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Add A Little Vodka To Easily Improve Store

May 21, 2023May 21, 2023

Cakes made with store-bought mix can be tasty, but let's be honest, they don't exactly hold a candle to the kind made from scratch. The flavors can sometimes taste too artificial, and the texture often lacks the fluffiness and moisture you normally want in a cake. Luckily, it's fairly easy to improve boxed mixes because their contents are typically a simple base of flour, sugar, and leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder.

The most common ways to transform cake mix are to substitute butter for the oil that the directions call for, use milk instead of water, and double the number of eggs. To really amp up the richness, some people even suggest adding mayonnaise to boxed cake mix, or sour cream. But if improving the flavor of boxed cake mix is more of a priority for you, try adding a splash of vodka to your batter. You won't be disappointed by the results.

You've probably heard of adding rum to a fruit cake or tiramisu, but for both desserts, you can usually taste the alcohol. Adding vodka to store-bought cake mix is different. The alcohol is instead mixed into the batter and baked into the cake so the boozy flavor dissipates completely. What you're ultimately left with is simply a cake with a noticeably improved flavor.

To add vodka to cake mix, you can treat it like vanilla extract and add a teaspoon or so to your batter. Alternatively, you could use vodka in place of the water. Most boxed cake mixes call for adding 1 cup of water, which can be substituted for ¾ of a cup of vodka. Feel free to use fruity or flavored vodkas, but just make sure not to add any more than ¾ of a cup unless you actually want to taste the bitterness of the alcohol.

When you add vodka to store-bought cake mix, a few things happen that cause it to taste better. Since alcohol, unlike water, doesn't affect gluten development, it produces a more tender crumb. Vodka is also a natural preservative, allowing your cake to stay fresher and more moist for a lot longer. But the main effect vodka has on store-bought cake mix has to do with its effects on other flavors.

Vodka works well in cakes (and when making pie crust too) because the alcohol molecule somewhat resembles the sugar molecule. This similarity not only gives vodka a distinct sweetness, but also makes it chemically compatible with various aromas and flavors. Therefore, when you add vodka to your cake batter, you're essentially adding a natural flavor enhancer. So while the taste of the alcohol may evaporate away in the oven, the chemical reaction it produces has lasting effects on the resulting flavor of the cake.