Home About The Fame! Contact

Thursday 1 April 2010


(We're going Spanish today. Enjoy!)

One of the things that shocks (and sometimes appalls) me on a lot of food blogs I read is the use of boxed cake mixes. Some of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen on the Internet - elaborate wedding cakes, the prettiest cupcakes, cake pops and all kinds of desserts - sanction the use of box mix. I am not going to link to the blogs I'm talking about, because I don't want to start any fights, but I really don't understand why people who like cooking and baking would do it. You can't call it home made if it came from a box!

I wanted the Techicolour Chicks to be in my macaron photos, but forgot about them.
So I gave them a starring role here.
(left to right: Suzie, Barbara and Twinkle)

So, today's post is for all the mix users out there. I'm going to tell you how to make delicious cake, or cupcakes, in the same time it would take you to make a cake using boxed mix. There's no creaming, no beating, and there's none of the artificial rubbish you get in the boxes (said the man who made Rocky Horror Cupcakes - well, none of us, are perfect).

The recipe is Spanish, and comes from a colleague of mine, Maria. When I worked in an office, I used to take cakes to work all the time (if I worked in your office, you'd probably hate me - we'd all be fat, and it would be my fault!). Now that I work on jet planes (the glamour!), it's rather tricky to bring a little slice of something to work. Just recently though, Maria managed to do exactly that, and shared with me a piece of the lightest, yellowest, most delicious lemon cake I think I've ever had. And when she told me the recipe, I nearly laughed: it's the simplest thing ever, as easy as counting to four. Even if you'd never made anything in your life except cups of tea, you could turn this out perfectly.

It makes a mean cupcake too.

Apparently, this bizcocho is well known all over Spain; people have it for breakfast. I had never heard of it. But then, I'm not Spanish. The first ingredient is a pot of yogurt, which once emptied, becomes a measuring vessel for the other ingredients. It's not dissimilar to Clotilde Dusoulier's yogurt cake, except that hers, though lovely (I used to make it quite often a few years ago), is not a spectacularly easy recipe to remember. Maria's bizcocho is, literally, 1-2-3-4. Done.

Told you it was a yellow cake.

You can use any type of yogurt you like, and flavour it however you want. It can be baked as a loaf, in two layers, or as cupcakes. While baking, it will make the house smell like a home, and, best of all, you won't need to get the scales out (I'm always mindful of my American readers!).

Stop using box mixes! I promise, once you try this, you'll be hooked.


You will need:

1 yogurt (I use 'Activia', the natural one, in the size that comes in packs of four)
1 yogurt pot measure of oil
2 yogurt pot measures of sugar
3 yogurt pot measures of flour
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon (optional - flavour it however you like)

  1. Are you ready for this? It's complicated. OK, oil and line your cake tin (I make this in a medium loaf pan), or line a muffin tray with paper cases. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Pour the yogurt into a bowl.
  3. Fill the empty pot with oil (any kind - olive would be good, I used regular vegetable and no-one died), and add it to the yogurt.
  4. Add two measures of sugar (you might want to rinse the pot first).
  5. Next, add the eggs, and if using, the chopped zest of the lemon. Mix everything together, by hand. In ten seconds, you'll have a smooth yellow mixture.
  6. Add the flour and baking powder, and stir through until combined.
  7. Pour this mixture into your tins, and bake until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  8. You can mix the juice of the lemon with 2 measures of icing sugar to make a glaze for the cake if you like. I did, and recommend it highly.
NB: This makes one loaf cake, and four cupcakes in my tins. The loaf takes 45 minutes in the oven, and the cupcakes about 30.


  1. Alas, Twinkle has stolen my heart. I remember playing with chicks like her when I was little- But they were all yellow. Glad to see you own a cosmopolitan variety of chicks. I always wonder why the baking greats are using Betty Crocker et al too! Shocking. Kay, so I can't make this gorgeous looking cake but it doesn't mean I can't look. Such a food perv, I tell you I'm gonna get arrested one day for being the first person to always comment on your posts. That's. Just. What. DDD. Groupies. Do.

  2. These looks delicious - wonderful pictures. Lucie x

  3. This. is. perfect. I HATE beating sugar until its fluffy, and pouring in ingedients one a time, slowly, alternating between wet and dry..

    Plus, I have a boatload of greek yogurt and some Meyer lemons I need to use, I will make this tonight, plus a nice little lemon glaze to finish...oh yes.

    (P.S.: are you saying us Yanks are chubby??? :P)

  4. Reply to myself:

    I really meant to say beating butter. Sugar would have been crazy. This is how boggled my mind is.

