A recipe for cheap sweets

12 01 2009

img_14302Have you ever tried Warm Delights? They are Betty Crocker’s mini cakes for the microwave that give you a hot sweet dessert in three minutes. I have to admit they are delicious. But they are on the pricey side. I have purchased them fairly cheaply with coupons, but I also always felt guilty about the black plastic bowl they are packaged in. It’s a lot of plastic headed toward the dump.

So, I reluctantly stopped buying them. Then I ran across a recipe to make my own Warm Delights that I wanted to pass along to you. My family and I have renamed them “4-2-1 cakes,” which reflects the simple recipe.

Mix 4 Tablespoons of any cake mix and 2 Tablespoons of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Voila. A 4-2-1 cake.

img_1434To be totally honest, these little cakes are not as good as Warm Delights but they sure are cheaper and way easier on the environment. You can also get creative with these cakes. My family and I have added crushed miniature Reese’s cups to white cake mixes. We’ve added chocolate chips to a chocolate mix. We’ve also tried adding a swirl of homemade jam, chocolate syrup and caramel syrup. All were very good. We’ve also tried using brownie mix with good results. I like to top mine with Cool Whip. We’ve also substituted milk for the water.

From one standard cake mix, you can make 10 4-2-1 cakes. If you pay full price (shame on you!) that would be about 15 cents per cake. In comparison, Warm Delights are $1.89 at my Harris Teeter this week. Do the math: 10 Warm Delights would cost you $18.90 at full price. But even if you had 10 50-cent coupons that doubled, they would still cost you $8.90 — way more than the investment in a box of cake mix. In my case, I have a stockpile of cake mixes that I bought after Christmas, making sure to get packages with long expiration dates. Right now, we’re using cake mixes I got for free after last Christmas at Target when all holiday merchandise went 90 percent off. The Pillsbury mixes were 9 cents each but I also had coupons so I bought about 25 mixes for $0.00 out of pocket. These mixes are expiring in April. This year, I was able to snare 15 Pillsbury mixes for 15 cents each at 90 percent off. The price went up and there were no coupons issued this year, but still an awesome deal.

img_1439So, just for fun, I’m going to do a little more frugal math: my 15 cake mixes that cost me $2.25 will make 150 4-2-1 cakes. Paying full price, 150 Warm Delights would cost $283.50!

Two more things: These are great little kitchen projects for kids to make their own desserts. My 10-year-old daughter and a friend baked up a few examples for the camera this afternoon. They used white cake mix and added a few chocolate chips. Nothing fancy but a quick, cheap treat. Just img_1442be sure to have an adult take the cake out of the micro. The bowl is HOT. And second: Not only are these cakes easier on the wallet and environment, they’re easier on the waistline with no eggs or oil added! (Without mix-ins and toppings, of course.)

Let me know what you think.

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3 responses

13 01 2009
MiserMary

My 10 & 11year old daughters made these “4-2-1 cakes” last night and really enjoyed making them all on their own. I also like the automatic portion control since cakes are made one at a time. I an going to share the recipe with my Weight Watchers group, too!

13 01 2009
FrugalFran

I have seen recipes for these mini cakes that call for a little mayo added. That would make sense since you normally add eggs and oil to the cake mix, and that’s all mayo is, basically. I haven’t googled it this morning, but thought I’d pass on the tip. It may improve the flavor than just water…

26 01 2009
michele

fabulous, Amy!
this would be great w/ leah… will definitely try it and I LOVE the blog!
michele

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