baked it for too long. Also, no scientific experiment is TRULY an ‘experiment’ if you only do it once. I needed to try it again with different variables.
This time I used Betty Crocker WHITE cake mix, 12 ounces of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and Chocolate frosting. I cooked that cake for 23 minutes AND NOT A SECOND LONGER. Were the results magically different this time? Did the cake miraculously come out wonderful?
It appeared that this cake did not even rise as much as the last one. Feedback from my taste-testers?
“This cake is too dry. I’m not eating this. Don’t make this soda cake again.” (Husband)
“Why is this so flat? It looks like a brownie and not a cake. Cake is supposed to be taller and not so dry. Why can’t you follow the directions on the back of the box and do it the way you’re supposed to? Now I have a taste for REAL cake that’s not yours.” (Thanks, Mom.)
In conclusion…Betty Crocker would like you to use water, oil, and eggs. Soda doesn’t produce the desired results. And…I’m not a very good cook.
The You Tube video lady had another intriguing recipe with a brownie boxed mix and pumpkin pie…but I’m going to try that. I’ll leave that one up to YOU, dear reader. I’m going back to writing and leaving baking for the pros.
Have a great day and thanks for reading!
P.S. If you were expecting pictures of the finished product, there are none. I was all optimistic when I began this whole adventure, but after I saw how it turned out, I decided no proof of my failure was necessary!