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I Tried 5 Chocolate Cake Mixes and the Best Was a Total Surprise

Though it makes sense after our frosting taste test.

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

Chocolate desserts are some of my favorite desserts. If I had to choose which one I liked best, it would be chocolate cake. It’s what I request every year for my birthday, it’s my top pick at restaurants, and if someone asks what they should bring to a party, I always suggest chocolate cake. I’ve likely had more chocolate cake than any human should, which makes me slightly overqualified for testing chocolate cake mixes for the best one. Regardless, I tested a handful of boxed mixes and enlisted the help of a small team of taste testers—here’s what we discovered.

How I Made the Chocolate Cakes

The great thing about box cake mixes is that you don’t have to do much thinking. Simply add eggs, water, and oil to the mix and stir. It’s a no-brainer dessert. To keep things fair between the contestants, I used large eggs, tap water, and vegetable oil. I baked them in 8-inch round pans using package time recommendations and I let them cool as directed before frosting.

How I tested

Testers tried each cake plain (no frosting) at room temperature then again with vanilla frosting. The cakes were judged using the following criteria:

  1. Tenderness: Was the cake soft and fluffy? Or was it firm and unpleasantly unyielding to the bite?

  2. Moisture: Did the cake seem dry or was there sufficient moisture to keep things together?

  3. Chocolate: Did the cake taste like chocolate? Was it flavorful?

Here’s how the cakes fared:

Chocolate Cake Box Mix Taste Test Results

5th Place: Aldi's Baker’s Corner Devil’s Food Cake Mix

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

I liked the $1.10 price tag of this chocolate cake, but that was about it. My testers agreed this was their least favorite of the bunch. The cake looked good coming out of the oven and smelled great. It was tender and seemed moist, but the flavor is what landed this cake in last place. The cake seemed to be almost void of any chocolate flavor and left a strange metallic aftertaste. Even the vanilla frosting couldn’t help things. Sorry Aldi, this one wasn’t a winner.

4th/3rd Place Tie: Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Super Moist Cake Mix & Pillsbury Moist Supreme Chocolate Cake Mix

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

The Betty Crocker and Pillsbury cakes were eerily identical. They were both tender, light and fluffy in texture. Appearance-wise everything seemed good. Again, it came down to taste. While testers loved how these cakes looked, they didn’t detect much chocolate flavor, which they said was “disappointing.” Since this is chocolate cake, you’d expect more chocolate, sadly there isn’t much in either mix. I’d maybe give these another try, but add some chocolate chips and top with chocolate frosting to boost the flavor.

2nd Place: Whole Foods Classic Chocolate Cake Mix

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

This cake didn’t bake up like the others. It wasn’t as light or as fluffy. That concerned me at first, but fortunately, the cake was moist and didn’t come across as dense when taking a bite. What pushed this cake into second place was its flavor. This cake actually tasted like chocolate! This excited my testers with one saying, “I love this cake! It tastes just like yours!” I would absolutely buy this cake mix again.

1st Place Winner: Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

I typically make all of my cakes from scratch because I love to. However, if I needed to bake a bunch of cakes and didn’t have a lot of time, I would reach for this box in a heartbeat. Duncan Hines gets it right in all categories. It’s fluffy and moist and has a delicious chocolate flavor. It’s tasty on its own, but also delightful with the matching Duncan Hines taste-test-winning frosting. This cake was the clear winner among my testers too. One tester said it reminded her of the cake her mom used to make and another asked if he could take the leftovers home with him. Bottom line, this cake is the best of the bunch!

Read the original article on All Recipes.