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How To Make A Cheap And Tasty Chocolate Cake

Updated on January 17, 2017

When I was growing up my mother made everything from scratch, and I still like to do this from time to time. However, when I am busy, there is no problem with buying a simple cake mix and topping it with a store bought frosting. Some people will cringe at the idea of using a pre-packaged cake mix, but at least this is better, and cheaper, than buying a cake at the bakery. Also, you can always decorate and top the cake to make it look special, and perhaps someone who is into cake decorating would rather focus on that than making a cake from scratch.

Step One: Buy An Affordable Cake Mix And Container Of Frosting

Here I am using my cheap $0.87 cent cake mix and $1.12 frosting mix that I bought at Walmart.  In my humble opinion these cheaper brands taste just as good as the more expensive name brands, but you use whatever you like as it is your cake.
Here I am using my cheap $0.87 cent cake mix and $1.12 frosting mix that I bought at Walmart. In my humble opinion these cheaper brands taste just as good as the more expensive name brands, but you use whatever you like as it is your cake.

Today I bought a cheap cake mix and frosting container at Walmart and I paid about just two dollars for both. Some people feel that more expensive name brand cake mixes and frosting taste better, but in my humble opinion I think they all taste the same. One time I even made a cake for friends who swore they would only eat the name brand varieties of cake mix with a generic variety, and they did not even notice the difference until I mentioned which brand I really used. So however you decide to spend your money is up to you, but I find I save a lot of money buying generic and on sale brands.

Step Two: Decide On The Type Of Eggs To Use For The Cake

I used brown eggs for this recipe, which calls for three eggs.
I used brown eggs for this recipe, which calls for three eggs.

I enjoy making omelets several days a week, so I used a more expensive organic variety of brown eggs. However, this is what I had on hand so you can use anything you like. I try to use up all of the contents of my refrigerator before I go out and buy something new, which I find is a great way for planning small mini-shopping trips around what I already have on hand.

Step Three: Measure Water Needed For the Recipe

The recipe calls for 1 1/3 cups of water.
The recipe calls for 1 1/3 cups of water.

Sometimes I use non-fat dried milk to make the cake taste richer, but today I just used water like the recipe called for, but do not be afraid to use milk as it adds moisture to the cake. The final cake was a little bit more dry than the last one I made, so next time I will add milk where the recipe calls for water.

Step Four: Measure The Oil

This cake calls for 1/2 cup of oil.
This cake calls for 1/2 cup of oil.

Lately I have been using soybean oil for baking cakes. However, I like to use different oils to enhance different recipes and dishes, such as using corn oil for frying corn chips, and using olive oil for making baba ganoush and pasta sauces. However, any type of oil can be used for baking. Another choice is the use applesauce if you want to cut the fat content of the cake.

Step Five: Mix All Of The Ingredient

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until there are no more lumps. First I add the cake mix and then the oil and water. Finally, I crack one egg at a time and mix in each egg before adding another. A mixer can be used if you do not want to mix the cake by hand, but I find it is fun and a good work out for the arms to mix manually.

Step Six: Pour The Cake Mix Into A Baking Pan

Pour cake mix into a baking pan.
Pour cake mix into a baking pan.

Pour the cake mix into a baking pan and preheat the oven at 350 F degrees before placing the pan in the oven. I usually preheat the oven before I begin mixing the cake, which helps the cake to bake more quickly. Turning the oven on when putting the cake in will require more time than if the oven is already preheated.

Step Seven: Allow The Cake To Cool For At Least Two Hours Before Frosting

I made this short YouTube video showing how easy it is to frost a cake. However, I was not able to show much as it is hard to film myself frosting a cake, but this short video shows the basics behind frosting a cake. The most important thing to remember is to allow the cake to cool at least two hours before frosting, or the frosting will be absorbed into the cake.

Step Eight: Add The Finishing Touches

Sprinkle something on top of the cake to give it flare.
Sprinkle something on top of the cake to give it flare.

Sometimes I put sprinkles on top of a cake to make it more festive, but today I decided to sprinkle cinnamon on top to give it a distinctive look. Also, sprinkling cinnamon on top of a chocolate cake gives the frosting a unique flavor, which is similar to that of Mexican hot chocolate. Use any supplies on hand to decorate the frosting, or just leave it plain. The choice is yours.

Step Nine: Enjoy!

Cut a slice of cake and enjoy!
Cut a slice of cake and enjoy!

Simple cake mixes are not only tasty, but these make an easy and affordable gift for mother's day. You can buy some fancy frosting tips and create a beautiful cake for your mom, which she will enjoy. Have fun and happy cake baking.

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    • profile image

      wizguy 

      6 years ago

      nice recipe

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      SallyTX,

      Yes, this is good introductory info for those who have never baked. Thanks for commenting!

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 

      7 years ago from Only In Texas!

