You can bake a variety of vintage-inspired recipes from the Beekman 1802 Cookbook, or you can simply head over to their website and order a vintage-inspired cake mix that will streamline the whole process for you. I always love to try premium cake mixes and see how they compare to homemade cakes, since they are priced much higher than your average cake mixes. I like the vintage feel of the Beekman brand and noticed their mixes at some of the stores that I shopped at over the holidays. They’re not mixes endorsed by celebrity chefs, they’re more along the lines of something that might be endorsed by your grandmother. Naturally, I picked up a mix to try.
Like most “premium” cake mixes, this one called for softened butter, eggs and water to be added to the mix, not melted butter or oil. Some premium mixes separate out all their ingredients so you actually have to cream the butter and sugar together, but this one sticks to the one-bowl method, eliminating unnecessary cleanup and making it very easy to make the mix. One unusual thing about the mix is that it makes a relatively small cake – just an 8×8-inch square – and the directions suggest baking the cake in a 10-inch pie plate instead of a regular pan. I took them up on that option and poured my cake mix into a greased, floured pie plate before popping it into the oven.
Baking the cake in a pie plate gave it a wonderfully homey look, and it was still easy to frost and serve straight from the plate. The cake had a tender crumb, a nice sweetness and a light lemon flavor to it. I did think that it could have used a little more lemon flavor to brighten it up. The recipe suggested adding fresh lemon zest, which would definitely have boosted that lemon flavor, but not necessarily the kind of extra step I want to have to take with a mix. I finished the cake with some lemon glaze, which gave me the extra lemon I was looking for anyway.
Overall, the cake was very good and I really liked the suggestion of baking in that pie pan, so much so that I’ll probably use that technique with other cakes in the future. It’s a little less expensive than some other premium mixes, which is a plus, and it still has attractive enough packaging to make this a great gift option for your favorite baker. And if you see them on sale (which I did), they’re well worth picking up to try at home.