If you are someone who feels that they must follow instructions of any kind “to the letter”, you probably haven’t ever conceived of relying on cake recipes with cake mix as an ingredient. For instance, there are all kinds of recipes for “pina colada” cakes that use cake mix along with a range of other ingredients to result in a fruit flavored cake that is also quite sturdy too. Such recipes never follow those printed on the boxes of cake mix, but instead count on the different properties of the mixes to create excellent results.
Is this going to result in a cake that is somehow superior to the original version? Often, someone will rely on a cake mix based recipe in order to create a bit of a sturdier version of a cake that can stand up to a certain type of frosting. For instance, if someone really loves a particular variety of yellow cake mix, but finds that it is just too light and fluffy to be frosted with fondant or a heavier icing, they might search for a recipe that relies on this mix as a base, but which creates a stronger and more durable result.
Another reason that a lot of recipes use a cake mix as a base is to incorporate a few different flavors that will allow the cake to really stand out from the frosting or icing. For instance, coffee, liqueur, chocolate, and fruit flavors are often incorporated into a cake mix in order to “dress it up” and to allow it to be used in a formally decorated cake.
Before going ahead and making a cake that uses one of the many different mixes as a base, it is probably a wise idea to simply master cake making in general. It is very interesting to note how so much of baking is similar to a chemistry experiment and that only a few slight changes can make for a totally different outcome. If you are someone who is enthusiastic about cake decorating, you should really spend the time mastering cake making basics in order to understand which cake “bodies” will give you the best results every time. This includes understanding the ingredients, the right pans to use for the batter, and the amount of time necessary for the cake to cool and settle properly.
In fact, a lot of professional bakers have a standard “repertoire” of cake bodies that they turn to on a regular basis, and often such recipes rely on cake mixes because they can really streamline the baking process and even help to keep costs down too. Just consider that a baker who has mastered cake making, who understands the chemistry behind a specific recipe, and who has tested a few mixes, will know precisely how to design the perfect batter for the type of decorating that they hope to do.
Using cake mixes is never cheating, it is simply relying on an ingredient that can provide somewhat predictable results, which is a real bonus to anyone who enjoys making and decorating cakes of all kinds.