Cake Better

Cake Batter Blondies

I don’t really know when “Cake Batter” became a thing — like “Salted Caramel,” “Truffle Fries,” and “Hipster Glasses” — but it’s a thing with which I’m 100% okay! There’s just something so sublime about that borderline-artificial vanilla flavor, inviting yellow color, and playful interspersion of rainbow sprinkles.  As an otherwise-staunch proponent of wholesome foods, I am willing to be a walking contradiction and proudly proclaim that these blondies take the cake!

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These days, your standard boxed cake mix isn’t just for cake anymore!  I’ve added dry yellow cake mix to standard chocolate chip cookie doughs, Rice Krispy treats, and even pancake batter.  Slight textural changes are to be expected, since the cake mix already has leaveners and other ingredients that don’t exactly substitute 1:1 for flour, but I’ve found these changes in consistency to be pleasant permutations more often than devastating disasters.  After all, who cries over cake?!
These blondies are a fun riff on a super simple pudding mix brownie recipe that I’ve been using for years.  The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour and chocolate pudding, but the scientist in me wanted to experiment…and I had some leftover yellow cake mix 🙂
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Though I was aiming for the standard “funfetti”-style taste and appearance, this recipe has INFINITE possibilities!  Play around with different cake mixes and pudding flavors, and see what happens.  Here are some ideas for starters:  devil’s food cake mix + chocolate pudding mix + crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, strawberry cake mix + vanilla pudding mix + white chocolate chips, German chocolate cake mix + coconut cream pudding mix + coconut flakes, or white cake mix + pistachio pudding mix + maraschino cherries (spumoni anyone?).  If you come up with any others, feel free to share!
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DISCLAIMER:  I may be a somewhat-soon-to-be health professional (less than 365 days!), and I know that I should advocate for not consuming undercooked egg-containing foods, but I have to say, slightly undercooking these blondies makes them soooooooo gooey and delicious.  However, just so I can sleep tonight, I’ll quote Adam Lambert and say, “COOK YO MEAT TILL IT’S DONE!

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Cake Batter Blondies

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3.4 ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup golden yellow cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heaping 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles + more for top
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, and vanilla.  Beat in eggs and pudding mix, until thoroughly combined — mixture will become stiff.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in cake mix, baking powder and salt, just until no dry flecks of cake mix remain.  Fold in sprinkles.  Pour mixture into a large, greased casserole dish (mine is 8″ x 11″), shake some more sprinkles over the top, and chill 1-24 hours.
 Bake at 350 degrees farenheit for 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of your baking dish and desired degree of “doneness”…mine took 25 minutes for ooey-gooey bars).  If the top starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil while the sub-surface layers continue to cook.  Cool in pan, then refrigerate 30 minutes prior to cutting.  I like to store these in the fridge because I’m a big fan of cold cake, but you can certainly store them at room temperature, in a tightly sealed container.
NOTE:  To keep bars from drying out, either keep the bars in the baking dish, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and cut-as-you-go, or transfer cut bars to a large plastic container with tight-fitting lid, keeping as many cut-sides in contact with each other as possible (i.e. store in layers of closely-packed bars)

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