  5. Measured with yogurt pots - cool!

    The only really good cake mixes I have ever had were from King Arthur Flour. I am the ultimate boxed mix snob, but I will eat these mixes.

  6. I will bake these little cupcakes for breakfast tomorrow morning. The only yogurt I have in the frig is cherry flavored and the stores are all closed. I love living in Belgium but hate the fact that the grocery closes at 8pm. We will have to make due with the cherry flavor. I will report back to let you know how it all worked out since you want to know if any of your readers are trying your recipes. We did try to make Lamingtons but FAILED!

  7. What size are your tubs of yogurt - just so I can get similiar here - although I buy 1kg of yogurt so I guess that would make a rather large cake!

    BTW - as a cake decorator box cake mixes are used to extend the cake (often called cake extender) and yes it is for cost and it also lasts longer - very common in the US. Not something done a lot here in Australia but yes a topic such as this could start a war or at least trade sanctions.

  8. Wow this cake looks delicious and yummy.I love the 1234 recipe ratio easty to make and remember.

  9. Sanjana - I couldn't choose a favourite (they'd hear), but I feel we're feeling the same.

    Kucie - Thanks! I actually think the lighting is awful, but we must make do...

    T - I want to know how you go with it! And also, I meant that you 'Yanks' never weigh anything! It's all cups. When you see a recipe in grams you freak out! :)

    Hilary - Well, the Kig Arthur people know their stuff. I want their big fat baking book!

    Julie - Let me know! I bet they'll be absolutely delicious. If you have any vanilla, whack some of that in as well.

    EmCee - Well, frankly, in Oz, I'd have a fridge full of those tubs of thick yogurt with passion fruit on top. Is it true you get passion pulp tinned too? Want. The yogurt pots I used are 125g.

    Simply.Food - Ratios like this make life a lot simpler, right? :)

  10. Am loving your blog, and have to say that you are going to be the hit of my daughter's birthday party! Between the chocolate spoons and Rocky Horror Cupcakes I am going to be the coolest Mumma ever!

    Thank you :D

    Oh, and once the shops open tomorrow I may just buy some yoghurt to make this cake for our family Easter lunch on Sunday ..

  11. Another cool type of cake i never heard of :) and i love Spain...so i will keep it.

    PS. we are making Sussex Pond Pudding for the daring bakers challenge for APRIL

    suet and all!! WOOOOOOOOOOt :)

  12. wow. So easy that I'm gonna try making this over the weekend. Wonder how raspberry yogurt would taste in this...

  13. Delicious looking loaf and love the glaze...

  14. I love simple cakes and it is nice to leave the scales in the cupboard sometimes, sweet and easy? I'm sold!

    ps. oh I never got the cake box mix thing either!

  15. Im with about the box mixes I have never seen the attraction, you cant beat sharing and eating something you have made yourself.

  16. i love the use of yoghurt pots as measure!
    It really is a shame when you see these cake mix recipes!
    i always google the ingredients of the box mixes!
    time consuming and pointless half the time because i dont know a shop where i can buy things like E4203..

    Mr p,where did you obtain the beautiful chicks?

    im going to have to get some,just to look at!

  17. #1. Those Technicolour Chicks are ADORABLE.
    #2. THANK YOU for this post! I'm so annoyed when I find a promising recipe and then scroll down to find "1 box cake mix" in the list.

    I think I like this better than Clotilde's as well, so kudos to you. Thanks!

  18. I so agree with you about cake mixes. There are so many really quick and easy cake recipes that there really is no need for mixes. I can't wait to try this recipe. But I buy my yogurt in a large container, so I'll just use a 1/2-cup measuring cup in place of the single-serving yogurt container. How fun is this!

  19. Great cake. I love using yoghurt in cakes it adds a density that is just wonderful.

    I too get disappointed when a beautifully pictured dish has a recipe that includes a box cake mix.

  20. I have to comment about box cakes.I have a blog where i just posted a cake---made from a box. (Yikes) It is a very yummy pistachio cake, and yes, it uses boxed pudding mix.( double yikes!)

    I am not a fan of all recipes from a box. Hell, i even have Pastry Chef credentials.....

    However, this cake was baked for me by my mother for my b-day when i was a child.@ 1970's . i think box cakes were very popular back then...My Bro also bakes it for his daughter ....so our tradition continues...

  21. SOOOO... I'm just saying, before everyone ""Poo Poo"" blogs that have boxed cakes, there may be some missed fine print as to why they con't to bake it.

    Besides, I DO NOT discriminate against anyone or anything.. i certainly would not be snobbish enough too , against an innocent box cake...or the person baking it,.

    Sorry you heard my roll..:) Cheers!

