The Lost Art of REAL Cake

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Rebecca Clanton-Lewis

Let’s take a moment to talk about cake from a box. There probably isn’t a single person left in America who hasn’t made or eaten these cakes. You know the kind: a basic yellow cake smeared with chocolate frosting right out of a can. Have you ever read the ingredients in these products? Next time you shop, I challenge you to just glance at the back of a cake-mix box. You will find that most of the words are unfamiliar, and some you won’t even be able to pronounce. What does this mean?

It means don’t eat it.

In my early youth I baked from Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, but after spending a summer with my grandmother as a girl I learned the art of baking from scratch. Only the best would do for us. We used Valrhona Cocoa Powder, Plugra European style butter, King Arthur flours, whole organic milk, and farm fresh eggs. These real ingredients, these basics, made cakes so delectable that anyone would be amazed at their simple beginnings.



 And then there was fondant. Where simple yellow cakes with chocolate canned frosting used to be sufficient for a birthday party, now kids use sites like Instagram and Pinterest. They want big, beautiful creations that take hours to make. They want the ability to share the perfect photo of a cake shaped like their favorite movie character or game symbol. Yes, I have made cakes using fondant. In fact, I have a portfolio full of beautiful cakes that are gorgeous enough to get me back on The Food Network, but the taste is nothing I would ever want to eat.

How does fondant work? Well, you take these delicious, tender cake layers and stick them in the freezer. They must be frozen so you can do things like cut them into all sorts of creative shapes, from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for boys to the latest Disney princess for girls. Not to mention cakes for adults- think of that perfect groom’s cake shaped like a beer bottle or a football helmet. And then you roll out this gummy, plastic-tasting goo to cover the frozen cake, a cake that was already frosted with your amazing frosting! Not to mention the dyes needed to accomplish these looks. Red number five, black, dark blue…the amount of dye it takes to achieve the striking colors on fondant cakes is enough to turn anyone’s stomach. It looks pretty, of course, but the taste is mediocre at best and just plain terrible at worst. So, what is it that you have created?

You have created a centerpiece. You have made a beautiful, photo-worthy cake that will be plastered all over the internet within minutes. Sure, the shares, comments, and likes feel great, but who wants to actually eat the cake? Isn’t that the reason for baking a cake in the first place, to be eaten and enjoyed? It may be lovely, but after you cut one piece of it the look is lost. Kids abandon the table, and their cake, after just one bite. The whole purpose for baking seems moot at that point.

So what can we do? What does The Cupcake Cowgirls do?

We go back to the basics with vintage, wholesome, pronounceable ingredients. We use flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Easy enough, right?  Real food, magnificently prepared, that tastes delicious.


 I can pronounce all of these ingredients!


 Nothing artificial about this...real AND delicious!


Do yourself a favor and get vintage style cupcakes. Tell your family that it’s time to get back to the basics. Throw out the fondant, the boxed mixes, and the canned icing. Just say no to Minions, Minnie Mouse, and Transformers. Let your paper plates, napkins, and other decorations display these icons and let your cake exist to be eaten.


 Cupcakes are not a fad.They have been around for many years and are here to stay.


Eat real, vintage cake again.

The Cupcake Cowgirls…where you can have your cake and eat it, too!



Posted in basics, boxed cake, cake mix, cupcake cowgirls, cupcakes, fondant, natural, real cake, texas, vintage



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