      It's a good place to start, too! The ideas you put in about how to use oils, and such are helpful to folks who don't know much about cooking. It'll make them feel a little more at home and confident in the kitchen! :)

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      justmesuzanne,

      I do not always use cake mixes, but the idea for this hub was to give people an idea about how it would be easy and cheaper to make their own cake. I appreciate your comments.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Well, I wouldn't be caught dead using a cake mix, but I have to hand it to you - you have mixed a lot of very good, common sense cooking tips into your instructions that people can generalize into all kinds of cooking. There are so many people today who don't know the first thing about cooking. These kinds of step-by-step instructions and simple tips are very valuable, and you have presented them nicely! :)

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      @2Patricias!

      Thanks for the link back to my cake hub!

      @Cheyenne

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      Cheyenne 

      7 years ago

      Thank you soooooo much... You helped me a bunch. I could not find any ingrediants from google that come straight from the box. Your the only one I have found and I think you for helping prevent me from getting mad at my computer.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      We have just added a link from our hub "Chocolate for all Occasions" - hope this is okay. If this link business does what it is supposed to , you might get some new interest in your hub.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      As a young kid we made everything from scratch, scratch with the chocolate, flour, and it is so yummy :). I actually was planning to make a scratch, scratch chocolate cake again soon, but I like the mixes also. Anything in the oven tastes good to me :). Sugar cookies are also easy to make from scratch and it is cheaper. I think I have a recipe around somewhere if you are interested. Actually the sugar ones are the easiest to make from scratch in my experience. You just have to have a rolling pin :).

    • Cherish77 profile image

      Cherish77 

      9 years ago

      LOL, to me making a cake from the box is making it from scratch. I do however make most cookies from scratch, except Sugar, for that I buy the refrigerated stuff. I do a whole lot of baking at Christmas time. I may make some pumpkin bread this week, haven't decided yet.

    • Vondre profile image

      Vondre 

      9 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Hello [Name],

      Just a quick note of thanks for the beautiful cake and it was delicious and admired by all. I will indeed pass on your name to anyone who needs this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing..

      Well, I too have a cake related hub page as well. Just click on my picture to check it out when you have time or go to http://freecakebook.com to get my free cake book

      Happy Baking!

      Vondre

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks for commenting How to chocolate guru. I liked your squidoo lense also. Come join us here at Hubpages :).

    • profile image

      How to chocolate guru 

      10 years ago

      Very cool lens.

    • profile image

      How to chocolate guru 

      10 years ago

      Wow, really huge amounths of content in your lens. It must have been quite a bit of work.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I will agree to disagree with that Annette, but thanks for sharing.  Many low cost chocolates taste great. 

    • Annette Rozen profile image

      Ann Martin 

      10 years ago

      Your idea certainly does save a lot of money, but you've got to admit, the quality doesn't begin to compare to that of a choclate cake made with fine godiva, lindt or nobolesse choclate...

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Funnebone,

      In that case you could buy a cake at a local bakery, just make sure not to eat it all on the car drive home LOL. You make me smile :).

      Premsingh,

      Thanks for the comments.

    • funnebone profile image

      funnebone 

      10 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      I tired to do this but I ate all of the frosting somewhere between picking my eggs and measuring the oil....now what do I do?

    • premsingh profile image

      premsingh 

      10 years ago

      really nice job. information provided is interesting and systematic.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I am honored Compu-smart! Thanks for doing that. I liked your blogs by the way.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      SweetiePie, i will have just subscribe to your youtube videos and added that vid to my favorites..My very 1st fav:)

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks for stopping by Vondre.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks for the comments Compu-smart! I am glad someone finally watched the videos :).

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Mmm, Looks very tasty and you sure make it look easy to make!

      I also like your video addition,,Very nice aswell as your Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore Shakers vid;)

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      No worries Karen, it only came through one time, but I had that same problem where I accidentaly posted the same thing three times. Thanks for stopping by :).

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 

      10 years ago from Central Oregon

      Sorry if this message shows up three times, but I haven't been able to get it to go through. Nice hub!

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Soybean is my oil of preference for baking.  Actually I said at the beginning of the hub I make homemade things at times, but with this recipe I was using a boxed mix.  Soybean oil is lovely for baking, whereas olive oil is to be used sparringly in recipes such as baba ganoush and pasta :). However, I have also used applesauce the cut the fat content and this actually results in a tasty cake. I am such a talented baker when I make both boxed and homemade recipes :).

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 

      10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Funny. I was expecting a homemade recipe.

      Tip: The next time you make brownies -from the box -use extra virgin olive oil instead of the vegetable oil called for. Delish!

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I agree Eileen, homemade does taste better. Your tip for the mix packages and adding flour is great. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I like homemade best. I have often bought a packet mix and added more flour and little extra butter and then you cannot taste the difference.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR

      SweetiePie 

      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks for the comments Tiffany :).

    • profile image

      TiffanyDow 

      10 years ago

      I never thought about adding cinnamon on a cake! Yum!!

      tiff

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