  22. How easy + fun! I'm adding it to my list.

  23. This looks lovely and sounds really easy to make.

    I haven't bought a boxed mix ever although my mother used to use them when I was a kid to introduce me to cooking. I haven't tried the ones in the supermarket these days although I've been intrigued by the James Martin ones to see what they were like. I can't imagine they're that much easier than making "real" cake, other than not needing to measure out as many ingredients.

  24. You have one amazing blog and this looks really delicious. If you won't mind I'd love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it's good to go.Thanks!

  25. I agree with you about boxed cake mixes. It makes no sense to me either. You cake looks wonderful.

    I love your little chicks! Very colorful and happy.

  26. you are like me. I hate when somebody post a "great recipe" with ingredient: box cake, box pudding, artificial cream etc... Where is the fun of cooking? You better buy a cake from market. No work, no fun, no homemade taste.
    Anyway, i like this cake, i love you blog, i just discover it and i'm busy to read all your posts. Escuze my english, i'm from romania and i'm a beginner. Not a cooking beginner. :) see tou next time!

  27. I like your chicks! Very cute =). Also, your cake looks amazing, I love how the ingredients are measured out.
    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Kurious Kitteh

  28. Box cake is unnaturally perfect, you have to admit.
    I am definitely trying this cake. Its complicated steps are just calling to me!

  29. You were asking on your previous post if anyone had tried your recipes - well not only have I tried this one (and love it) but I have blogged about it too:-D


    Thanks a million for this one Mr P.

  30. wow, this looks great, and do delicious, I need to try it asap, I loved it :)

  31. I tried the cake with cherry yogert. Blah! It really needed something else. Your use of lemon is probably the best idea.

    Odd question...Do you work on international flights? I just landed in the USA and saw someone who looked EXACTLY like you. (or at least what I think you look like from your blog picture!)

  32. Julie, I do work on international flights, but that wasn't me. :) Did he wear Wayfarers too? I'm not allowed at work - uniform standards!

  33. For some reason Suzie, Barbara and Twinkle made me think instantly of Jem and the Holograms. Oh how I wanted to be truly truly truly outrageous just like Jem.

    I'm a total box cake snob, but there is one box cake that will always have a soft (preservative filled) spot in my heart. It was a Crazy Cake, or maybe even Krazy Kake, and had green cake and purple icing (or maybe vice versa) and I would make it with my sister when I was little. The company stopped making it after a while, and thus my dreams of being truly outrageous vanished..

  34. Mmmm, now I'm wondering what muller black cherry yoghurt would taste like in this cake! Or the chocolate yoghurts muller do. Mmmm!

  35. The cake looks so good and the ingredients list even better. Even a baking novice like me feels kind of ashamed using a boxed mix and calling it home mode.

  36. I've used a cake mix on my blog!

    Are you calling me out Mr. P?!

    A faux pas I know, but sometimes, when I am only demonstrating a decorating idea or filling, I cheat...

    I always admit my food blogger sin though when I do.

    Though, I will stand up and defend the box cake--foodie punching bag it may be--and grant that some mixes can be quite moist and tasty.

  37. This looks like something I could teach my little niece and nephew to make with basically no chance of fail. Perfect - many thanks. As for box/packet mixes - they hardly appear on the supermarket shelves in my country - I think we're still old school when it comes to baking - you know - eggs, butter et al?

  38. Hello! I just made bizcocho cupcakes. Delicious!!! Now i will make the filling and decoration. Maybe tomorrow you can see it on my blog. If my family leave me at least one to make photos. Thank for your recipe!

  39. You can't leave us hanging like this. . .

    I agree with your rant about boxes, but where are your other recipes that are simple like Bizcocho?

    I know you have them as you loath box baking. For the first time, at 75, I started baking last January. But I need more simple recipes like no knead bread and Bizcocho.

    If anyone else has simple recipes please email me, jim_roe@sympatico.ca

  40. You can't leave us hanging like this. . .

    I agree with your rant about boxes, but where are your other recipes that are simple like Bizcocho?

    I know you have them as you avoid box baking. For the first time, at 75, I started baking last January. But I need more simple recipes like no knead bread and Bizcocho.

  41. You can't leave us hanging like this. . .

    I agree with your rant about boxes, but where are your other recipes that are simple like Bizcocho?

    I know you have them as you avoid box baking. For the first time, at 75, I started baking last January. But I need more simple recipes like no knead bread and Bizcocho.

  42. This bizocho post is excellent. Nice piece of cake to go with a cup of coffee or tea. Thanks for sharing your talent.


That's what he said.

Related Posts with Thumbnails