Over the past couple of years, mug cakes have skyrocketed in popularity to the point where they’re a regular afternoon snack for bakers looking for a quick fix. There was a time when I experimented with cake mix mug cakes by taking just a few tablespoons of mix from a much larger box, but these days there are pre-measured mixes just for making mug cakes! Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 line of mixes comes in a variety of flavors and I’ve tried the brownie mix before. I recently picked up one of their newest offerings – a Color Changing Cake Mix – to give it a try.
The box contains four packets of dry ingredients, each yielding one serving of cake. The box recommends that you add applesauce to the mix, but you can also use water or milk without problem if you don’t have applesauce on hand. The mix can be stirred up right in the mug before it goes into the microwave. With this particular mix, it appears white when you open the packet and changes color to a vivid pink when liquid is added.
The cake bakes up into a very soft, fluffy cake that fills the mug nicely in about 70 seconds. Unlike homemade mug cakes, which are prone to falling as they cool, this cake rises well and stands tall as you eat it. I loved the color of the cake but, unfortunately, I was underwhelmed by the flavor of it. The cake is a vanilla-ish “cake batter” type flavor and, although that isn’t a bad thing on its own, it actually feels very bland in comparison to the fun color of the cake. I wanted a flavor that popped as much as the color did and this mix just didn’t deliver in that department.
So is this mix worth trying? It delivers plenty of fun but falls a little short in the flavor department. Fortunately, you can fix the flavor problem by adding some extract to the cake mix when you prepare it. A few drops of vanilla or orange extract will really boost the overall flavor – even if it doesn’t match the color. You can also serve it with fresh fruit and whipped cream (a strawberry shortcake to match the color) or drizzle on any kind of fruity sauce that you might have in your fridge. I don’t like frosting with mug cakes because you generally eat the cakes while they are warm and frosting tends to start melting immediately, but a dollop of frosting can go a long way here, too.