FoodSanity – #BettyCrocker #RedVelvet #cake mix with icing #review. #COVIDbaking

Recently I saw a Betty Crocker Red Velvet cupcake mix selling on Amazon (couldn’t find at supermarket though) which came with icing, all in one box. I thought I would give this a try since it sounded so convenient.

It surprised me that the box made less cake than the usual box mixes. Instead of 24 cupcakes, you get 12. There are two bags of icing in the box for frosting. To make the cake mix taste better, I made some adjustments – 1) added one more egg, 2) used unsalted butter versus oil, 3) used milk versus water and 4) added a teaspoon of vanilla.

With the cake mix I made 6 Elmo cupcakes (used gel coloring to dye one bag of icing red) and 3 fancy tiered adult cakes. I lost some icing because of the piping process and would have liked more icing. I only took a picture of 4 Elmo cupcakes because 2 of them didn’t turn out as nice. Since I made this around Easter, I added m & m chocolate eggs and fruit to decorate the adult cakes. I think the cakes turned out well and made great Instagram pics!

Food score:

Sight (20/20): A little frosting and color makes all cakes pretty!

Availability (10/20): You can only order from Amazon, I couldn’t find this set at my supermarket. It was also hard to find the red velvet Betty Crocker mix or the cream cheese frosting in the supermarket as well, though there are other brands available. The common flavors of vanilla or chocolate cake mix and frosting are easier to find.

Smell (20/20): Smells like cake while baking!

Taste (18/20): The cake itself wasn’t very sweet, but the icing was, so the flavors balance. This is cake mix so it’s not going to be as good as the cakes from fancy pastry stores!

Touch (20/20): The cakes were springy when done, baked perfectly! Icing was sticky, which is normal.

Overall score: 88/100

Would I order again? Yes! Recently I have been making smaller batches when baking since I can’t share with office folks because of COVID. Making an equivalent of 24 cupcakes would have been a lot, while 12 was just enough to share with a few other people.

Price point note – this box was around $4 Cdn for 12 cupcakes and frosting, or about $0.33/cupcake. For normal size box and frosting, it would have cost around $3.50 for red velvet cake mix, $3.50 for frosting or about $0.29/cupcake for 24 cupcakes. The normal box is cheaper overall, but for some reason it is difficult to find the red velvet box mix and cream cheese frosting in Canada. I really miss crossing the border to visit the US to buy things at their grocery stores!

Seoul Part 2 – Food!

I can not eat spicy things, which made eating in Seoul rather difficult for me. We did eat many Korean meals of course and they all came with red spicy sauce,  kim chee as well as pickled vegetables. However, there was no shortage of French bakeries in Gangnam, along with European, American, Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian restaurants. There was a huge coffee culture, so my Viking husband was happy that he could obtain his expensive but available coffee anywhere. Admittedly I have not had so much fatty pork on a daily basis for dinner in my life along with cabbage, but when in Korea, do as the Koreans do…for a while anyways and then pizza started looking really good!

Breakfast

For breakfast we usually had tea or coffee with French pastries. We went out a few times and had a pretty god omelette at a French bakery restaurant. Prices were about $5-9 per coffee, lattes or tea, pastries about $2-5 and big breakfast (omelette, eggs benedict) about $15.

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Lunch

We had many lunches of noodles and sometimes had sandwiches, generally it was whatever we could find as we were travelling all over the place.

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Dinner

Lots and lots of Korean BBQ for dinner along with kim chee, pickled vegetables, tofu and spicy soups. We had pizza and chicken wings delivered one night as well, came in 20 min! Pizza in a fancy New York Pizza place was surprisingly pricey at $40-50 for a medium but it was full of people on dates.

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Snacks

Lots of vending machines in the subway, convenient stores on every street corner and my favorite are the French bakeries!

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Toilets

Yes, I am obsessed with toilets. The Korean toilets were similar to sit-up ones in North America, but they had a few heated ones like in Japan with bum washes. There was also squatting ones as well.

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High Tea at the Ritz

It was one of my BFF’s bday last weekend and she asked me and my Viking husband to go to High Tea at the Ritz Carleton in Toronto.  Admittedly my Viking balked at the price and asked why we couldn’t have steak instead.  Because it’s not YOUR DAY was the reply he got from me.  Anyhow, I dragged his royal crankiness to the hotel and we were pleasantly surprised by how much food we were served as well as nice tea.

As a middle class citizen I felt like really a really awkward country bumpkin in this fancy hotel.  I probably did a dozen things wrong, such as using my fingers since I felt like the utensils were going to knock the food off the delicate trays.  I was really nervous at one point and my crumbs flew all over the place.  Yes, I resembled a nervous squirrel the whole time as I observed the chic ladies in their expensive suits, fine haircuts and manicured nails seated at the other tables.

Anyhow, if anyone else goes, this is what happens:

1) You start off by choosing which price point of high tea you want from the menu.  It ranged from $38-88 as the higher prices included alcohol.  We didn’t have any alcohol…

2) Next, the hostess will bring a box of teas, so you can select a tea of your choice – you are given bottles of loose tea leaves to sniff.  “How many people have sniffed this?” someone wondered at the table.  I chose a nice lavender Earl Grey with caffeine, a substance my Chinese doctor banned me from…oh well…

3) Tray 1 arrives with little sandwiches and quiches which surprised us.  We were expecting lots of sugar!  The open face egg salad sandwiches were really elegant and the mini smoked salmon croissant sandwiches were really good.

4) Tray 2 comes next with lots and lots of little cakes and cookies.  At this point I had been drinking tea with sugar and cream so I was already on a sugar high. “WOW!  MORE SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!” I shrieked happily to my startled Viking who tried to calm me down.

5) Bday cake – we had brought this one along for my friend and the hotel kindly served it to us.  A Dufflet Chocolate Mousse cake was added to our sugar high!

Afterwards we didn’t even eat dinner as we were so stuffed!  It was interesting, but as a poor working person I would feel more comfortable at a pub than at the Ritz…some pics taken of the food that is now all gone below!

Hotel front entrance
Hotel front entrance

JFG and her Viking
JFG and her Viking

Tea Selection for sniffing
Tea Selection for sniffing

Savory sandwiches and scones!
Savory sandwiches and scones!

Sugar Sugar Sugar!  We were amused by the lemon things that looked like poop!
Sugar Sugar Sugar! We were amused by the lemon tarts that looked like poop!