Chocolate cake

What’s the best chocolate cake mix? We tested 15 to find the most worthy of Matilda

When it comes to chocolate cake, there is a gold standard: the 18-inch-wide Trunchbull wonder topped with ganache from Mathilde. It’s dense, fuzzy – the stuff of wonders – at least as it was portrayed in the 1996 film. So, in honor of the film’s 25th anniversarye anniversary this year, I wanted to know: Could a boxed mix ever come close to the legendary confection?

In the name of science, I baked over a dozen cakes, going through almost four dozen eggs and an entire 40-ounce bottle of vegetable oil, testing several of the most popular chocolate cake mixes. popular to find the best grocery stores.

Our choices at a glance:

Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.

Each cake was baked according to its package directions, checking for doneness at the lower end of the bake time. (If it was placed in the middle and elastic to the touch, it was taken out to cool.) When cooled, all the cakes were frosted in the same chocolate buttercream, unless it was a mug cake with its own sachet of frosting (or had to be frost-free, for keto options). From there, seven people were given slices, who asked them to eat a few bites with and without icing, only savoring the cake itself and ranking it broadly based on its flavor, texture, and flavor. of its chocolate character. These scores were averaged, resulting in the reviews you see below.

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The 10 best chocolate cake mixes:

Best Devil’s Food Cake

TOTAL: 87/100

The Dough Boy knows what’s going on. A classic devil’s food cake is dark in color and dense in texture – the perfect foil for an angel food cake – and this canned mix delivers without weighing you down. The texture is more elastic than spongy, and the overall flavor is a bit sweeter, making it a great vehicle for a truly decadent frosting.

BUY IT ($ 1)

Best chocolate lover cake

TOTAL: 88/100

You wouldn’t think of heading to Big Lots for a decadent chocolate cake, but this mix is ​​regularly stocked in the discount chain, and it’s worth the trip just to refuel. It only requires a tiny a little more effort – you have to swirl a cocoa pouch and add mini chocolate chips to the dough – creating fondant ribbons in the cake that give it dimension. In fact, you can feel like you’re almost greedy at the end of it, especially if you top it off with chocolate shavings and a drizzle of ganache, as pictured on the box. (We haven’t gone that far, but we support it 100 percent.)

BUY IT ($ 2)

Best gluten free devil cake

TOTAL: 84/100

Just because you’re gluten sensitive doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to just one type of chocolate cake. There are many options out there, but in the realm of devil’s cakes, we only recognize one: Betty Crocker. It’s available in many grocery stores (and we spotted it at Target), making it an accessible and easy-to-prepare option. You’ll need two cans to bake a layered cake, and that requires a stick of butter instead of oil, but the extra costs are well worth it. It’s chewy, decadent, and loaded with dark chocolate flavor.

BUY IT ($ 35 for six boxes)

Best gluten free cake

TOTAL: 78/100

Gluten-free, certified GMO-free and made from whole grains, this cake borders on virtue. Alternatives to flour in some gluten-free mixes dominated the chocolate flavor; not so here. The testers were delighted with its rich taste and its chewy, elastic texture. However, if you are planning on making a layered cake, you will need two mixes, making this one of the more expensive options on our list.

BUY ($ 7)

Best ketogenic option

TOTAL: 73/100

Let’s get up to speed: Keto-friendly cakes barely make up cakes. Honestly, this is more of a chocolate bran muffin, but when it comes to desserts with zero grams of added sugar, Duncan’s contribution is pretty solid. This almond flour and cocoa treat has an almost nutty quality, and it’s more substantial than most cakes, but we were not crazy about it. (Oh, and it has 5 grams of net carbs and 8 grams of protein per serving.) Just be aware that while there is no substitute sweetener taste on the front, it did leave an aftertaste. which required more than water to sip a medium.

BUY IT ($ 2)

Best Mug Cake

TOTAL: 83/100

I’ll be honest: no matter how handy mug cakes are, most make me wonder why you should even bother. They tend to have a cloudy consistency, somewhere between the pudding and the wet cake, or they are totally dry and bland. While this treat is much thicker and chewier than your typical slice of cake, it had a rich cocoa flavor and a deliciously melt-in-the-mouth frosting. Plus, it’s easy enough that kids can whip it up (and in two minutes, no less).

BUY IT ($ 2.50)

Best milk chocolate flavor

TOTAL: 84/100

For those of you who prefer your chocolate to be rather sweet and creamy, look no further. While “fudge” is part of the name, the overwhelming flavor note was closer to milk chocolate, like the mushy version of a Hershey bar. As for the texture, the crumb is so light that it practically dissolves, which makes it more like angel food cake than the others on this list.

BUY IT ($ 1)

Best dark chocolate flavor

TOTAL: 88/100

Yes, this blend is certified Gluten Free and Paleo Free, but that’s not what got people raving about Simple Mills. While some brands have sparked a “is this keto or something?” Answer, each tester commented on the potency of the dark chocolate flavor. “It practically melts in your mouth,” said one tester, noting that he liked that it wasn’t as sweet as most of the other cakes we’ve tried. Before refueling, there are two things to note: (1) Each mix is ​​only one 8 inch round, so you will need two of them to bake a layer cake, and (2) you need a tablespoon of vanilla extract, in In addition to the standard can, mix the eggs, oil and water.

BUY IT ($ 6)

Best economic indulgence

TOTAL: 93/100

For years this was my favorite cake mix, until I tested King Arthur (more on that later). Ghirardelli is a great option if you are looking for a premium tasting cake without the bakery price. As you might have guessed, it features Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate in the front and center, giving it the Goldilocks quality of being neither too sweet nor too bitter. The texture isn’t as airy as Duncan and Betty, which gives it a nicer quality, but it does tend to dry out quickly, so freeze it and enjoy it as soon as it cools.

BUY IT ($ 3)

The Matilda-Esque plus (aka the best off-roader)

TOTAL: 95/100

Finding this cake is a literal hunt – most stores carry the gluten free variety but not the classic – so you’d better buy it wholesale online. Because honestly, every taste tester was blown away by this cake. It’s as chewy and melt-in-the-mouth as the cake seen in Mathilde, with a creamy, almost velvety texture and a rich cocoa flavor. The end result almost looks like a brownie, and we’re here for it. King Arthur recommends adding a cup of chocolate chips to the dough; we fully agree.

BUY ($ 7)

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to review new products and services, so you know what’s worth spending and what is grossly overkill. Learn more about our process here.

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