by Nicki Wood
Anne Byrn's Cake Mix Doctor cookbooks made the Nashville native a trusted friend in the kitchen. She fixed a persistent problem: box mix cakes' chemical taste and unvarying rubber-sponge texture were only barely acceptable, and only because the mixes were so convenient. Her recipes turned cake mix into banana cake with caramel frosting, pumpkin cake, and lemon poppyseed cake.
Then she decided to fix what was broken in the first place: the cake mix.
Once she had formulated a yellow cake mix and a chocolate mix, Byrn set about getting them to the public. Corner Market has always carried them. Byrn did a stint on QVC in 2010, selling between 5,000 and 6,000 units in six minutes. She set up e-commerce on her website so that people without access could buy the mix online. She attended food trade shows.
Finally, after meeting with many many grocery chains and distributors, Byrn is in several markets, including Boston and Lehigh Valley. And now Nashvillians can find the mixes at Harris Teeter.
"Harris Teeter is a great opportunity for me," she told Bites. "It’s my first big chain in a part of country where people really do bake."
The store's reputation for carrying niche and gourmet items suits her mix well. "People know going in (to Harris Teeter) that they may find a few nicer things there, nice chocolates and a few more upscale items for people who love to bake."
Byrn travels to Florida to Publix HQ this week to pitch there. Fingers crossed for the local girl!
The Cake Mix Doctor even doctors her own mixes, using them for everything from jam bars to coffee cake. Start with this useful and delicious recipe for a brunchy cake made with her yellow cake mix.
Strawberry Honeybun Cake
If you try substituting other cake mixes, be careful — most are 18 ounces, so you'll probably have to reduce the liquid for the recipe to work properly.
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray
Flour for dusting the pan
1 (21-ounce) package Cake Mix Doctor yellow cake
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 heaping cup sliced strawberries, patted dry
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil or spray a 9x13-inch baking pan and dust with flour.
Measure and set aside 2 teaspoons of the cake mix. Combine the remaining mix, sour cream, oil, water and eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes, scraping down the side often. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
For the filling, drizzle honey over the batter. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans in a bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over the honey. Swirl into the batter with a dinner knife.
Combine the strawberries and reserved cake mix in a bowl and toss to coat. Spread the berries over the cake.
Bake on a rack in the center of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the center springs back when touched with a finger.
Glaze the warm cake if you like with a mixture of 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.