This boxed mix makes the most gorgeous cakes
The Caker's cake kits are easy, affordable, and totally delicious.
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As I prepare to celebrate my second pandemic birthday (yes I'm an Aries, and yes, I know no one asked), I'm looking for ways to make this year feel extra special. Among the events I had to cancel, reschedule, or reconfigure in 2020 were my birthday trip, my bachelorette party, and the real kicker: my wedding. So! You can imagine why I'd want celebrations in 2021 to have that extra oomph.
The cornerstone of any great birthday party is an equally great cake (for which you'll also need the perfect cake pan). That said, I am not a baker. In fact, my husband and I have a tradition of baking funfetti cake from a box for birthday celebrations. And while I love funfetti, I absolutely couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the women-made, expertly engineered boxed cake mixes by The Caker.
Could these trendy $25 cake kits outshine our tried-and-true festive funfetti? I tried three of The Caker's cake kits and here's what happened.
What is The Caker?
The real question is, who is The Caker? And the answer to that is Jordan Rondel (the brunette) and her sister, Anouk (the blonde). This siblings teamed up in 2015 to turn Jordan's Auckland, New Zealand-based cake shop—the original The Caker, founded in 2010—into a full-fledged, multi-faceted business complete with cake kits, cookbooks, and made-to-order cakes.
Sadly, Jordan's stunning cakes are only available in New Zealand, but she's giving Americans the next best thing: luxury bake-at-home cake kits. Her kits are all vegan-friendly—meaning they can easily be made vegan by swapping out dairy for non-dairy substitutes—and one option is entirely gluten-free.
What's in the cake kits?
Available in Lemon Strawberry Poppy Seed, Flourless Dark Chocolate Gold Leaf, and Matcha Cherry, these kits include almost everything you need to make confections as beautiful as Jordan's own. Each cake kits comes with the cake mix, glaze mix (if applicable), some sort of fancy decorations, an instruction card, and a pre-cut 8-inch cake pan liner.
What's not in the cake kits?
Additional ingredients will vary, but the "you will need" list is displayed clearly on the front of the box as a reminder to head to the grocery store before you start baking. For the Lemon Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake Kit, you'll need milk, butter, lemons, and fresh or frozen strawberries; for the Flourless Dark Chocolate Gold Leaf you'll need butter and eggs; and for the Matcha Cherry Cake Kit you'll need milk, butter, and fresh or frozen cherries.
And, of course, you'll need a great 8-inch cake pan—we recommend the Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick 8-Inch Round Cake Pan.
I baked three of The Caker's cake kits and here's what happened
Lemon Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake Kit
Everything about The Caker's packaging adds to the experience—from the shiny silver box to the magazine-ready cake photos, it just feels luxurious. The directions on the instruction card were easy to follow and I was impressed with the quality of the included products (cake mix, strawberry glaze mix, and freeze-dried strawberries).
I used a 10-inch cake pan instead of the suggested 8-inch, but was still able to use the pre-cut liner because it's intentionally oversized to create The Caker's signature ripples in the sides of the cake. The finished product was absolutely stunning, high Instagramable, and the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Flourless Dark Chocolate Gold Leaf Cake Kit
I'll order flourless chocolate cake at a restaurant whenever I see it on a dessert menu, so I was especially excited for this one and had never attempted to cook one at home prior to this. This cake was slightly more involved than the Lemon Strawberry Poppy Seed because you have to melt butter and dark chocolate pieces together, which means you'll have one more dish to do.
However, the end product is totally worth it. This gluten-free cake turned out chocolatey and decadent, with the added flair of edible gold leaf on top. Fun fact: gold is chemically inert, so it isn't absorbed into your digestive system or blood steam.
The most difficult part of making this cake was applying the golf leaf—that stuff will stick to the first thing it touches! As a result, I ended up with a few gold chunks instead of artfully places gold flecks... but one could argue that my chunks were equally artistic.
Matcha Cherry Cake Kit
I find matcha to be a very polarizing flavor, and as someone who doesn't love it I was a bit nervous for this one. Once again, The Caker made me a believer in its cake kit magic! The matcha flavor was super delicate, not overpowering at all, and the cherries were a lovely foil to the tea's earthiness.
I used frozen cherries for this cake, so I popped them in the microwave for a minute before adding them to the batter. The finished product was lightly sweet, fluffy, and downright stunning. And I'm really not a baker! These mixes are just that good.
Can I give The Caker cake kits as a gift?
Yes! I was delighted by the gifting process on The Caker's website as I recently ordered the Lemon Strawberry Poppy Seed Cake Kit for my sister for her upcoming birthday (she's a Pisces).
In addition to the actual boxed cake mix, you can opt to send your sweetie an automated email with a custom gift message and adorable e-card. If you'd like to gift a baking vessel as well and you're into one-stop-shopping, The Caker also sells 8-inch cake pans for $15.
Are The Caker Cake Kits worth it?
If you're looking for a luxurious boxed cake mix experience, look no further than The Caker. Sure, at $25 The Caker's kits cost more than double what my typical $12 Pilsbury Funfetti Cake Mix with Vanilla Funetti Frosting, but that's like comparing apples to oranges.
These at-home luxury cake mixes are the next best thing to a professionally made cake, and they're a fraction of the price. I'll probably still make my husband a funfetti cake this summer when his birthday rolls around, but in the meantime I'll be making The Caker's kits for basically every other holiday.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.