Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes

"This recipe is from the book "Hello, Cupcake!" by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. You may have seen this pair on Paula Deen's cooking show. They did not merely frost their cupcakes, they decorated 3 of them to look like a Thanksgiving dinner: the turkey, the mashed potatoes and gravy, and the carrots and peas. They commented at the time that they always use buttermilk rather than the water called for on the box, to give their cupcakes a fresher, more homemade flavor. They also used more eggs than called for on the box to give the cupcakes a firmer structure that can stand up to more decorating without tearing. Cupcakes made this way may be made a day ahead as they stay moist if wrapped in plastic. They also suggested that you use cake mixes for cupcakes that do not have pudding in the mix and avoid lighter cake mixes (such as angel food) which would not hold up when decorated. Using these hints, they baked cupcakes that Paula Deen just raved over!!"
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Ready In:
24 cupcakes


  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) cake mix, no pudding in mix (French vanilla, devil's food, or yellow)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 13 cup vegetable oil (or the amount called for on the box)
  • 4 large eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • Follow the box instructions, putting all the ingredients in a large bowl and using the buttermilk in place of the water specified (the box will call for more water than the amount of buttermilk that you are using), using the amount of oil that is called for, and adding the 4 eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer.
  • Spoon half of the batter into a ziplock bag. Snip a 1/4-inch corner from the bag and fill the paper liners two-thirds full (be sure the liners are filled equally). Repeat with the remaining batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pans, place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. When cool, frost the cupcakes, then decorate as you please.

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  1. I really wanted to like this recipe, but it just did not turn out well for me. I used a lemon cake mix (no pudding) and followed the directions exactly. The resulting cupckes were very flat, without that nice little rounded top. Some of them overflowed the top. Also, there were a lot of tunnels (air pockets) in the cakes. I don't know if that was a result of the ingredients, or the way they were piped into the pan using a zip-loc bag. Anyway, I was able to use them by piling high with frosting, but they just weren't what I was expecting.



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