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The Cake Mix Doctor Paperback – January 11, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Fifth or Later Edition edition (January 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761117199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761117193
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (502 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Cake mixes are undoubtedly convenient, but do they produce good cakes? They can, says Anne Byrn, author of The Cake Mix Doctor, if you know how to tweak them. Doing this involves the addition of ingredients to enrich the mixes and flavorings to enhance and, in some cases, conceal questionable tastes. To prove her point, Byrn offers more than 175 recipes for mix-based cakes and other desserts, including formulas for frostings that, Byrn maintains, must be made from scratch. The results are convincing; readers interested in satisfying, dependable desserts prepared quickly and with little fuss should welcome the book.

Beginning with a useful discussion of cake mixes, their history and composition, and an outline of the mix-transformation battle plan, the book then presents the recipes in chapters such as "Chocolate Cakes," "Cake-Mix Classics," "Special Occasion Cakes," and "Incredible Bars and Comforting Cookies." Among the most successful offerings are Deeply Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, Banana Cake with Quick Caramel Frosting, and Lemon Buttermilk Poppy Seed Cake. A chapter devoted to crumbles, crisps, cobblers, trifles, and even a dessert pizza shows how to use the mixes in innovative ways, and "Lighter Cakes" presents "healthier" offerings, such as Pear and Toasted Pecan Buttermilk Cake. With sidebars such as The Legendary Pillsbury Bake-Off and tips for success throughout ("Cinnamon is one of the great tools to use when doctoring up cake mixes," begins one), the book explores every aspect of cake-mix fixing while revealing the unexpected richness that the process can yield. --Arthur Boehm

From the Back Cover


By enhancing packaged cake mix with just the right additions, even the least confident baker can turn out signature desserts. From Devilishly Good Chocolate Cake to a to-die-for Caramel Cake to coffee cakes, sheet cakes, bars, brownies, and frostings, here are 175 fast, foolproof recipes that marry the convenience, ease, and dependability of commercial cake mixes with a dash of creativity, a spoonful of richness, and a cup of pure inspiration.

From the Doctor's Pantry

Flavor Boosters-Lemon zest, nuts, coffee, poppy seeds, grated coconut, unsweetened cocoa powder, peppermint schnapps, fresh strawberries

Making It Richer-Buttermilk, whipping cream, sour cream, eggs, yogurt, butter, peach puree

Offsetting the Cake Mix Taste-Dry sherry, lime zest, pure almond extract

More About the Author

Anne Byrn is known to millions of fans through her Cake Mix Doctor and Dinner Doctor cookbooks, which she's promoted in more than 200 television appearances on Good Morning America, Roker on the Road, QVC, and local stations. She is also a favorite subject for lifestyle editors in newspapers across the country. Anne lives in Nashville with her husband and three children. You can visit her online at

Customer Reviews

I've tried several recipes from this book and all have been good.
W. Sigel
The main recipe is made using a boxed cake mix but the icing and glazes are from scratch which makes the finished product taste like it was completely homemade.
Janet Sklenar
I would recommend this book to anyone, who loves to bake as much as I do.
T. McPhee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Sugardoll on August 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I used to pride myself on my baked goods and for years made all my cakes and cookies from scratch - in fact, I turned up my nose at cake mixes. But now, with an 11-month old baby, cake mix cakes are all that I make! You'll find many delicious recipes in this book, and most can be whipped up and in the oven in under 30 minutes. I find it easiest and quickest to bake the cakes in a tube pan, and make a simple glaze to drizzle on top. Most also freeze well, so sometimes I'll bake a cake in two loaf pans and store one in the freezer to have available later. I probably bake several cakes a month - to give as thank-you's, to welcome new neighbors, to bring to dinners at friends', for my husband to take to work.

You'll also find that once you get the hang of making these cakes, you'll come up with your own combinations. Don't be afraid to deviate from the cake mix and pudding flavors suggested in the recipes. My favorite combination, one that I use in many of the recipes, involves Duncan Hines Golden Butter Recipe and Butterscotch pudding mix.

