I’m finding it very easy to improvise in the kitchen at Deer Crossing Camp. Although I rely on canned food items and boxed baking mixes, I've been able to find ways to improve these products each day.
During the camp’s 10-day training session, which ended Saturday, I improved one or more dishes each meal. For dinner last Thursday, I added cinnamon and nutmeg to a yellow cake mix to form a spice cake. I then made a caramel fudge icing for the topping.
This is just one way to extend the flavor potential for boxed cake mixes. Even if your facility camp relies on the mixes, you can always improve on the product as I have.
Check the box when looking for ideas. The manufacturer often prints one or two recipes on the side panels.
The box for BakerSource blueberry muffin mix (Sysco #5912290), for instance, includes two recipes. Blueberry banana muffins may help when you have too many bananas. I won’t use this recipe at my camp. A 40-pound box evaporates in about three days!
The second recipe is sour cream crumb cake. Add 13 fluid ounces water, 40 ounces sour cream, 5 eggs and 1/3-cup vegetable oil to 5 pounds (1 box) blueberry muffin mix in a mixer bowl. Mix on low speed using a paddle for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and continue mixing for 30 seconds. Scale 29 ounces batter into each of 5 (8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2-inch loaf pans.
For the topping, Place 7 ounces brown sugar, 6 ounces sugar, 4-1/2 ounces all purpose flour and 4 ounces softened butter or margarine in mixer bowl. Mix on low speed with a paddle for 30 seconds or until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over batter in loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F 55 to 60 minutes in a conventional oven. Or bake 50 to 55 minutes in a 300 degree convection oven. The recipe yields 40 (1-inch) slices.
SPICE CAKE WITH CARAMEL FUDGE ICING
I tested this recipe using BakerSource yellow cake mix (Sysco #5908371).
5 pounds yellow cake mix
1/4 cup cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to cake mix. Prepare cake mix according to the instructions on the package.
3 pounds brown sugar
3 cups milk
12 ounces butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
Combine sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Using a brush dipped in water, wash down sides of saucepan to prevent sugar crystal formation.
Bring mixture slowly to a boil without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees F. Pour mixture into mixer bowl. Add butter and salt. Mix with paddle attachment.
Turn machine off. Let mixture cool to 110 degrees F. Add vanilla and turn machine on low speed. Beat icing until it is smooth and creamy in texture. If it is too thick, thin with a little cream or milk.
Spread cooled cake while icing is warm, or rewarm in a double boiler.
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