Behold, the glow-up you needed if you are making a cake. If you've only ever made a cake from a box, and are used to the ones that you can get in the grocery store for 4/$5, then consider this the more adult cake that might be worth the splurge at nearly $3 a box.
So if you've ever had Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, or Betty Crocker cake mixes then you might be familiar with what you might think is vanilla. Odds are there if you look through the ingredients you'll see something called vanillin. It's not real vanilla.
Bake Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix into a cake or cupcakes and you'll have something that tastes very different. It tastes far more adult than the other mixes. It's a happy place between familiar and bakery style.
Yes, visually you'll be able to see the vanilla bean specks once the liquid is added to this. They become even more prominent once you bake this up.
The only problem with those bean specks is that they give you the visual cue that this will be packed with vanilla flavor. Also, the box hints at natural vanilla flavoring. However, those specks are more for aesthetic purposes than actual flavor.
But the flavoring comes in the form of the last item in the ingredients. So yes, visually the cues are there. But when you bite into your homemade masterpiece you'll be hit with a flavor profile that is anything but those other grocery brands.
The cake itself cooked up nice and soft and pillowy provided you didn't over stir the ingredients. My cake came together in about 15 stirs. The cooking directions were spot on. Any longer and the top of the cupcakes I made would have turned browner. Not a deal-breaker, just not as pretty to look at.
My mix made about 14 cupcakes in total. If you buy Trader Joe's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting mix that will have no problems covering this mix as well. So it will actually be an even 1:1 buying ratio if you are looking to go that way.
And yes, these two items are an awesome pairing together. They do complement each other without overwhelming each other. But at the end of the day, one does look distinctly more vanilla than the other. Tastewise, yes the cake carries more vanilla flavor as well.
This cake mix looks as visually good as it tastes. It is classically easy to put together with minimal mess.
If you are looking for your cake to taste a bit more grown-up then by all means give this mix a try. This is one of those items that
How to make this
So for the visual learners here is a quick breakdown of how to make this:
The packaging is pretty standard for a cake mix. It comes in a box. Inside the box is a bag with the mix in it. Could the box possibly be eliminated? If they could get the directions on a bag I don't see why not down the road.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, new to shelves in October of 2021 is their new vanilla frosting mix.
Yes, Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix is very good. It is absolutely a step up from more common grocery brands that you might get.
The mix contains traces of egg and milk so strictly speaking it isn't vegan. However, none of the ingredients listed contain animal products. You'll also need to substitute the items asked for in the ingredients as the mix requires milk, butter, and eggs.
For $2.99 this is priced higher than some mass-market grocery store options, but the payoff is a better flavor here.
Would I buy this again? Yes, I would buy Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix again. This beat the vanillin-flavored cake mixes that are so common today. Embrace the vanilla seeds and eat some cake.
This item is sold both at Trader Joe's and through third-party sellers on Amazon.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!
A visual rundown of this product
Calories and ingredients:
How to prepare:
The visual directions:
After being cooked you get:
And a quick taste test:
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
The Bottom Line
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Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix
Product Name: Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix
Product Description: Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix is a solid and delicious mix.
Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake and Baking Mix is a year-round favorite in the baking aisle of Trader Joe's.
- Cake mix with real vanilla in it
- Easy to follow and accurate baking directions
- Much better than a Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mix.
- Pricier than most mass-market mixes