In our busy lives sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to make desserts from scratch. Here are some tasty recipes using a cake mix as a base and then becoming creative with added spices, frostings, filings, and garnishes.


 



In our busy lives sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to make desserts from scratch. Here are some tasty recipes using a cake mix as a base and then becoming creative with added spices, frostings, filings, and garnishes.



Cake mixes have come a long way in the past few decades, and even though, they’re not from scratch, when blended with other ingredients, it’s hard to tell the difference. Cake mixes can be converted into special cakes, cupcakes, bars, cookies, and other desserts. These recipes are quick when having a dinner party or making cookies for a house full of children. The Dreamsicle cake and the Cannoli cake take more time for preparation, but they are worth the effort for something special and impressive.



For the easiest and fastest dessert make the dump cake. It’s tasty, quick, and can be made in an hour with only 10 minutes of prep time. You can use canned or fresh fruits, nuts, and/or flaked coconut. Cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple are a nice combination.



Enjoy!



Quick, Easy and Tasty Blueberry Dump Cake



This cake recipe is very simple and quick to make. If you have children who would like to bake, then this is the perfect recipe. There’s no mixing involved.



1        can blueberry pie filling (also cherry, peach, apple, or pineapple fillings)



1        package yellow cake mix



½ (one half) cup chopped pecans or walnuts



1        stick of butter, melted



Whipped cream topping or ice cream, for garnish



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Vegetable spray a 9 x 13 x 2 –inch baking pan. Pour blueberry filling evenly over bottom of pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the fruit filling. Then sprinkle the chopped nuts over the cake mix layer. Pour melted butter evenly over top of cake and nuts. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. Serve warm or cold with some whipped topping or ice cream.



 



Fuzzy Navel Cake



1        package yellow cake mix



½ (one half) cup canola oil



1        6-ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix



4        large eggs, room temperature



¾ (three fourths) cup peach schnapps



½ (one half) cup orange juice



1        teaspoon zest or grated orange rind



Peach Glaze



4        tablespoons peach schnapps



2        tablespoons orange juice



1        cup confectioners’ sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Vegetable baking spray and lightly flour a 9 ½ (nine and one half) inch bundt pan or tube pan.



In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine together cake mix, oil, pudding, eggs,, peach schnapps, orange juice, and orange zest. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake springs back, when lightly touched in the center.



For glazed topping. In a bowl stir together peach schnapps, orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until well blended. While cake is still warm in pan, poke small holes in top of cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon or wooden chopstick. Pour peach schnapps mixture over the entire surface of the cake. Allow to cool in pan 2-3 hours before removing.



French Vanilla Cake with Cannoli Filling



Cake:



1        package French vanilla cake mix



1        cup whole milk



8        tablespoons butter, melted



3        large eggs, room temperature



2        teaspoons vanilla extract



Cannoli Filling:



¾ (three fourths) cup confectioners’ sugar



¾ (three fourths) cup whole milk



1        16-ounce container ricotta cheese



1        tablespoon grated orange zest



1        teaspoon vanilla extract



1        teaspoon almond extract



½ (one half) cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, if desired



Buttercream Frosting:



8        tablespoons butter, softened



3 ¾ (three and three fourths) cups confectioners’ sugar



3-4 tablespoons milk



2        teaspoons vanilla extract



1        teaspoon almond extract



1        cup sliced almonds, if desired for a garnish



Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions, using two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.



For filling, in a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts; stir in chocolate chips, if desired.



For frosting, in a bowl with an electric mixer combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla and almond extracts.                     



Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1-cup filling. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining filling over top of cake to within 1-inch of edges. Frost sides and top 1-inch edge of cake with frosting.



Press sliced almonds into sides of frosting on cake. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Refrigerate until serving. 



 



Pineapple Upside Down Cake



Makes 2 single layer cakes. A rectangular cake pan can also be used for this recipe.



2/3 (two thirds) cup packed light brown sugar



½ (one half) teaspoon ground cinnamon



4                    tablespoons butter, melted



1                    20-ounce can pineapple slices, drained



10      maraschino cherries



1                    package yellow cake mix



1                    cup water



1/4 (one fourth) cup canola oil



3                    large eggs, room temperature



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans and pour melted butter evenly over sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon lightly over sugar.



Arrange pineapple slices in each pan in a single layer over sugar and place a cherry in center of each slice. 



