You want to celebrate that special occasion with a homemade cake, but time has gotten away from you. Cake mixes are an easy (and fairly foolproof) way to bake a cake, fast. But some mixes are overloaded with sugar and unnecessary additives. To pick the best boxed cake mix, choose a cake mix with the simplest, most recognizable list of ingredients—close to what you'd see in a recipe.
Related: Light & Luscious Cake Recipes
Of course, that can be easier said than done, so here are some general guidelines when it comes to navigating the ingredient list.
- Avoid mixes made with partially hydrogenated oils, which contain heart-unhealthy trans fats.
- If you're avoiding certain coloring agents, be aware that some cake mixes contain Red 40, Yellow 5 and caramel color. There's some limited evidence suggesting that these ingredients could be adverse, but they're used in such small quantities they're not likely to impact health.
- You might see propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, sodium stearoyl lactylate, and mono- and diglycerides, but don't sweat it. They're simply emulsifiers that help improve batter consistency and make cakes softer. There's no evidence that suggests they're harmful.
- And finally, consider browsing the gluten-free and natural baking sections. Though these cakes aren't healthier by default, some gluten-free and vegan options met our nutrition standards and we liked their flavor and texture just as much.
|Amount Per Serving|
|Sodium||≤ 350 mg|
|Sugars||≤ 22 g|
King Arthur Flour Deliciously Simple Chocolate & Gluten-Free Chocolate
Hampton Creek's Just Yellow & Just White
Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow & Classic White
Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow