Reshaping the choices we make at the market has been a process for us – a very do-able process, but one we’ve approach thoughtfully to ensure we are making sustainable changes in our pantry, kitchen, and our lives as a whole. If you are kicking off 2016 with renewed passion for health and looking closer at the processed foods your family consumes like us, you’ll find it a small victory and step in the right direction that a well known brand like Pillsbury™ now has a cleaner line of frosting and cake mixes called Pillsbury™ Purely Simple cake and frosting mixes with no colors, preservatives or artificial flavors. If you prefer to bake from scratch this line won’t change that for you, but as far as a replacement for the easy-to-grab-and-simple-to-bake cake mixes, we thought it was worth a try… Especially when you’ve been baking from scratch all holiday season and need a break!
Let’s Compare Apples to Apples
While frosting is easy enough to make from scratch, you may find yourself wanting to grab a box of cake mix, so here’s how the ingredients in Purely Simple compares with the ingredients in Pillsbury™’s traditional white cake mix.
|Pillsbury™ Purely Simple White Cake & Cupcake Mix:||Pillsbury™ Moist Surpreme® Classic White Premium Cake Mix:|
Leavening (Calcium Phosphate, baking soda)
Xanthan Gum (thickener)
|Enriched Bleached Flour
Sodium Aluminum Phosphate
Propylene Glycol Esters of Fatty Acids*
Palm Kernel Oil*
BHT (Antioxidants)*(*2% or less)
And while we’re at it, here’s a comparison of the ingredients in Pillsbury™ Purely Simple Butter Cream Frosting Mix and the ingredients in Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Buttercream Flavored Frosting (the frosting mix is dry and it requires you to add butter and water, so consider this when comparing the list).
|Pillsbury™ Purely Simple Buttercream Frosting Mix:||Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Buttercream Flavored Frosting:|
Mono and Diglycerides*
Artificial Color (Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6)*
Modified Corn Starch*
Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)*
Antioxidents (Ascorbyl Palmitate, Mixed Tocopherold, Chamomile and Rosemary Extracts)*(*2% or less)
Pros and Cons:
- Clearly less ingredients than traditional
- Reasonable price point
- Tastes good – not overly sweet
- Easy to make with kids
- Not organic
- Still a processed food
How’d it go?
So it’s easy enough to see there are substantially less ingredients in the Purely Simple version than traditional. That right there makes it clear Pillsbury™ Purely Simple is the better choice between the two. Sure, choose organic, make from scratch when you can – but if convenience is what you need for your crazy busy life that’s okay too mama!! It’s nice to see such a well known name making items with more straightforward ingredient lists; we’re moving in the right direction!
Both the cake batter and the frosting were very easy to make. The directions call for an automatic mixer but we did fine with hand mixing. The suggested baking time on the box was accurate, but I found it made more like 18 cupcakes instead of the 24 it stated. The frosting is a nice consistency to have little ones use on their own when decorating, but if it’s been in the fridge let it sit out for a little bit to soften up.
The verdict from the kiddo was they were the best cupcakes he’d ever made! I thought they were delicious too with a really nice and subtle flavor. We brought a batch of cupcakes to a dinner party and got some comments from adults on how good the frosting was – not too sweet or overwhelming. I agree on that point as well. I would recommend both Pillsbury™ Purely Simple White Cake & Cupcake Mix and Pillsbury™ Purely Simple Buttercream Frosting Mix based on the way the final product tasted. Sure to be a hit at any party or event!
Decorating is big around here and some favorites are mini chocolate chips and naturally colored sour worms (found at Sprouts – also, Trader Joe’s is pretty good about using natural food dyes in their treats) dye-free chocolate sprinkles, chocolate coin candies, and coconut flakes.