In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine together cake mix, water, oil, and eggs; beat until well combined. 



Evenly divide batter between the two pans and bake 30 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of each comes out clean. Let cakes stand for 5 minutes.



Loosen gently with a knife and invert onto 2-cake plates. Serve warm, or allow to cool completely before serving. Refrigerate when done serving.



 



Orange Dreamsicle Cake



This is a delightful tasting cake with the combination of orange and vanilla flavors which have been used together for centuries. Make this cake the day before for best results.



Cake:



1        package yellow cake mix



3        large eggs room temperature



1 ¼ (one an done fourth) cups fresh orange juice



1/3 (one third) cup canola oil



1        3-ounce package orange flavored gelatin



½ (one half) cup boiling water



Pudding Mixture:



½ (one half) cup cold water



1        3-ounce package instant vanilla pudding



1        cup whole milk



1        teaspoon vanilla extract



Cream Mixture:



1 ¼ (one and one fourth) cups heavy whipping cream



1/3 (one third) cup confectioners’ sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Cake Mixture:



Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using eggs, orange juice, and canola oil. Vegetable spray a 13 x 9 x 2 – inch pan and pour in cake batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until cake springs back when touched and starts to pull away from sides of pan. Cool cake completely on wire rack, about an hour.



With the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick, poke small holes all over the cake, going right to bottom of the cake pan.



Gelatin Mixture:



In a bowl empty 1-box orange gelatin and pour boiling water over gelatin, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add 1-cup cold water and mix well. Slowly and evenly pour this mixture over the cake, making sure the mixture goes into all the holes. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours.



Pudding Mixture:



In another bowl, with an electric mixer, combine vanilla pudding mix, milk, and vanilla and beat well.



Cream Mixture:



 In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream mixture into the pudding mixture and spread over cake. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight before serving. Refrigerate after serving.



 



Orange Cookies



Makes about 3 dozen.



1        package orange cake mix



½ (one half) cup canola oil



2        large eggs, room temperature



2        teaspoons grated orange rind



In a large bowl combine orange cake mix, oil, eggs, and orange rind or zest, mixing well.



Drop dough by teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.



Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.



Crispy Lemon Cookies



Makes about 4 dozen.



1        package lemon cake mix with pudding



1        cup crisp rice cereal, like Rice Krispies



½ (one hlf) cup butter, melted



1        large egg, room temperature



In a bowl mix together lemon cake mix, butter, egg, and crispy cereal, stir well.



Shape dough into 1-inch alls and place 2-inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.



Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are a golden brown. Cool on pan for 2-minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.




Chocolate Lover’s Cookies



1        package devil’s food cake mix with pudding



½ (one half) cup canola oil



2        large eggs, room temperature



1        cup, about 6 ounces, semisweet chocolate morsels



1/3 (one third) cup Heath candy bar pieces



With an electric mixer in a bowl, on medium speed, combine together cake mix, oil, and eggs, until blended. Fold in chocolate morsels and Health candy bar pieces.



Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, about 2-inches apart onto baking sheets.



 



Apricot-Coconut Squares



Makes about 3 dozen.



1        package yellow cake mix with pudding



½ (one half) cup butter, melted



½ (one half) cup finely chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds



1 1/3 (one and one third) cups apricot preserves, divided into 1 cup and 1/3 (one third)                                          cup



1        8-ounce package cream cheese, softened



¼ (one fourth) cup granulated sugar



2        tablespoons all-purpose flour



Pinch of salt



1        large egg, room temperature



1        teaspoon vanilla extract



½ (one half) cup flaked coconut



With an electric mixer, on low speed, beat together in a large bowl cake mix and butter until crumbly. Stir in finely chopped nuts. Reserve 1-cup of this mixture.



Press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish or pan. Carefully spread 1-cup apricot preserves over crumb mixture, leaving a ¼ (one fourth) inch border.



In another bowl beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add remaining 1/3 (one third) cup apricot preserves, sugar, flour, salt, egg, and vanilla extract, beating until well combined. Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over top of apricot preserves.



Combine 1-cup reserved crumb mixture and flaked coconut and sprinkle over cream cheese mixture.



Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a golden brown and center is set. Cool completely in baking pan on a wire rack.



Cut into squares and store in refrigerator.



 



Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.