I think many of us have heard of Ann Byrn, better known as “The Cake Mix Doctor.” She’s published multiple cookbooks sharing how to turn a traditional boxed cake mix into something special. Since cake mix is the cornerstone of most of Ann’s recipes it seems only logical that she would create her own brand of cake mix, right? Well, she has and I was recently contacted by a blog reader who is helping Ann on the PR front with an offer to try the new cake mixes.
Typically, I steer clear of boxed/pre-mixed baked because I prefer to make them from scratch and can do without all the preservatives, additives and food coloring that go into them. I agreed to test Ann’s mixes because they are made with only five or six ingredients and have no additives, preservatives or trans fats.
My all-time favorite cake combination when I was growing up was yellow cake with chocolate frosting so clearly that’s the first way I put the cake mix to use.
The cake mix was a breeze to put together. I only had to add butter (love that you add butter and not oil), milk and eggs. The batter produced perfectly shaped cupcakes.
And then I got a bit more creative with the mix and made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Bars from Ann’s website. YUM!
I ate somewhere in the neighborhood of five of these addictive squares of heaven throughout the day on Saturday, including one warmed and topped with ice cream (I highly suggest that). These bars are one of those recipes that you know would be a hit with a crowd and a great thing to take to a party. They’re super simple to put together since you use the boxed mix for the top and bottom layer. You could use any cake mix but of course I recommend The Cake Mix Doctor if you can find it in your area! Also, I halved the recipe and baked it in a square 8×8 pan. I used my food scale to weigh out half of the mix.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Bars
(Recipe source The Cake Mix Doctor)
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 cup chunky peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 package (12 ounces; 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preaheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 13×9-inch pan with foil, shiny side down, leaving edges overhanging at end.
For the crust, combine the cake mix, peanut butter, melted butter and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Srape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The mixture will be thick and crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the topping and then transfer the remaining crust mixture to the pan. Using your fingertips, press the crust evenly over the bottom of the pan so that it reaches all sides. Set aside.
For the filling, place the chocolate chips, condensed milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and gently mix in the coconut and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust and spread it evenly with the rubber spatula. Crumble the reserved crust and scatter it evenly over the chocolate layer.
Place the pan in the oven and bake until the bars are light brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Grabbing the sides of the foil, lift out of pan and allow to completely cool. Cut into squares and serve.
Yield: About 20-24 bars
Do you have any recipes you love that use cake mix? I have two more boxes to use!