One recipe that took me by surprise was the biscotti - so easy, and so delicious!

My only complaint about the book is that Anne offers helpful hints (e.g., substituting pan sizes, add-ins for cakes, loaf pan ideas) that are sprinkled rather haphazardly throughout the book. I find myself marking these pages with little stickies so that I can find them easily.

These are the top ten recipes that I've had the greatest success with, received many compliments on, and that I make over and over again:

1 Kathy's Cinnamon Breakfast Cake (try the DH Golden Butter / Butterscotch pudding combo here - it's fantastic!
Read more ›
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237 of 244 people found the following review helpful By R. Gordon on December 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
As an avid baker as well as cookbook collector, I am always on the lookout for new cookbooks on baking. I was, however, somewhat skeptical about a cake baking cookbook that relies primarily on boxed mixes. What a surprise! I love this book so much I can't stop trying new recipes and have been giving the finished goods away just so I can try a new recipe! The introductory comments are extremely helpful, especially in explaining why one would choose to use a cake mix, rather than bake from scratch. Each recipe's ingredient list is typically short and the prep time is next to nothing, so you can really turn out baked goods on a moment's notice. I have now tried a number of the recipes all of which have turned out fabulous. The only drawback is that this cookbook focuses on basic cakes and doesn't include any fancy type ingredients or frostings that one might find in other baking cookbooks.
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159 of 164 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
As cook with a major cookbook collection and a "foodie," I must say that I avoid ANYTHING processed and am one who avoided the chemical like taste of cake mixes. However, this book made me change my mind about using cake mixes! When you're a working mom with a 3-year-old, cake mix birthday cakes are a massive time saver! And last year after making a gourmet from scratch cake that the adults loved, my then 2-year-old took one bite and delcared, "I don't like it!" This year I made two cakes from Anne's book to feed 30 at my 3-year old's birthday. One of the the other moms said, "I never eat boxed cakes, but since this is homemade, I'll eat it." And declared it was delicious. She never knew... Thank you Anne for this wonderful resource--especially for busy moms of young kids! The recipes of note for me are the ones with buttermilk (I confess that the chocolate ones don't taste as good as my from-scratch cake from Richard Sax's Classic Home Desserts, but nevertheless much better than just plain old cake mix). This does not inspire me to use any other processed products to cook with, but this is big discovery. And let's get toddlers really care and know the difference if their birthday cake is some major gourmet creation? I also agree with Anne--use her homemade frosting. It's easy to make the frosting, and I also used it to pipe on the cake decorations as well. I really like the cream cheese based frostings. Every mom out there should get this book. The cakes are quick, easy, and taste homemade. You need to add this book to your cookbook collection. It is one you'll go back to time and time again. Bravo Anne! You deserve an award for this book!
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75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on November 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I detested cake mixes from the time I was a kid. At birthday parties, I would refuse to eat the cake if it tasted like it came from a mix. The idea of this book was intriguing. Could the ease and consistently light-texture of a box ever taste like scratch? Based on these recipes, the answer is a resounding yes. I am amazed at the results I have achieved and I consider myself an accomplished cake baker. After devouring the Banana Cake with Caramel Icing, I would never even consider baking a banana cake from scratch. This book is a gem. Anyone interested in cake baking MUST have this important work in their collection. Baking cakes will never be the same for me.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had no idea that cake mixes could be doctored until I picked up Anne Byrn's amazing cookbook. The recipes are very easy to follow and I am able to whip up an impressive doctored up cake mix in 5 to 10 minutes! Anne Byrn has included wonderful baking tips and tricks, as well as the history of cake mixes. She incorporated a terrific index in the back. For instance, if you have a box of white pudding cake in the pantry, you can look under white pudding cake and find a list of recipes to make with that mix. Or, you can look up a specific recipe name. She's got color photos of the luscious cakes in the front of the book! I plan to buy several copies to give away as gifts. The price is right, too! Thank you Anne!
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